Sovana and its Etruscan necropolis

In the heart of the Maremma discovering ancient Etruscan civilisation in one of Italy’s most beautiful towns. The medieval village of Sovana stands in the enchanting tufa area of Grosseto’s…

In the heart of the Maremma discovering ancient Etruscan civilisation in one of Italy’s most beautiful towns.

The medieval village of Sovana stands in the enchanting tufa area of Grosseto’s Maremma. It is known as the Aldobrandeschi birthplace of Pope Gregory VII, but above all as an Etruscan centre of great archaeological importance; together with Sorano [link Sorano], of which it is a hamlet, and Pitigliano, it is part of the enchanting Città del Tufo

Una delle vie del borgo di Sovana

Una delle vie del borgo di Sovana

As soon as you cross the threshold you are welcomed by the monumental ruins of the Rocca aldobrandesca; built around the year 1000 AD on a previous Etruscan-origin complex, this fortress bears witness to the power of the Aldobrandeschi family who dominated the entire area at the time.

A visit to the village continues naturally along the main street, between characteristic houses adorned with plants and flowers, finally reaching Piazza del Pretorio. This is the heart of the historical centre, with bars and restaurants of the most authentic flavours, ideal for an oenogastronomical break and to sample the local DOC Sovana red wine.

The square is also surrounded by historical buildings such as the Palazzo dell’Archivio, the Palazzo Pretorio and the late-Romanesque church of Santa Maria; it is also home to the San Mamiliano Museum which, as well as significant finds uncovered in the area, also conserves a monetary treasure discovered in 2004 which can be dated back to the 5th century AD, exceptional for the number of coins recovered and of the emperors represented thereon. Strangely, the cathedral stands on the very edge of the town: the Sovana Cathedral is one of the most important examples of Gothic-Romanesque style in Tuscany.

La Rocca aldobrandesca di Sovana

La Rocca aldobrandesca di Sovana

But it is as we leave the town that the most archaic history is revealed in the testimonies of the Etruscans and pervades the territory with a unique atmosphere. In fact, about one kilometre away, we find the Etruscan necropolis, the site of many sepulchral monuments such as the tomb of Ildebranda, of the Typhoon, the Wingèd Demons and the Mermaid.

Immersed in nature, the necropolis is also made up of spectacular vie cave: roads dug into the tufa rock with very high side walls which were part of the ancient road network and which in Sovana can be seen at the best, as shown by the via cava of Poggio Prisca, San Sebastiano and the Cavone.

Cava di Poggio Prisco.

Cava di Poggio Prisco.

These traces of Etruscan civilisation are of great importance from the archaeological, historical and natural points of view. They come under the protection and organisation of the Città del Tufo Archaeological Park, which also covers the areas of Sorano and San Quirico, which also includes the “lost city” of Vitozza.

You can visit the necropolis of Sovana for a very measly amount: you can even ask for a single ticket costing € 8 which gives you access to all cultural property of the area covered by the park, including:

  • the Sovana necropolis;
  • the San Mamiliano museum;
  • the Fortezza Orsini in Sorano;
  • the San Rocco and Vitozza archaeological areas, though these are both always open and with free entry.

What to see in Sovana:

  • The Aldobrandeschi Fortress.
  • Piazza del Pretorio with the Palazzo dell’Archivio, Palazzo Pretorio and the church of Santa Maria.
  • The characteristic roads of the village lined with restaurants and floral decorations that colour the doors to homes.
  • The San Mamiliano museum and its precious treasure trove.
  • The Sovana Cathedral.
  • The tombs and vie cave of the Etruscan necropolis of the Città del Tufo Archaeological Park.

Parco Archeologico Città del Tufo

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Baracchino di Rodano: eat local, feel at home

The perfect place on the road between Punta Ala and Scarlino where you can sample the flavours of the Maremma. The Baracchino di Rodano serves delicious genuine dishes of “slow”…

The perfect place on the road between Punta Ala and Scarlino where you can sample the flavours of the Maremma. The Baracchino di Rodano serves delicious genuine dishes of “slow” or even “fast” food, but the quality is always top-notch.

  • Cuisine: Tuscan countryside tradition
  • Products: cold cuts, cheeses, local vegetable in oil
  • Price range: €15 – €25
  • Opening times: open every day from 8:30am to 8pm
  • Atmosphere: wholesome

Hard to miss. On the road from Punta Ala to Scarlino, between signposts and gaudy flowers, sits the Baracchino di Rodano, a culinary pitstop for many new and old visitors to the Maremma, some of whom have been faithful customers for at least thirty years.

