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Touring Tuscany - Florence and the Maremma

by Luca Martinelli, Tuscan Travellers, February 2011

When you hear about Tuscany, you think of rolling hills and great red wines. Well, that's something you find in Tuscany, but there's much more.

Our traditions come from far; we can date the origin of our civilization approximately in IX - VIII century BC, with the Etruscans who gave the region the name Toscana. The Etruscans were skilled at exploiting mineral resources and cultivating high quality crops including wine and olive oil.

Tuscan people like their food specialties, their red wines and their land. They like to spend time with friends and family. People still have a strong relation with their territory. There's industrial activity in Tuscany, but there are still many almost untouched areas, such as parks and forests. Also, Tuscany has many farms and wineries.

In Tuscany you can visit famous ancient cities like Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Arezzo, as well as scenic countryside areas like Chianti, Orcia Valley, Casentino, Mugello, and Maremma. You can relax in one of the many resort areas on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea and even ski in winter on the Apennine mountains.

Florence, the center of Tuscany

Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Ponte Vecchio in Florence

The most important city is Florence, which is also the most central located, from where you can start visiting the rest of the territory. From Florence you can catch the main highways, as well as the high speed train to all big cities in Italy. I'm sure you've heard about the celebrated Michelangelo's David and the Uffizi Museum, a collection of the best Renaissance paintings of Italy. They are a must-see, but are not the only things to see.

My suggestion for you is to get surprised by some other "jewels" of Florence, where you don't need reservations and you can enjoy the visit, not surrounded by people on school trips or big tour groups. Try these jewels:

A Tour of the Maremma in Tuscany

Vines growing in the Maremma, Tuscany, Italy

Vines growing in the Maremma

I would like to introduce you to one of our favorite destinations in Tuscany, on the coast south of Pisa, between Livorno (the major Tuscan port) and Grosseto. It's the Maremma area, full of Archaeological sites (Etruscans), beautiful sandy beaches and charming hill towns.

You could either go there for one day, or you could stay for three or more days. Starting from Florence, it takes about 1hr 45 minutes to get there by car, so to enjoy a full day visit, you should leave Florence at 8am or 9am.

The first place I suggest you to see is Bolgheri, a lovely village in the middle of the hills, a few miles away from the coast. If you are a wine lover, here you could taste some of the best "super Tuscan wines", such as Sassicaia, Masseto, Ornellaia, or enjoy a cappuccino at one of the bars, sitting outside and watching the people of this quiet and unexpected Tuscany.

Then, from Bolgheri you can easily drive to the coast, where you will discover one of oldest sites of Italy: Populonia (VII century BC). It was the most important Etruscan port, so here you can visit the Archaeological area, as well as the medieval town, from where you can get spectacular views of the Tuscan coast.

Baratti at the Seaside, Tuscany, Italy

Baratti at the Seaside

In the summer you can relax, sunbathe and swim at Baratti, the bay of Populonia, where the water is still surrounded by the typical Mediterranean Pine forest.

In the afternoon you could visit two of the nicest hill towns of the area, Campiglia Marittima and Suvereto, both well preserved medieval towns, where you can stroll around in the narrow streets and also enjoy a delicious Tuscan meal.

In this part of Tuscany you can even take advantage of Spas, such as the Calidarium of Venturina, and even more south at Saturnia Spa, or you can join one of the festivals in the countryside, organized by the locals and taste the real homemade food!!

Well, for sure in Tuscany you'll never get bored. The region offers attractions for all desires, it's still a "slow style of life", where you want to enjoy every word, every bite of food, holding your glass of wine, watching the sunset.

Other Things to See in the Maremma

Maremma Natural Park. The Maremma distinguishes itself from other areas of Italy thanks to its variety and wealth of natural environments. In order to protect them, many natural reserves and parks have been established. Here you can enjoy the Mediterranean scrub in all its infinite variations, not to mention the possibility of seeing wildlife of the area.

Massa Marittima. Despite its name there is some distance from the sea and in fact "marittima" does not allude to the sea but rather to the Maremma. Massa Marittima was founded by the Etruscans, like many cities in Tuscany, and is located in the Colline Metallifere so that its history is closely linked to the copper and silver mines nearby.

Castiglion della Pescaia. This is a wonderful village on the seaside and dominates the coast from its Aragonese castle. Inside its walls you still see the Middle Ages look and charm. There are modern bathing establishments where you can relax and sunbath, or hire boats, kite surf or attend a diving course. There is a public beach from where you can admire the wild Maremma and other thin sandy or rocky beaches. After a seaside day the fun goes on at night: typical restaurants where you can taste the genuine Maremma cooking, wine bars, ice-cream, shops ... and for the night discos, pubs, and beach parties!

Google Map

View The Maremma in Tuscany, Italy in a larger map

Tuscan Travellers

Tuscan Travellers is a tourist services company operating in Tuscany and throughout Italy. The staff has long experience in tourism and can easily help you organize your vacation. We have specialized local guides and driver guides and offer you guided tours as well as day excursions and trips in English, French, Spanish and German. You can visit the hill-towns of Tuscany, as well as the famous art cities the region and of Italy, in our comfortable fully equipped cars and minivans. We'll make sure you get the most out of your vacation!
Tuscan Travellers - Florence, Italy - By Simone&Stefano Tours

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