GUIDE-TO-fiora-valley2

I’m always getting emails from people who want to see all the Maremma, but don’t have the time. What are the unmissable sights? they ask me. Well, all of it, but if I had to choose, the Fiora Valley.

Okay, so maybe I’m biased because it’s my home. I live in Manciano, the ‘business’ hub of the Fiora Valley and I’m surrounded by some seriously spectacular towns. Here are ones you can’t miss:

Montemerano

montemerano

One of Italy’s official ‘most beautiful towns’, Montemerano isn’t much to look out from the outside, but don’t let that fool you. Its medieval heart is a menagerie of lovingly preserved palazzos and flower-filled piazzas. I think people are blown away by just how quaint Montemerano is. You don’t expect to find such a serene and humbly beautiful town in Italy anymore. You’ll feel like you’re the only tourist to have discovered it.

top sight: The wall-to-wall frescoes of the Chiesa di San Giorgio

best eats: Passaparola with its homemade pasta and wild boar mains

SATURNIA-PORTA-ROMANA

saturnia

My personal favourite and purportedly the oldest city in Italy. I’m not going to mention the hot springs because if you haven’t heard of them already then you’ve been living under a rock. I love Saturnia because it embraces its Roman and Etruscan roots. I’ve never seen another Tuscan town that so fully breathes its antiquity. You can’t walk far in Saturnia without stumbling across relics that are millennia old.

top sight: the Roman burial tombstones in the main piazza

best eats: I Due Cippi, pricy, but perfectly placed to people watch

Sovana

sovana

Since so few people live in Sovana, it has the look of a movie set without a flower bud out of place. In the past, Sovana held serious artistic clout and was a haven for poets, musicians and artists. The town remains that way today with plenty of artisans producing gorgeous ceramics and dyed silks.

top sight: il Duomo with its columns carved with Biblical scenes

best eats: Osteria dell’Oro pushing the boundaries with its olive oil ice cream

Photo: Jane Drumsara via Flickr
Photo: Jane Drumsara via Flickr

pitigliano

The golden child of the Maremma. You can’t write anything about Southern Tuscany without mentioning her and her majestic tufo buildings. The town is carved out of its rocky cliff so you don’t know where the manmade ends and nature begins. Pitigliano is more beautiful on the outside than within, so make sure you get plenty of pictures, but the town has some amazing shops.

top sight: The Jewish ghetto

best eats: Il Tufo Allegro – an old hand that makes Maremman classics

2 thoughts on “The best of the Fiora Valley

  1. Ruth says:

    I’m very happy to have found your blog! We will be visiting the Maremma area in early November. I am of Italian descent -100% and it is my first time visiting Italia. We always travel “off the beaten path” and I’m extremely excited about this travel, as you can imagine.

    Is is easy to find small bed and breakfasts–the mama and papa type?

    We are avid hikers, nature, food and wine lovers!

    Grazie,
    Ruth

  2. Elisa Scarton Detti says:

    Hi Ruth. Thanks! Most of the B&Bs and in the Maremma are mum & dad types. When you book, be sure to pick one that has its own vineyard and olive oil grove. Not only will you be able to, usually, have tasting sessions on site, but it’s likely they’ll produce other treats too like jams and honey. If you love nature and hiking, don’t miss the Parco della Maremma – one of the most spectacular nature parks in Tuscany with plenty of walking itineraries and history to keep you busy! All the best, Elisa

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