I taglieri

I taglieri

Light-years from the promises of designer furnishings and inviting menus, here everything is authentic and genuine. The shelves are lined with typical products from the area, largely from the family’s farm or coming from local manufacturers.

They have a vast range of cold cuts and cheeses. The selection of fennel, cabbage, courgettes and beans in oil or vinegar are another product added to enrich the mixed platters. All you need is a glass (or two) of wine and it’s done. The more demanding stomachs can be satisfied with a grand finale of ricotta cheese tart – their speciality

La torta di ricotta

La torta di ricotta

The Baracchino di Rodano emanates a family atmosphere: that of the family who created it, that of the people who work here and the customers themselves.

The story starts with Signor Vilio, a farmer with 460 peach trees and a few cows. He sold peaches and milk, travelling round the local towns on his motorbike. But then he made a decision: “I will open a Baracchino, that way the customers will come to me”. From that moment on the farm expanded and increased the variety of the products cultivated in the fields surrounding the Baracchino.

Formaggi locali

Formaggi locali

The family’s tradition was carried on by Vilio’s son and daughter-in-law, Marzia. If you decide to try out the Baracchino, you will probably find her welcoming you, joking and sharing stories with her very loyal clients, some of whom return years later to catch up, to eat, to see their photo in the photo album that is the pride and joy of Marzia and her colleagues.

That’s right, because often there is a photo opportunity with customers that ends up printed in the “family album” of the Baracchino di Rodano.

Agriristoro il Baracchino di Rodano .

Opening times: every day from 8:30am – 8pm

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Wandering around Vetulonia, home of the Etruscans

A walk through the lush green of the Tuscan Maremma, discovering the necropolis that makes Vetulonia an immensely valuable archaeological area. Vetulonia is a village in the Maremma just a…

A walk through the lush green of the Tuscan Maremma, discovering the necropolis that makes Vetulonia an immensely valuable archaeological area.

Vetulonia is a village in the Maremma just a few kilometres from Castiglione della Pescaia. With ancient roots, it was one of the most important Etruscan settlements of the Dodecapolis and rose on the banks of the now-lost Prile Lake

Il borgo visto dall'alto

Il borgo visto dall’alto

Mentioned in a number of ancient documents, for centuries all traces of the village had been lost, becoming a legend, a story to tell. Only during the late 19th century did Isidoro Falchi find the ruins of the town, kickstarting the process to bring the archaeological area back to light and give back the Colonna di Buriano its original ancient name: Vetulonia.

The inhabited centre still conserves the gargantuan Arce wall, the perfect starting point to get to the archaeological area, which starts right next to the village. Of huge interest for archaeologists but also fascinating for laypersons, Scavi Città is a topography of the original settlement of the Etruscans, which can be visited on an enjoyable walk in nature.

We wander inside what was once a rich, flourishing settlement, breathing in the history and clean Maremma air.

Particolare della necropoli

Particolare della necropoli

Just a few minutes by car – or taking the opportunity for a nice trek – you can reach a country lane that leads to the necropolis, the Via dei Sepolcri. A series of small archaeological sites that narrate the death culture and funeral traditions of the Etruscan people, and the rising tombs invite you to enter their underground chambers, the home of the dead.
One of the most interesting is the Petrera tomb, enclosed by a circle of trees that brings to mind pagan rites and the adoration of nature: open to the public, this cannot be missed. Just as enchanting are the Belvedere and Diavolino tombs, and the Fibula d’Oro tomb: open-air and protected by olive trees, it is the place where they found the famous clasp that is today exhibited in Vetulonia’s Town Museum of Archaeology – another certainly interesting stop for archaeology fans.

Il tumulo della Petrera

To conclude our itinerary, we can continue towards the Roselle archaeological area or pay a visit to the Diaccia Botrona, a natural reserve that holds the traces of that lake that by now no longer exists.

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Relais Torre Mozza, where tradition goes gourmet

A period residence where you can find a top-quality restaurant and immerge your senses in the flavours and colours of the Tuscan coast. Cuisine: traditional, gourmet Products: fish, meat Price…

A period residence where you can find a top-quality restaurant and immerge your senses in the flavours and colours of the Tuscan coast.

