Where in Tuscany do the Florentines go on weekends and holidays?

Alta Maremma, ItalyThe Alta Maremma.  This is their Hamptons.  Their Malibu.  A long sandy coastline with a strong and intact local, traditional Italian economy relatively undiscovered by tourists and largely ignored in the guidebooks.

The Golf von Baratti in the Alta Maremma

The Maremma is the place to visit if you love Italy and want a sense of your own discovery. The Maremma comprises seafront, rich fertile fields and shielding mountains, extending from the Argentario in the south to Viareggio in the North. Locally they distinguish between ‘Basso Maremma’ – the area north of Civitavecchia and Rome’s Fiumicino airport and concentrated around the Monte Argentario, Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole as well as Capalbio.

Then there is ‘Alta Maremma’ north of Grossetto and encompassing the important wine town of Bolgheri as well as a long string of unsoiled sand beach stretching from Cecina down to Piombino.

Alta Maremma has long been prized by Florentine aristocrats as their secret hideaway – a summer and weekend playground for the rich, famous and titled. The area was once under the sole control of one family.

Maremma 4Looking at maps from the 17th century you see their name neatly engraved across swaths of land the size of Rhode Island.

They had winter houses in the hills they used as lodges for weekend hunting parties as well as summer villas nestled in the cooling pine woods and soft-sand dunes by the sea. Everything in between was their domain – farms of tobacco, wheat and sunflowers, grazing fields of handsome long-horned Maremmana cows. These were productive agricultural lands.  And the landscape was dotted with farmhouses built for the estates’ workers. The noble estates are still largely intact, crisscrossed by private, discretely-gated dirt roads.

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There is still an unmistakable presence of nobility in this region.  You may or may not recognize the local Marqueses as they take to the supermarket to pick up an easy Sunday supper because the staff is off.  Even they will admit to enjoying a night on their own, dining by candlelight at the kitchen table of their beautifully modernized kitchens. They do still leave all the dishes for the maid in the morning, but who doesn’t enjoy a chance to let their hair down?

Private dinner parties fill every weekend evening – the same group of life-long friends circulating from one sea-breeze brightened terrace to a another. Yes, sometimes the talk turns to a hunt for wild boar – something Homebase Abroad can readily arrange with the same expert guides and access to private lands they use themselves.

More often it turns to the inevitability of renting out their private villas when they are not being occupied (After all, they can simply move to another one of their lovely estates.). We are all sharing the same economic realities and Italians are nothing if not opportunists. They enjoy opening their stunning private homes to appreciative cultured guests who come to experience and enjoy living as a titled Italians for one or more weeks of summer fun.La Civetta Terrace Dining

It is a heady opportunity for those lucky few who can come live ‘come gli Italiani.’ You won’t be the same.  At Homebase Abroad, we are delighted to offer this experience from two magical properties.  La Civetta  is a tastefully updated farmhouse that includes a local cook as well as staff and has easy access to a sandy beach.  And, Tombolino—an idyllic seaside setting for a relaxed holiday with family and friends.
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The Maremma affords you the chance to test your ability to live like an aristocrat and get to know a part of Tuscany that amply rewards those who truly appreciate and understand this remarkable region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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