Maremma

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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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.

How to get here:

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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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An adventure in the Maremma National Park, on the trail of San Rabano

An exciting trek on the trail of San Rabano, the ancient abbey protected by the nature of the Maremma Regional Park The word Maremma immediately brings to mind wild views,…

An exciting trek on the trail of San Rabano, the ancient abbey protected by the nature of the Maremma Regional Park

The word Maremma immediately brings to mind wild views, coastal landscapes and uncontaminated scrubland, a backdrop for outdoor adventure on the hunt for the wild fauna that often reveals itself to passing humans, or out to discover the historical jewels so jealously hidden in the vegetation.
An authentic land protected since 1975 by the Maremma Regional Park – the first park in Tuscany.

San Rabano

San Rabano

The park stretches over around 10,000 hectares from Principina a Mare to Talamone  in the province of Grosseto and its southernmost point is marked by the Uccellina Mounts, a range of hills covered with shady beech woods and Mediterranean scrub from which you can enjoy some incredible views over the coast.
It is an untouched land, a custodian of traditions and crafts from times gone by; in the vast plains along the hills, butteri – the Italian version of cowboys – continue their ancient tradition work of herding animals on horseback.
In Alberese and Talamone you can find the visitors’ centre; once you have purchased your ticket, a shuttle bus service will take you to the departure points of the various trekking itineraries..

Uno dei meravigliosi panorami che si possono godere tra i sentieri del parco

Uno dei meravigliosi panorami che si possono godere tra i sentieri del parco

The prosperous nature of the Maremma Natural Park is further enriched by many historical landmarks. Many towers dating back to the 15th century can be found scattered along the coastline; they were built to control the coast against the increasingly dangerous threat of pirate invasions.

The waters that lap the Tuscan coast were infested by pirates that disturbed the peaceful living of the local populations for around three centuries. There are also numerous archaeological sites dating back to the Etruscan and Roman eras, but the most impressive comes from the Middle Ages: the San Rabano abbey.

Recently renovated, the complex was first built as a Benedictine monastery in around 1100 AD and today you can visit the ruins surrounded by the luxuriant woodland from which the bell tower and tower can be seen emerging from a distance. From Alberese the trekking itinerary starts which leads through beautiful beech woods and landscapes to this unique, timeless place

Il parco è pieno di sentieri da percorrere a piedi, in bicicletta o a cavallo

Il parco è pieno di sentieri da percorrere a piedi, in bicicletta o a cavallo

Once you have purchased your ticket at the Alberese visitors’ centre, the itinerary starts from the village church and is well-signposted.
Having reached the gate, the trek starts in a grassy stretch coasted by green hills to then climb gently into the woods and scrubland.

After a little less than five kilometres – and a 300 metres climb – we catch a glimpse of the ruins of the abbey that almost completely cover the clearing that opens out in the middle of the wood.

From San Rabano we follow the path that leads to two observation points in which the vegetation gives way to spectacular views over the coast, around 600 and 800 metres from the abbey. The intense blue sea lapping against the high rocky coast stretches out as far as the eye can see, broken only by the enchanting Forno Bay: a protected beach of fine sand and crystalline sea which was used to film “Non ci resta che piangere” with Benigni and Troisi.

Return Itinerary to San Rabano:

Distance: 9.4 km
Altitude: 290 mt
Difficulty: average
Means: by foot

Equipment recommended: trekking or sports footwear, water bottle of 1.5lt capacity or more, rucksack.

Maremma Regional Park

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A weekend of history and good wine in Magliano and Pereta

Two medieval jewels frozen in time and located in the Maremma hinterland, the birth-place of Morellino and the custodian of centuries-old buildings. The heart of the Grosseto Maremma beats with…

Two medieval jewels frozen in time and located in the Maremma hinterland, the birth-place of Morellino and the custodian of centuries-old buildings.

The heart of the Grosseto Maremma beats with history and views of enchanting beauty. In this splendid context rise Magliano in Toscana and one of its hamlets, Pereta, two places permeated with a unique and genuine atmosphere, where time seems to stand still.

Il borgo di Pereta

Il borgo di Pereta

There are many Etruscan settlements in the area but the two villages are characterised by their medieval legacy as they exquisitely keep hold of their centuries-old appearance.
The historical centre of Magliano, Italy is still today surrounded by the city walls built under commission by the Aldobrandeschi family who exercised their power over these lands in the 14th century; it was completely restructured under the subsequent Siennese dominion at the beginning of the Renaissance and today is one of the most complete fortifications of the Maremma territory, it can be visited in its entirety with a very pleasant panoramic walk looking over the enchanting surroundings.

