Monday, March 3, 2014

Published 7:45 AM by with 0 comment

Capalbio and the Maremma

The Maremma, part of the Regions of Tuscany and Lazio, runs along the Tyrrhennian Sea, a zone of mostly plains; as Dante reminds us in Canto XIII of The Inferno, it begins in Cecina (Livorno) and ends in Tarquinia (Viterbo), and in those days was known as Corneto: "Non han sì aspri sterpi né sì folti, quelle fiere selvagge che 'n odio hanno, tra Cecina e Corneto i luoghi cólti."
The Maremma is divided into three distinct parts: that central and most well-known near Grosseto, extensive and rich in flora; that south, in Lazio, comprising the shores of Viterbo Province; and that north, near Pisa, belonging to the Province of Livorno.Cala Violina

See
From the Latin Maritima Regio, the Maremma is a marvelous terrain suspended between the green of its parks and the blue of the sea. 
Its first historic testimonies date to the Etruscan and Roman periods, when the Etruscan cities of Tarquinia, Populonia, Cosa and Vetulonia inhabited the Maremman soil.
Today, these one-time marshes, that were eventually drained in the 1930s, are protected as natural parks (currently, only the Province of Grosseto hosts its 13 natural reserves, in addition to several WWF Oases), and are abundant with a wide variety of plant and animal life, as well as of highly-evocative scenic expanses. 

Among the most suggestive tracts are the Gulf of Follonica, with its splendid beaches of Cala Martina, Punta Ala and Cala Violina; the beaches at Castiglione della Pescaia, age-old fishing village at the feet of the Aragonese stronghold; and those at Marina di Grosseto and Talamone, gracious borgo jutting out into the sea. 
Further south lies the enchanting lagoon of Orbetello, famous for its golden sand on the beaches of Feniglia and Giannella, and for the way in which it fronts the Promontory of Monte Argentario, a preferred weekend destination. The Argentario's main ports are Porto Santo Stefano (whence ferries for the Islands of Giglio and Giannutri depart), Porto Ercole and Cala Galera. 

Continuing south, the wild littoral of Capalbio appears where, further inland one finds an alternative vacation setting once enjoyed by Roman Emperors, and today the vacation homes of the Nobility and the well-to-do that spread out over its countryside. The small and elevated Medieval borgo of Capalbio – defensive walls and all – stands nobly above the thriving maquis and arbutus, almost at the confines with Lazio. 
Having passed the Regional border, one hits the Natural and Archaeological Park of Vulci and Tarquinia, whose necropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

DoNature lovers certainly do not lack for choice in this lush and thriving zone: walk or ride (by bicycle or on horseback) the Maremma and, if you’re in the central Maremma, you can reward yourself with a visit to Saturnia, a terme and wellness oasis (think natural baths and hot springs). 
And the 99-mile long coast is nothing if not one long stretch of beaches and coastal resorts, offering fun and relaxation for all ages. Rent a sailboat or motorboat, go windsurfing, water-skiing or underwater fishing. Beginners need not fear, for sailing, motoroboat and scuba-diving courses are available. Just check out one of the professional diving centers along the coast that offer guided immersions to some of the most colorful sea floors the Maremma has to offer. 
The enchanting Argentario, with its delightful coves and bays – some of which are only accessible by boat – is considered by scuba-divers and snorkelers to be one of the most interesting underwater zones in all of Italy, full of an array of fish, shells and corals. 

Don’t Miss...To experience and understand the Maremma in the best way possible, stay in one of its many high-quality and unique agritourisms, where hospitality is an artform, or rent one of several farmsteads. 
Amazingly, Maremma is also intriguing for its cowboys or Butteri that drive the wild cattle of the zone. They typically put on demonstrations during fairs, country sagre (food fests) and other national and international events.

EatL'acquacotta, a simple, peasant's soup of vegetables that change depending on what’s in season – chicory, broccoli, or borage.
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