Last week of May and the last week of October

All over the world, cities are opening their most treasured buildings to the curious eyes of strangers. It's called the Open House Movement and it plays on one of our basest instincts – that of wanting to stick our noses anywhere we’re not allowed to.

The Comune of Manciano has recently adopted the movement and renamed it Top Secret Maremma.

The area has an incredible heritage of buildings that aren’t normally open to tourists. There are privately owned castles, closed museums and houses opulent enough to have hosted ancient kings. Top Secret Maremma is a chance to see these buildings.

The event is the first of its kind to be held in the Maremma and always draws a huge crowd. About 20 or so buildings are opened each edition. They’re scattered across Saturnia, Montemerano, Poggio Murella, Marsilliana, Capanne, San Martino sul Fiora and Manciano and change each year.

A significant amount of organisation has gone into making this event possible. Manciano’s tourism team has gone to every one of the owners and not only begged them to open their buildings, but also explained the otherwise foreign concept of the Open House Movement. I can imagine a great amount of sucking up was involved, and probably some luncheons.

For example, last year, one of the buildings opened was the castle that looms over Marsilliana. It’s a private residence, built by the Aldobrandeschi in the 13th century and owned by their descendants. The walls are still lined with tapestries, and, unlike castles open to tourists, the furniture is still there and all original.

Unless you live in the Comune di Manciano, you mightn’t understand how incredible this event is. I have spent years admiring the facade of these buildings, wishing I could get inside.

This is a once off experience to see architecture, history, legend and local culture combined. The majority of the buildings open for this event have never been visited by the public, and it’s all free.

For more information and exact dates, check out the official website for Top Secret Maremma

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