The walls contain striking historical palaces, churches and parishes of Romanesque origin, as well as interesting museums such as the Archaeological Documentation Centre which conserves findings from the surrounding area and reconstructions of aspects of life during Etruscan and Roman times; the characteristic alleyways are brought to life by rows of typical restaurants satisfying the eyes and the taste buds with their ancient traditional dishes.

Magliano in Toscana

Magliano in Toscana

But there are also many places worth a visit outside of the walls, too, such as the numerous archaeological sites dating back to Etruscan times, including the accessible Santa Maria in Borraccia and Cancellone necropolises. A couple of kilometres from the town centre you can find the fascinating ruins of the San Bruzio Monastery, a smaller but no less charming version of San Galgano in the far south of Tuscany. The church was built in around 1000 AD by Benedictine monks and has similar architectural details to the nearby San Rabano, and ancient abbey conserved in the wild nature of the Maremma Regional Park.

Magliano in Toscana and Pereta are surrounded by the splendid Maremma countryside which a short distance away gives way to the green highlands of the Monti dell’Uccellina hill range, protected for their naturalistic value by the Maremma Park and the perfect destination for wonderful walks.

Palazzo dei Priori.

Palazzo dei Priori.

The fortified village of Pereta nestles in the rock around ten kilometres from Magliano, along the road to Scansano. As closed in as it is enchanting, it is a medieval jewel that was an important military centre thanks to its strategic position along the road that connected the coast with the mountains. Pereta still has many of the buildings from its past such as the imposing gate – the crenellated Porta di Ponente – and is dominated by the Clock Tower, a defensive tower standing almost 30 metres tall.

Wandering its traditional alleyways, the almost surreal atmosphere is that of distant times; crossing the threshold you find yourself thrown into the era that made this village a treasure trove of history which has reached us today surprisingly intact, under the passage of the pilgrims who used to travel this land during the Middle Ages.

Beyond the Maremma coast, Magliano in Toscana and Pereta are unmissable weekend destinations to immerse yourself in the most fascinating history, good food and excellent wine in the very land in which the famous Morellino di Scansano DOCG was born.

What to see in Magliano in Toscana and Pereta:

  • Aldobrandeschi city walls in Magliano in Toscana.
  • The town centre and historical buildings of Checco il Bello and the Priori.
  • View from San Martino Gate.
  • Church of San Giovanni Battista.
  • Necropolis of Santa Maria in Borraccia and Cancellone.
  • San Bruzio Monastery.
  • Maremma Regional Park.
  • Ponente Gate and historical town centre of Pereta.

Useful informations:

Council of Magliano in Toscana

Maremma regional park

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Golf in Tuscany with a sea-view

Tee-time on the greens with a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea: welcome to the Punta Ala Golf Club Resort, the golfing paradise of the Tuscan Maremma. At the very end…

Tee-time on the greens with a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea: welcome to the Punta Ala Golf Club Resort, the golfing paradise of the Tuscan Maremma.

At the very end of the promontory, famous for its port and Yacht Club, there is no middle ground when talking of Punta Ala, a resort that offers only the very best to those searching for relaxation and entertainment.

The ideal union can be found at the Punta Ala Golf Club Resort, a structure with 60 hectares of land just a few kilometres from Castiglione della Pescaia, where the greenery is not merely that of the golf course but above all the colour of the Mediterranean scrub that surrounds and embraces the greens.

Il Golf Club Punta Ala

Il Golf Club Punta Ala

The Golf Club was founded in 1964 and has 18 holes of varying difficulty. It is still today one of the most renowned in Europe. The structure also boasts the Combinata Vela Golf, an annual occasion organised by the Golf Club including culinary events for an all-round holiday.
In the hottest hours of the day or between holes, the Club House is the perfect place for a rest, as you enjoy the view over the scrub and courses stretching out to the sea and the sweet rolling hills behind which the sunsets. Here, you can enjoy a relaxing chat with friends or decide to discover the local flavours, the best of which are the fish dishes

Giocatori di golf

Giocatori di golf

The Punta Ala Golf Club Resort is an almost obligatory stop for golf enthusiasts and professionals, an unmissable experience that can only be postponed long enough to enjoy a hearty breakfast in the Club House sea-view panoramic terrace

Contacts

info@golfpuntaala.it – +39 0564 922121

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Follonica: dinner on the white sands of Maremma

A meal of seafood on Follonica’s seafront and a walk along the beach – the perfect end to the perfect day in the Tuscan Maremma. Follonica, Italy is one of…

A meal of seafood on Follonica’s seafront and a walk along the beach – the perfect end to the perfect day in the Tuscan Maremma.

