Before reading further, I suggest you pull up a map of Tuscany. Locate Siena and then trail you finger in a southwesterly direction until you no longer recognize the place names. Stop before you get to Grossetto and the sea at Monte Argentario.
Benvenuto. You have arrived in the “lost corner of Tuscany” in the words of Fred Plotkin, where you come to linger and breathe. Here you won’t find menus in English or rooms filled with Michelangelos. Instead you will find beauty, peace and the unspoiled authentic travel experience you may be craving.
For us it began with a long and winding road through pristine beauty on the first of many delightful drives through inland Maremma. We were reminded to consider the true nature of Italy– a patchwork country with intensely local cultures and character. Differences are counted in single-digit kilometers. From the kind of flour used to make bread to how feast days are celebrated.
This is a deep and varied part of Italy, full of mysterious, redolent and unspoiled corners to explore. In our quest to keep uncovering what is worth discovering in Italy, we come back again and again to Maremma for a different way to understand Tuscany.
What will you find here?
- Scenic Drives, Rides and Roads
The landscape here is undulating, a bit tamer and more accessible to varied outdoor pleasures. People hunt here and are happy to take you trekking for cinghiale or mushrooms (if it is more your style). We suggest leaving the house on foot for an endless run where you may loose track of your miles. The uncluttered paved roads make long rides a pleasure. And if you have not been behind a roadster lately but still fancy yourself in a long silk scarf with leather driving gloves, this is the place.
- ‘0 km’ Dining
People have their own gardens and farms, so you will eat off the land. Or you can buy produce from a farmer who has loaded his Ape – the miniscule and essential three-wheeled scooter-with-flatbed vehicle of the Tuscan countryside – and driven to the center of Monte Antico or Cinigiano to sell his produce that was picked that morning. There is no particular schedule, he will stay until it is lunchtime or he has sold what he brought – bright greens and slim artichokes in the spring, sleek zucchini and eggplants with heaps of tomatoes by summer, squat zucca and fresh walnuts come fall.
Eight euros will buy you an excellent, if unknown, Rosso di Montalcino to accompany your lunch. Wander into any one of a number of tiny cellars where local producers are happy to introduce you to their wines. Best of all, plan a visit in September or October when everyone is celebrating the wine harvest and you can be elbow deep stirring up a pot of Ribollita to serve to a crowd of neighbors you have just met.
There are thermal pools nestled in the countryside of Petriolo as they have been since Roman times and still free for your soaking. Bring water shoes to navigate the surrounding rocks more comfortably. Stop by charming tiny Monticello for an immersive chestnut experience. Come in October for the local festival, if you can. Cross over to handsome Massa Marrittima for a dose of Instagramatic architecture including a stunning duomo set on a pedestal staircase. You have not heard of any of these places? Exactly, that is the idea.
Poised between the pristine sea of the Tuscan Archipelago and the geometric beauty of some of Italy’s most precious vineyard rows, connoisseurs of Italy come to this lost corner of Tuscany for the subtle, slow quality of each day. The pace is unhurried and the crowds are elsewhere. You will be on an adventure of your own making, to savor and discover an unspoiled passage across Tuscany.