Maremma, off the beaten track TuscanyNicola
The majestic surroundings of lush Maremma is the best of both worlds. A peaceful patch of Etruscan memory and medieval Borgo villages, not overdone, nor too touristic. In between the sea, ‘off the beaten track Tuscany’, a mere 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Rome.
Maremma is the gem that brings you the magic of the Tarot Gardens by Niki de Saint Phalle, a French sculptor and painter inspired by Picasso and Gaudi who befriended Salvador Dali, with whom she collaborated. A wondrous maze of 21 sculptures made from mosaics and ceramics channeling the essence of the deck of the Tarot, as if you have jumped into in an escalating dream of magic colour and mosaic. The originality is a brave window into this artist’s world which is mindblowing.
Niki de Saint Phalle actually spent a few months living, with a diamante oven and a dining table made out of Tarot cards. While the bathroom has a dinosaur living in it! Nothing like this jaw dropping giant jewellery box of a garden exists elsewhere. The fact that she lived within the confines of a mosaic cabin in the midst of her very own wonderland is unique.
Beautiful nearby towns to visit on your to do list, would be Capalbio, Pittiligiano, Saturnia, Morellino, Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano, and there is the whole of the Natural Park of Tuscany to explore. There is so much to see in Tuscany, but the Maremma is a good place to start.
Pittigliano is a great option to meander around medieval lanes on a weekend, and the 13th century Palazzo Orsini doesn’t disappoint. Rich in both Etruscan and medieval history, it is also known for it’s Jewish culture, so there is a Jewish museum, a synagogue, and a bakery. Try the local dolce (sweet), a stick of sfratto, a delicious sticky mix of honey and walnuts. This would taste even better washed down with a glass of the local Bianco di Pittigliano.
When is the best time to visit? Anytime, but if you love Tuscan wine, there is the Morellino di Scansano wine festival going on throughout the autumn.
Maremma has beautiful beaches and Porto Ercole is one of our favourites.
Porto Ercole has a sea promenade lined with fishermen’s cottages, and along the coast there are both sandy and rocky beaches. To fully enjoy the coast of Porto Ercole, it is a good idea is to rent a raft or a small boat so you can explore the many coves and choose the one you prefer. You can choose between Acqua Fresca, Spiaggia Lunga, Le Viste and La Feniglia.
Want to make the most of a Tuscan mini break? Why not book a tailor made tour and discover more with Italy’s Best.