I get a lot of emails from intrepid travellers who want to know which Maremman sights simply cannot be missed. The Maremma is big. It makes up a third of Tuscany and no one can dedicate a lifetime exploring it, not even me! So sometimes you just want to know what the top attractions are and put the others on your bucket list.
No, I’m not biased just because this town happens to be around the corner from my house. Montemerano is the sort of Italian village you dream about visiting. It’s quaint, really well preserved and still full of those gorgeous elderly locals who look so cute, but are probably mouthing you off in Italian when you turn around.
Don’t miss: the Chiesa di San Giorgio with its amazing frescos.
2. Massa Marittima
Nicknamed Siena’s little sister, this is the Maremma’s show stopping city. One of the most beautiful Renaissance cities I have ever seen with a real air of Northern Tuscany about it. When I say that, I mean that the Maremma looks nothing like Northern Tuscany with its cedars and cobblestone stone streets… except for Massa Marittima. With its incredible Duomo and wealth of museums, it’s the jewel of the Maremma.
Don’t miss: the Duomo and the piazza surrounding it.
3. Castiglione della Pescaia
My favourite seaside destination is a relaxed and colourful homage to both old and new, as in the new section of Castiglione della Pescaia has fantastic boutique shopping and chic restaurants, while the old has a few relics and a fantastic view.
Don’t miss: Diaccia Botrona – a nature park with its own flock of flamingoes.
More of a movie-set than a town, this dying village has less than 100 residents. It’s the birthplace of the Maremma’s only pope and has been a haven for artists and poets since the Etruscans. Sovana has been beautifully preserved and with no modern developers to spoil it, it’s one of the few places in Italy where you can see medieval and Renaissance palazzos unsullied by neighbouring modern structures.
Don’t miss: the artisans. Sovana was, is and will forever be famous for the ceramic, silk and leather artisans who work in small workshops along the main road.
The city by the lagoon is a funny mix of metropolitan meets wetlands. In the centre, it’s very high end with grand palazzos and beautiful boutiques, while a few streets over, Orbetello Lagoon is a bird watcher’s paradise with balmy weather and the odd Roman ruin scattered here and there.
Don’t miss: the beaches. Orbetello is a hop and a skip from the Maremma’s most easily accessible free beaches, Giannella and Feniglia, both of which are great for families with soft sand and calm waters.
Plenty of locals would disagree, but Grosseto was the first Maremman city I discovered and I am still enchanted by it. It feels old but in a good way. There’s not much to do but walk down the main strip, but it’s beautiful without being touristy and has the same sort of grace that I’ve always attributed to the lesser known Parisian neighbourhoods.
Don’t miss: the archaeological museum. The Maremma’s finest, it’s the only museum you need to see if you’re even the tiniest bit curious about the Etruscans and Ancient Romans.
Don’t think I forget about her! Pitigliano is beautiful. It’s an incredible city carved on top of a cliff of the same stone so you can’t see where the manmade ends and nature begins. I have never seen anything like it before in my life. But it ranks so low on my list simply because it’s more beautiful on the outside than on the inside. You’ll definitely want to photograph it, especially at night when it’s all lit up, but you could probably skip a visit.
Don’t miss: the sight of Pitigliano from the main road at night when it looks very much like an enchanted fairy kingdom or something out of Game of Thrones.
8. Giglio Island
Probably the thing I love the most about Giglio Island is how separate it is from the rest of the Maremma. It has a different vibe – that island vibe that I am always utterly envious of. You go to Giglio Island to escape the crowds, enjoy amazing seafood for half the price and wander Giglio Castello with hardly any company.
Don’t miss: Giglio Castello, the preserved medieval heart of Giglio.
… And I’m stopping there. I could go to 10, but these are the essentials and I don’t want to sully the waters with others that aren’t absolutely necessary must-sees.