Cuisine: traditional, gourmet

Products: fish, meat

Price range: €35 – €50

Opening times: open every day for dinner, closed on Tuesdays

Atmosphere: elegant, romantic, chic

Torre Mozza is an icon of the Maremma coastline, where visitors are lucky enough to be able to enjoy a swim in the water in the shadow of a fort built to overlook the coast against Saracen invasion.

Torre Mozza

Torre Mozza

This ancient piece of seafront architecture is today home to the enchanting Torre Mozza Relais Follonica, a restaurant characterised by excellent cuisine where the culinary tradition of the Maremma coast is exalted by touches of gourmet creativity.

Classified in some guides of the sector as one of Italy’s best restaurants, the cuisine of Torre Mozza includes traditional Maremma dishes that have been revisited and enriched by the flair of refined gourmet cuisine, made up of delicacy, colour and edible flowers. It is the tale of a deep-rooted territorial identity that is open to innovation and translates into an inviting menu offering both fish- and meat- based dishes.

I piatti

I piatti

This sensorial experience is further amplified by the splendid sea view stretching towards the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, and the elegant furnishings that are perfectly integrated in the historical structure, where the stone walls and open beams bear witness to the noble splendour of times gone by.

Torre Mozza in fact has a centuries-old history: it was built on commission by the Appiani family from Piombino in the 1500s who lived here to supervise the arrival of mineral resources from Elba Island.
Today the structure is an attraction for all five senses, where you can immerse yourself in the flavours, aromas and colours of the sea.

I piatti del Torre Mozza

I piatti del Torre Mozza

Contacts.

tel +0565-252102

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The towers and tunnels of the Archaeological Mines Park of San Silvestro

A voyage to the bowels of the mountain finding out about the miners’ life and the Val di Cornia. The Archaeological Mines Park of San Silvestro stands in the very…

A voyage to the bowels of the mountain finding out about the miners’ life and the Val di Cornia.

The Archaeological Mines Park of San Silvestro stands in the very heart of the Livorno Maremma area next to the enchanting medieval village of Campiglia Marittima, Tuscany.

Stretching over around 450 hectares, it is a protected natural area contained within the Val di Cornia parks, which aims to preserve and promote the Rocca San Silvestro medieval castle, mines and the memory of the hard work of the miners – all within beautiful natural scenery of wide views all the way to the coast.

Il centro visite del Parco archeominerario di San Silvestro.

Il centro visite del Parco archeominerario di San Silvestro.

The park experience starts with a visit to the Museum of Archaeology and Minerals, continuing with a guided tour of the Temperino Mine and finally reaching the Pozzo Earle where you can find the Museum of Mineral Machinery and the Miners’ Museum.

From here we embark on a true underground voyage to the centre of the Earth; accompanied by our guide and comfortably seated on a yellow train – very popular with the kids – we enter the Lanzi-Temperino Tunnel, dug by miners in ancient times. During the 20-minute long trip, we find ourselves lost in the geological and mineral history of the place, also immersed in the histories of those who lived and worked in the darkness of these tunnels.

All’interno della galleria.

All’interno della galleria.

Leaving the mountain, we reach the valley where we can find the ruins of the Rocca di San Silvestro castle after a quick walk from the railway station.
The castle is a fortification built around 1000 AD using the mineral deposits in which the area was rich and for which it was renowned even in Etruscan times. It stands around 330 metres above sea level on Mount Rombolo and is a panoramic point looking over the surrounding valleys, the San Vincenzo Tower and Rocca di Campiglia. Located strategically, the three towers were part of the wider defensive network of the Val di Cornia.

La Rocca di San Silvestro.

La Rocca di San Silvestro.

Our visit can continue to Campiglia Marittima, Tuscany, where the Museo della Rocca in the very Rocca di Campiglia complex tells us the history of the village and legendary tales of medieval knights and aristocrats.

The visit is enriched by walks in the fascinating alleys of the historical centre, pausing to enjoy genuine dishes in one of the restaurants in Piazza della Repubblica, or you can choose to travel along the Etruscan Coast Wine Road: this area is where the prestigious DOC VAL di Cornia comes to life: in this splendid countryside vineyards and olive groves reign scattered with farms and agricultural producers of typical products and local extra-virgin olive oil.

What to see and do in the Archaeological Mines Park of San Silvestro and the surrounding area:

  • Rocca di San Silvestro.
  • Museum of Mineral Machinery and the Miners’ Museum.
  • Museum of Archaeology and Minerals.
  • Temperino Mine.
  • Lanzi-Temperino Tunnel.
  • Campiglia Marittima village and fortress.