Follonica, Italy is one of the seaside jewels of the coastal Maremma, renowned for its white sands, crystalline waters and the true flavours of the sea. Just a few kilometres from Punta Ala and Castiglione della Pescaia, it is the perfect place to enjoy a fish dinner on the seafront.

Lido balneare di Follonica

Lido balneare di Follonica

A number of top-rate restaurants face directly onto the beach, places where the salty air fills the rooms, the perfect accompaniment to the flavours of local cuisine; you can find tradition and the relaxing atmosphere so typical of seaside towns in the Oscar Club, renowned for its fried dishes, and in the La Baracca, whose flavoursome dishes are brought to life with colourful aesthetic touches and where you can eat on the sand itself.

Ristorante Oscar Club.

Ristorante Oscar Club.

If you are looking for gourmet romance the Relais Torre Mozza is the place for you. This striking residence on the seafront offers breath-taking views over the wide, intense blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Tramonto sul mare.

Tramonto sul mare.

  • Oscar Club:

+39 0566-52588

  • La Baracca:

+39 0566-40750, +39 339-4661111

  • Relais Torre Mozza:

+39 0565-252102

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Capraia, pearl of the Tuscan archipelago

A wild pearl in the Mediterranean: trekking and boat trip itineraries to discover the uncontaminated nature of Capraia Of the seven pearls of the Tyrrhenian that are under the protection…

A wild pearl in the Mediterranean: trekking and boat trip itineraries to discover the uncontaminated nature of Capraia

Of the seven pearls of the Tyrrhenian that are under the protection of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago, Capraia is without a doubt the wildest and the first nucleus of the park itself: dominated by Mediterranean scrubland, its virgin cliffs are marked by a single, tiny village with few houses and a small port. Nature reigns supreme, with its rare flora and fauna.

Until recently, Capraia had long been used as a prison island: a fact that limited human influence and construction thereby increasing the charm of the place. The buildings of the former Penal Colony today make up a heritage of buildings recognised as “common property”, now accessible to local inhabitants and tourists. Along the panoramic road that leaves the port you can visit the area coasting the crystalline waters of the sea.

Edifici abbandonati dell’ex Colonia Penale.

Edifici abbandonati dell’ex Colonia Penale.

Lovers of marine beauty will be spoilt for choice by the experiences offered by the island: near the town, you can access the sea in four different ways to go diving, and boat trips leave the port every day. Navigating the coast you can see the falesie: these spectacular crags are found inside the cliffs, home to a rich variety of fish species. But don’t forget to take time out for a dip in the prettiest coves. 

For the more adventurous amongst you, Capraia is at its best when visited on foot. Its wildest side can be explored following the itineraries outside of the town, each one on a discovery of a different corner of paradise, further exalted by clear views of Elba Island and Corsica. 

Corsica all’orizzonte.

Corsica all’orizzonte.

  • Cala dello Zurletto 

Around twenty minutes walking, this is a very easy excursion passing through typical Mediterranean scrubland. From the centre of the town, we walk towards the Forte di San Giorgio: overlooking the sea, this spectacular castle was built in 1540 by the Republic of Genoa. Continuing, we pass the helipad until we arrive at a fork in the path: to the left we reach Bellavista, a natural terrace overlooking the cliff; to the right there is a short climb and then we descend to the cove where we can enjoy a regenerating swim in the green-blue waters.  

  • Former Penal Colony  

This path is of intermediary level and starts from the port: passing alongside the Church dell’Assunta, we leave the inhabited centre to climb along an asphalted road that eventually becomes an easily seen, wide dirt track. Climbing, each bend in the path gives us yet another, magnificent view. We soon reach the arch that used to lead to the prison and pass the abandoned buildings of the colony; the peace and perfumes of the sea contrast with the ruins and echoes of the past condemned. Feelings of freedom and confinement fuse together in this unique atmosphere. Along the path we can spot various species of birds: the perfect place for birdwatchers.  

