Don't let Montemerano's humble exterior fool you. The simple, unassuming 15th century walls that surround this small town never betray the incredible charm that hides behind them. The tourists who don't stop at Montemerano are blissfully unaware of the incredible splendour they're missing.
It's a fair hike from the base of Montemerano to its centre. Passing through winding streets and sand brick houses, you get a sense of the town not only as it is for those who live here, but as it was when it was built in the Middle Ages.
And then all of a sudden, the alleyway opens up into a truly beautiful courtyard. Here the stone steps of houses and timber doors are hidden behind climbing ivy and robust vines. Colourful flowers bloom out of old wine barrels. The homes possess a tranquility and character that only comes with age. I have never seen anything more evocative or picturesque.
Still, the locals can't really see the fuss everyone makes over their town. These are country folk and very little sways them from their daily activities. Most are more than content to sit outside their ancient houses with neighbours, watching everyone else go about their business.
Like much of the Maremma, Montemerano was shaped by the powerful Aldobrandeschi, who are responsible for the town we see today.
But, unlike many Maremman towns, Montemerano still breathes the air of its past. Its rich history, tradition and culture is still alive and well within its walls.
A musical festival that celebrates the patron saint of Montemerano in the best way possible – with plenty of delicious local delicacies, exuberant dancing and fascinating arts and crafts.