Archaeological Mines Park of San Silvestro

Opening times vary depending on the time of year and can be consulted here

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Relaxation and water sports in the Castiglioncello sea

Surfing, diving and kitesurfing as well as a relaxing sea-side experience on the Tuscan coast, the birthplace of the Macchiaioli, between reefs and white beaches. Jewel of the Maremma coastline…

Surfing, diving and kitesurfing as well as a relaxing sea-side experience on the Tuscan coast, the birthplace of the Macchiaioli, between reefs and white beaches.

Jewel of the Maremma coastline and outpost standing guard at the entrance to the splendid Etruscan Coast, the village of Castiglioncello looks out over the sea between spectacular reefs, surrounded by vast hills of Mediterranean scrub; it is no coincidence that this beautiful place inspired the liveliest artistic movement of the 19th century: the Macchiaioli.

Thanks to its exclusive beauty, in the 1960s this area was also popular with famous celebrities such as Alberto Sordi and Marcello Mastroianni, and was also used as a film set for Vittorio Gassman’s film “Il Sorpasso”.

Il Castello Pasquini

Il Castello Pasquini

Even if you only find yourself near Livorno on your way to southern Maremma, you simply must turn your car along the coastal road that departs from Antignano: this is the old Via Aurelia, whose beautiful views over the coast will accompany you as you discover Castiglioncello, its enchanting surroundings and the many many ways to experience sea life.

Il Castello del Boccale

Il Castello del Boccale

At the very beginning of the coastal road you can see Calafuria Tower on your right; this spectacular outpost on the very edge of the sea defends the city of Livorno. The defensive system also includes the nearby Maroccone or Diavolo towers, today part of the Boccale Castle.

To fully appreciate its beauty, we recommend you climb down the cliffs next to Calafuria. These blocks of sandstone have been slowly eroded by the sea, making them smooth and easy to climb, the perfect way to reach the intense blue sea for a dip; these waters reflect on their surfaces beautiful views and hide an underwater world full of fascinating corners and biodiversity, a real paradise for enthusiasts of diving.

Under the Calafuria cliffs are numerous immersions sites accessible directly from land, and an association offers guided underwater tours.

Surfisti nella baia del Quercetano

Surfisti nella baia del Quercetano

Having arrived in Castiglioncello we can enjoy the classic sea-side life between refreshing dips, relaxing with a book under the sun umbrella or in the famous Marradi pinewood, aperitifs and excellent fish dinners in the restaurants that line its gracious town centre, from which you can see the rising of the 19th century Pasquini Castle; you can also have the chance to do the most famous of all water sports: surfing.

In the Quercetano Bay, near the centre and main free beach of Castiglioncello, form the perfect waves; the ideal place for surfers of an intermediary level but novices can find courses in the sea resort of the bay; also perfect for paddle boarding enthusiasts.

Le spiagge bianche di Rosignano Solvay e mare cristallino

Le spiagge bianche di Rosignano Solvay e mare cristallino

If water-based board-sports are more your thing, the renowned white beaches have the perfect conditions for kitesurfing and windsurfing. There are around four kilometres of sandy coasts, where the pure white sand creates a surprising contrast with the colour of the sea; you can find this area in Vada, just south of Castiglioncello. There is a range of sports that can be practiced here, suitable for all levels thanks to the various courses and instructors ready to start you off.

kitesurf

kitesurf

Whether the idea is an active or relaxing holiday, Castiglioncello and its coast represent the perfect destination to satisfy all desires for sea, entertainment and fun.

What to see and do in Castiglioncello and the surrounding area:

  • Calafuria Tower: diving and sunset aperitif on the terraced bar next to the tower.
  • Boccale Castle: the castle is especially perfect for photographing on rough sea days.
  • Sonnino Castle: along the coast in Romito, admire the castle rising on the promontory overlooking the sea, which Baron Sidney Sonnino decided to make his home in the 19th
  • Castiglioncello town centre: enjoying an ice cream in the Marradi pinewood, shopping in boutiques, delicious fish-based breaks in the many restaurants, a delightful walk along the Alberto Sordi seafront.
  • Pasquini Castle: visit to the lovely surrounding park and participation in the many cultural and artistic events organised above all the summer.
  • Quercetano Bay: surfing and a traditional day at the sea, also perfect for children.
  • White beaches: kitesurf, windsurf, relaxing out-of-season walk with your four-legged friend (dedicated dog area on the beach even during the summer).

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