Grosseto

Grosseto is 'Il Cuore della Maremma Toscana' (the Heart of the Tuscan Maremma) and not just because it's the capital. Compared to other towns, Grosseto isn't old, it was founded in 1138, but somehow it managed to acquire a regalia and charm in those short years that makes it just as enthralling and just as beautiful as any Etruscan or Roman-founded city.

You'll be surprised to find there's a little bit of animosity between the Grossetani, those who live in Grosseto, and the average country-born Maremman. Used to the tranquil life where tradition reigns and the days are free from change or surprise, most Maremmani scoff at the idea of living in Grosseto - convinced that it's far too busy, loud and generally chaotic.

In reality, Grosseto is little more than a big town. Its town centre is made up of one main street, but that street is lined with the most elegant-looking shops, from bookshops with antique exposed beams to a wedding dress shop hidden inside a medieval palazzo.

Right at the end of this strip is Piazza Dante, Grosseto's heart. Everything in this piazza faces a statue of Leopoldo II - who stands tall with a desperate-looking woman and an adoring child at his feet. At one end, the elegant shops continue under a canopy of wood and stone, while at another end, the grand Palazzo della Provincia captures your eye with its distinctly proud, military-esque facade. While at another end still, the white marble Cattedrale di San Lorenzo sits in wait as a testament of the rich religious heritage that animates Grosseto.

And that's only the beginning. Those who know little about Grosseto, visit the city, savor the ancient buildings and take in the modern-flecked-with-traditional lifestyle of the Grossetani. But those who truly want to experience Grosseto don't keep to the city centre. They explore the winding alleys where the locals mix with a surprisingly strong Asian community. They step outside the tourist-filled strip and into the chaotic streets lined with charming stores and authentic restaurants. They go further still, to the deserted beaches and oak-filled forests of the Parco Regionale della Maremma - easily the most beautiful nature reserve in the territory.

Sights

Cattedrale S. Lorenzo

Built in the 12th century, this Gothic Cathedral is, without a doubt, Maremma’s grandest church and the religious heart of the region.

Chiesa di San Pietro

Incredibly well preserved, this church is crowned by stone arches and Romanesque sculptures, which are some of the oldest artistic works in the Maremma.

Chiesa di San Francesco

A splendid medieval church redecorated in the course of the centuries, but originally somberly designed as a convent for Grosseto’s Franciscans priests.

Palazzo della Provincia

Resembling more of a castle than a palazzo, this building is a rare example of the Sienese revival of the medieval art in the Maremma.

Teatro degli Industri

Originally a 19th century refuge for pilgrims, this warehouse was transformed into an elegant theatre worthy of the famed Accademia degli Industri.

Cinta Muraria

Grosseto’s city walls stand out from other towns’ because of their irregular hexagonal shape and their imposing battalion.

La Porta Vecchia

Opening into Via Aurelia – the street that leads you into the heart of the city – is this beautiful stone arch with its carvings and faded inscriptions.

Museums

Museolab

An experimental-sort of museum, it explains and describes the research methods used by new and old archeologists to recreate past events.

Museo Storia Naturale

A museum filled with wonderful exhibitions and explicative panels that capture the morphological characteristics of the territory.

Museo Archeologico 

In 1860, Grosseto’s public library was opened with a small exhibition of ancient sacred relics lovingly collected by Giovanni Chelli. Today these objects are the heart of this museum.

Museo di Arte Sacra

Located in the 19th century Palazzo del Vecchio Tribunale in Grosseto’s main piazza, this museum captures Grosseto’s rich and colourful religious past.

Nature parks and outdoor museums

Rusellae (Roselle)

Once a 7th century B.C Etruscan city, Rusellae is now an open air museum. Visitors can wander through the ruined buildings, necropolises and city walls that have lain untouched since the time of this ancient civilization.

Parco della Maremma

Stretched over 9,800 hectares, the Parco Regionale della Maremma or Parco dell’Uccellina is quite simply paradise.

Events

Festambiente

August

Each year, the residents of Grosseto come together to hold Festambiente under the summer Tuscan sun. The festival’s aim is simple: to celebrate the local’s respect for the environment and the fragile ecosystem that surrounds their city.

Festa dell’Olio-Batignano

November

Live music, oil, wine and local product tasting, a mountain bike race, arts and crafts stalls, kid’s activities – pretty much everything you could want from a festival rolled into one action-packed weekend!

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