People are always surprised when I tell them I don’t travel around Italy every second weekend. In fact, I was just complaining to Giulio about how little we get out. In Italy, work hours are ridiculously long, so I’m in the office every day until 7:30-8pm. Since cooking is our escape, we always make elaborate dinners and end up finishing at 10pm when it’s off to bed.
It’s an extremely boring life, I know. But I was given the opportunity last weekend to explore Orbetello in collaboration with the Argentario Golf Resort & Spa. If you’ve never heard of Orbetello, it’s a fairly big town on Tuscany’s Argentario Coast. Its claim to fame and the reason I love it is that’s it’s smack bang in the middle of its namesake lagoon with water on either side.
There is nothing small about Orbetello. It actually ranks in the top five for Tuscany’s most visited towns. Tourists flock to the gorgeous beaches mostly, but there’s plenty to see and do as the weather cools and I’m chuffed to share it all with you!
Orbetello has Etruscan and Roman roots, but unless you’re an extremely dedicated wannabe archaeologist and feel like rooting around the peripheries looking for odd shaped rocks in the city wall (proof of ancient settlements), Orbetello’s charm is its lagoon atmosphere, amazing autumn weather and bird watching possibilities.
I love visiting Orbetello this time of year simply because the weather is a least a few degrees warmer than inland Maremma. Giulio and I started our weekend away with a walk around the designated path that skims the lagoon and offers up some amazing views of the surrounding coastline.
Orbetello is home to a slightly out of place colony of flamingos. We didn’t see any. I’m no ornithologist, but it might be the wrong season. The local tourist information centre would know more.
You don’t really need to do anything more than walk the length and breadth of Orbetello’s Corso Italia to fall in love with the town. Unlike a lot of Southern Tuscany, Orbetello was ruled briefly by the Spanish and its architecture still bears flourishes of their flamboyant style.
If you’re keen to discover more about Orbetello’s ancient past, head to the local museum, whose star is the very famous Frontone di Talamone, an elaborate series of sculptures that once adorned an Etruscan temple.
Orbetello is known nationally for two things: eel and bottarga (or cured cod roe poach). The former is smoked and seasoned with onions, vinegar and chilli, while the latter is a curious orange block that’s as hard as rock and is grated over spaghetti that’s been dressed simply in olive oil. You can try both at I Pescatori, my favourite restaurant in Orbetello.
Giulio and I were guests of the Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, a gorgeous hotel perched in the hills above Orbetello. The 5-star hotel is probably best known for its sprawling golf course. We didn’t play because we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves! But we did have a gorgeous time admiring the grounds. The hotel has been built with reduced environmental impact in mind. It blends in with its surroundings and the scent of rosemary from a thousand bushes is intoxicating.
Inside the decor is very stylish and surprising modern. I particularly liked the raw wool poufs in the lobby and took a million photos so I could try to replicate them. I also tried to make off with the pig-shaped coffee tables in the dining room!
Speaking of pigs, Giulio and I went a little overboard at breakfast. It was hard not to. The was four or five different cheeses with jams, honey, eggs a million ways, organic and locally sourced products, bacon, different types of breads and cereals and an entire table dedicated to desserts including brownies and cheesecake. Pair this with fresh juices and coffee and you’ll understand why Giulio and I could barely walk afterwards, let alone play golf!
But the highlight was actually the resort’s spa. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to use it. Entry is €40 and you can spent all day in the separate men and women’s Turkish baths and saunas, as well as the indoor and outdoor pools and sundecks.
The weather looks menacing in these photos, but it was actually really warm!
This post is in collaboration with the Argentario Golf Resort & Spa.
This post first appeared on www.mymaremmatuscany.com