Once upon a time, Tuscany's Mount Argentario was an island. Now this rock is joined to the coast by way of three thin strips of land. Two of these, the Tombolo della Feniglia and the Tombolo della Giannella have formed naturally over the centuries, the other, the Orbetello lagoon dam (an artificial embankment serving as bridge) was constructed by man in 1840. Orbetello is a pleasant town of Tuscan Maremma, home to a number of noteworthy historic buildings. One of these is the Polveriera Guzman, edifice which now houses the town's Archaeological Museum. Then there is the renaissance style Palazzo del Podestà, the Gothic cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built on the ruins of an ancient Etruscan-Roman temple, and the Ciclopiche walls, erected in the 5th century B.C by the Etruscans.
The main attraction of Orbetello is the unique ecosystem created by those three tongues of sand which link the town with Mount Argentario. In the two coastal lagoons that have formed on either side of Orbetello, dozens of fish and bird species have found their natural habitat, including great colonies of pink flamingoes.
Close by, between the slopes of Mount Argentario and the Tyrrhenian coast, lie the famous bathing resorts of Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole. The islands of Giglio and Giannutri are just a short boat ride away. Ideal place where to practice a whole variety of watersports, with its fabulous panoramic coastal pathways the Argentario is also perfect walking and mountain biking terrain, extremely popular with fitness fans and lovers of the great outdoors.
The Maremma is outstanding for its many protected natural areas that offer the chance to appreciate its wide variety of animals, insects and birds, trees, shrubs and flowers and to enjoy its special light and scenic beauty.The Nature Reserves aren't separate from the rest of the territory, but are symbolic of an integral whole. The Maremma affirms a way of life in harmony with nature and the rhythm of the seasons.
The Parco Naturale della Maremma encompasses the Monti dell'Uccellina, running parallel to the coastline from Principina a Mare to Talamone and was one of the first protected areas instituted in Italy.
Today the Province of Grosseto can boast of 13 Nature Reserves, an additional 8 which include Reserves for Repopulation, Biogenetics, Protection and Comprehensive Protection, plus the various oasis of the WWF. In all, there are almost 40,000 hectares of nature reserves stretching from north to south. They provide a complex and detailed vision of the wealth of the Maremma's natural heritage in all of its diversity from coast to inland, wet zones and mountain crests.
The numerous routes indicated within the parks enable the visitor to perceive the vastness of the preservation project and the botanical, zoological and geological wealth, differentiation, and beauty offered.
Maremma's natural heritage | www.parco-maremma.it
The Maremma coast has many facets: the mystical atmosphere of the Orbetello Lagoon and the golden, groomed beaches of the Feniglia and the Giannella not far from the Capalbio coast with lunar sand and wild, untouched dunes making it unique. The Islands of Giglio and Giannutri are rare jewels with rocky cliffs plummeting to the crystal-clear, emerald green sea and the scent of the Mediterranean scrub and aromatic herbs filling the air.
Fully equipped tourist ports such as Punta Ala, the fishing villages of Talamone, Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole on the slopes of the Argentario, reveal panoramic views over the coast and the islands and offer unforgetable sunsets spread across the sky.
Fortresses, citadels and towers clinging to the rocks create a vision of the time when these ancient ports, like those of Orbetello and Castiglione della Pescaia, were fortified. Today they offer a unique backdrop for those who "take to the sea" along a Mediterranean course.
The most beautiful regions in Tuscany | Parco Naturale della Maremma
The Tuscan Archipelago is a chain of islands between the Ligurian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea, west of Tuscany, Italy. The archipelago contains the islands of Elba (224 km2 - the largest island of the group), then Giglio (24 km2), Capraia (19 km2), Montecristo (13 km2), Pianosa (10 km2), Giannutri (3 km2) and Gorgona (2 km2). All the Islands are protected as part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, the larger sea park in Europe (total 295 km2).
Tuscany | The Tuscan Archipelago
Talamone, a picturesque and solitary fishing village,stands on a little promontory, dominated by an ancient Sienese fortress, to the extreme south of the Monti dell'Uccellina. In antiquity Talamone was an Etruscan port.
At the top of the rocky hill you can see a wonderful view, following the coast line of Osa, you see right up until the promontory of Argentario (about 30 minutes by car) with its jagged coast, its coves with crystal clear sea.
A zone that will leave a lasting charm and certainly unforgettable, also appart from it being interesting, this a very popular destination for skin diving as in the depths of the sea there are beauliful sealife views (for more information: The Argentario Coast Diving Centre).
Near to Talamone is the spa of Osa. Here, a spring of suphureous water with a temperature of 32°C is exploited for the therapeutic purposes. The virtues of the waters of Osa have been renowned since time beyond recall. They were in use in Roman times and remains of buildings equipped for thermal cures have been excaved in the zone known as Bagno dell'Osa as well as in the Le Tombe district.
According to a legend handed down from classical literature the eponym of this town was Telamone, the son of Eaco, who landed here with the Argonauts by coming back from Colchide. The Grecian hero died here and was buried under the promontory.
An important archaeological discovery made on the Talamonaccio hill concerns some fragments of Etruscan sculpture, which dates back roughly to 150 b. C. and in which is represented the final act of the Edipo’s curse during the war of Seven years against Thebes. This subject represented for the Etruscans the end of their history.
The local beach of Talamone has become a very popular area to practice the sport of Kitesurfing. Among the monuments of interest is the fortress which stands out from the promontory, overlooking the entire village, the Chiesa della Madonna delle Grazie and the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta?
The name of Alberese first appears in the XIth century, when the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria Alborense was founded, subsequently called San Rabano and destined to dominate the history of the entire area for the fifty years which followed. With the crisis of the monastic order, the Abbey fell into decline, and its long history closes with the passage of the Knights of Malta. In 1470, Beuccio Capacci, prior of the order, had a fortified building constructed which today is the Villa Fattoria Granducale which overlooks the town.
At the end of the 1500's, rule passed to the Medici family, up until the coming of the Corsini, in 1740, who, in 100 years, reduced the town to quite desperate conditions. It was then that, in 1839, Leopoldo II of Lorraine decided to purchase the Alberese estate and to undertake the work of reclaiming and developing the lands which had now become marshland, of improving the equipment and introducing new methods of cultivation. This, until the First World War broke out and following which, the holdings of the Lorraine, administered by the duke Pietro Lante della Rovere, were confiscated and passed to the State. Finally, in 1926, Alberese was ceded to the Opera Nazionale Combattenti (the Military Veterans association) which, during the fascist period, finished the reclamation work, dividing the land into lots and building farms which were then assigned to families of share-croppers, the most of whom came from the Veneto region. In 1977, this association was abolished and the lands were purchased by the Region of Tuscany, which, still today, administers them.