  • Punta dello Zenobito 

From the town square, we pass the church of San Nicola on the right taking the ancient mule track (dating back to 1545) which used to connect the inhabited centre with the Zenobite Tower. This itinerary is challenging due to its length, climb, sun exposure and the final, uneven track. After around three hours’ walk, we reach the Zenobite Tower, a watchtower built in 1545 on the chimney of one of the island’s two ancient volcanoes. Here we can look over the Cala Rossa, so-called for the volcanic rock of which it is made. A breath-taking scene over the sea and times gone by, embraced within a wild and incredible nature.  

Return itinerary Cala dello Zurletto 

Length of route: approx. 2.0 km 

Climb: 80 metres 

Difficulty level: easy 

Means: by foot 

Departure point: Google Maps   

Return itinerary Ex Colonia Penale  

Length of route: approx. 10.00 km 

Climb: 300 metres 

Difficulty level: average 

Means: by foot 

Departure point: Google Maps  

Return itinerary Punta dello Zenobito 

Length of route: approx. 16 km 

Climb: 800 metres 

Difficulty level: challenging 

Means: by foot 

Departure point: Google Maps  

Recommended equipment: trekking shoes, water bottle of 1.5l or more, rucksack with approx. 20 litre capacity. 

Useful sites:

http://www.islepark.it/

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Thermal waters and adventure in Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany, Italy

A famous aquatic piazza and an itinerary that leads to ancient mills nestled in the Val d’Orcia hills: discovering the Bagno Vignoni thermal springs  Bagno Vignoni is a symbol of the Val d’Orcia, an almost obligatory destination for spa and nature…

A famous aquatic piazza and an itinerary that leads to ancient mills nestled in the Val d’Orcia hills: discovering the Bagno Vignoni thermal springs 

Bagno Vignoni is a symbol of the Val d’Orcia, an almost obligatory destination for spa and nature tourism along the ancient Via Francigena. 

Life in the tiny village centres round the charming Piazza delle Sorgenti, made up entirely by a large bath of sulphurous water, which over the years has become a symbol of this area and on many occasions has also been used as a film set. The characteristic roads surrounding the square provide quaint corners and incredible views that are a dream for all photographers – though the bath is obviously the undisputed protagonist.

I cipressi della Val d'Orcia

I cipressi della Val d’Orcia

Il minuscolo borgo prende vita intorno alla suggestiva Piazza delle Sorgenti  occupata interamente dalla piscina termale di BagnoVignoni, una grande vasca di acqua sulfurea, che negli anni è diventata un simbolo di questa zona e in diverse occasioni set cinematografico. Le caratteristiche stradine che circondano la piazza le regalano scorci e angolazioni da fotografare, di cui ovviamente la vasca è assoluta protagonista.

Nel cuore di Bagno Vignoni.

Nel cuore di Bagno Vignoni.

Not far from the centre of the village, you can venture out along a short path following the water courses that spring from the bath and flow towards ancient reservoirs. The streams that flow along the walls and rocky lands create grooves and small waterfalls, naturally outlining a path that leads towards the Parco naturale dei Mulini 

 The four medieval-era mills have two unique characteristics: not only, in fact, were they dug out of the rock rather than constructed, but importantly they were the only ones able to work during the summer, when dry rivers impeded the functioning of the other man-made ones. The mills of Bagno Vignoni boasted a strategic position allowing them a constant thermal current, which did not wane during the summer. The only problem that the workers had to deal with was the temperature of the spring – around 50°C.  

Il Parco dei Mulini.

Il Parco dei Mulini.

The flatter and easier return path leads visitors back to the piazza, where you are free to relax and enjoy a bath in one of the full-service thermal structures of Bagno Vignoni. As well as the Parco dei Mulini there are also some free baths, just bear in mind that these waters are not as hot as those in the resorts, as the source is further away. In both cases, it is exciting to think that you are bathing in the same waters that the likes of Lorenzo De’ Medici used to bathe in centuries ago.  

Relax nelle piscine termali dell’hotel.

Relax nelle piscine termali dell’hotel.

Perpetually enveloped by the light mist that rises from the piazza of hot water, Bagno Vignoni is a magical place in a UNESCO World Heritage land; a one-of-a-kind village which, together with Bagni San Filippo can be defined as a thermal jewel of the Val d’Orcia’s hot springs. 

You can complete your tour with a visit to Vignoni Alto: the village is just a few minutes by car from the thermal area and can also be reached by foot along the Via Francigena. The castle and tower dominate the valley and give visitors an incomparable view over the countryside, a breath-taking panorama framed by the beautiful, iconic medieval gate. 

L’ingresso al Parco dei Mulini di bagno Vignoni è gratuito.

Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany, Italy, how to reach

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