Castiglione della Pescaia
Castiglione della Pescaia lies between blue sea and green hills. This well-known seaside resort is deservedly popular. It boasts beautiful beaches will all modern-day comforts and thick pine forests that reach Marina di Grosseto and the magnificent Pineta del Tombolo.
For years, it has held the record of the greatest number of visitors in all of the Maremma. This is thanks to the large number and high quality of the accommodations present, port infrastructures and its undeniable beauty. The walled medieval town, complete with towers, gates and a 15th-century castle, is perched on an outcropping of Monte Petriccio.
Originally, to the east of the town, was the antique Lake Prile, an Etruscan possession before it became the Roman Portus Traianus. With the passage of time, the lake began to dry up and was replaced by vast marshlands, which were reclaimed by works done by Grand Duke Leopold.
The nature reserve of the Diaccia Botrona is what remains of that area today. It is considered one of the most important areas of wetlands in Italy with a rare ecosystem of international importance.
HISTORY OF THE TOWN
The town is an ancient fishing village, as its name, Pescaia would indicate. Pleasure boats of all types dock in the picturesque port canal, and every evening fishing boats return with their wriggling catches.
THINGS TO DO
The vast expanse of surrounding vegetation offers refuge to a large and spectacular bird community living in harmony amid a diversified flora. Within the area, it is possible to walk, bike or ride along paved roads or pathways that penetrate the scrub amid pine needles and moss.
The sea is uncontaminated and the long beaches of fine, white sand stretch to the edge of the pine forest. A tourist can easily find everything he wants for sailing, windsurfing and other seaside amusements, and just as easily find secluded beaches for contemplating nature, far from the lively and popular bathing establishments. There are many fascinating spots around Castiglione della Pescaiathat deserve a visit.
Vetulonia is one of the most important Etruscan cities, where one can visit the necropolis and the archeological museum.
The town of Tirli makes it easy to see what life was like in the Maremma of yore. It is famous for its simple and genuine cooking.
The ancient town of Buriano offers a medieval castle and a spectacular view over the Maremma.
About 15 km from Castiglione della Pescaia is Punta Ala. This tourist resort is famous for well appointed bathing establishments, excellent hotels and especially for its modern and fully equipped port, considered one of the best in the Mediterranean.
Castiglione della Pescaia
Parco della Maremma
An Wild Chain of Hills Descending towards the Sea with Sandy Beaches and Cliffs.
Surrounded by marshes, pine woods, cultivated fields and grazing lands.
The Park area, delimited by the railway line Livorno-Rome, stretches along the Tyrrhenian coast from Principina a Mare to Alberese, and up to Talamone. The Park is characterized by important geographical elements such as the last stretch of the river Ombrone, the orographic system of the mountains of the Uccellina which reaches 417 meters of height in Poggio Lecci, the marsh area of the Trappola, and the coast which is both sandy and characterized by steep cliffs.
For more information visit http://www.parco-maremma.it/
Parco della Maremma
Between Castiglione della Pescaia and Grosseto , near the pine forest and the well known and popular beach, is the Diaccia Botrona , an unknown to most and marshy area that for centuries has played a very important role in the history and evolution of the territory ofMaremma . Although much reduced from its original size and besieged towns and crops, it is a piece in the complex mosaic of coastal wetlands, fortunately saved from the process of reclamation.
If a long ponds, swamps and marshes evoked a disturbing world, desolate and scarcely productive, today we are slowly learning to evaluate the richness and importance of these rare ecosystems.
The ability to store large amounts of water in case of heavy rainfall, avoiding the danger of disastrous floods and to recharge the underground water , are for example, only some of the vital functions that they can perform.
The area Diaccia Botrona is one of the most important in Italy, as it possesses a rare and significant ecosystem that is home to an incredible variety of living organisms, both plant and animal. It 'a real " gene bank " that gives a great contribution to the maintenance of the biodiversity of the area.
The origin of the swamp is due to the gradual degradation of a large salt water lagoon.
Originally it has formed a large sand dune that separated the sea from the lagoon while leaving the openings from which continued to filter seawater, this It ensured the health of the lake maintaining the salinity of the water.
the lake has always been of paramount importance both at the time of the Etruscans to the Romans . As inferred from prayer Pro Milone 53 BC between all the misdeeds committed by Clodius stands to having built a villa on an island in the lake Prile in spite of the legitimate owner who had sold the land.
Even in the Middle Ages the lake continues to be an important source of income, it is used to fisheries conducted in fishponds and the other big established wealth from the extraction of salt .
It will be in the sixteenth century that the environmental conditions of the Maremma will suffer very serious damage.
The depopulation of the countryside due to the Black Death and the decision to increase the land for grazing, will determine the abandonment of land by farmers who sustained control rivers and cleaning of soils. The lack of maintenance will be due to the lowering of the water level and their stagnation and the consequent spread of the Anopheles mosquitomalaria.
This involved the need to reclaim the area, great work that was done under the rule of the Lorena .
The reclamation ended definitively between 1950 and 1960 and the Ente Maremma land reform.
Even today in memory of the reclamation period you can visit the " Red House " or " House Ximenes " one of the most representative examples of civil engineering reclamation ancient marshes wanted by the Lorena, and now home to a museum multimedia.
WHEN AND HOW visit
The spring and autumn is definitely the best for visiting not only the Diaccia Botrona but all wetlands in general. At the beginning of the fall season, we are witnessing the gradual departure of migratory birds and to the passage of those who will support in the area for a few days, and then leave and reach the wintering areas further south.
October is one of the prettiest months from the point of view of landscape, as with the rains now and early next winter signals, the marsh vegetation takes on the stunning color tinged red salicornia and purple flowers of Limonium (statice) and Aster .
In the winter months the marsh is animated by a multitude of birds, a paradise for " birdwatchers " which, equipped with a good pair of binoculars, can observe them in their natural environment while feeding, you toelettano, resting or trying to escape a predator.
With l 'arrival of spring begins the new phase of migration; waders, most of the ducks and egrets give way to other species such as the pink flamingos and the knights of Italy.
The marsh echoes everywhere of reed warblers singing, cannareccioni, larks and nightingales river, intent to attract a partners or define their own play area. Particular attention needs to make the visitor in this period, in order to not disturb the animals during the critical reproductive stage; It is therefore appropriate to maintain the edge of the area without addentrarvisi.
The summer is definitely the least appropriate time to visit the Diaccia Botrona: incredibly hot, sultry weather, drought and inclement mosquitoes await anyone who ventures there.
If you manage to overcome these minor inconveniences, perhaps early in the morning or in the evening around sunset, from dell ' Isola Clodia or the Red House you can remain silent in absolute relax listening to the sounds of the marshes, thus discovering the song unusual of the bittern, the rustling of lizards and snakes through the vegetation, or just the breeze blowing through the reeds.
In the near future, the Grosseto Province will to equip the area for tourist enjoyment, organizing paths and regulation of visits; waiting for specific regulations, we recommend to anyone wishing to visit the Diaccia Botrona to maintain an absolute behavior than the environment, does not get dirty, disturbing the animals, light fires and damage vegetation picking flowers or taking seedlings that, outside of their habitat, they would have little chance of surviving.
San Galgano and the sword in the stone: King Arthur in Tuscany
Was this myth born in Tuscany? We might never know the answer, but this splendid abbey is home to an historic sword that brings to mind ancient knightly tales
From "Slowtuscany": Stories about Tuscany by Damiano Andrei
Translation by: Andrea Brown, Giovanna Novelli, Munmun Gosh
About forty kilometers (25 miles) south-east of Siena towards Grosseto in an isolated valley among Siena's hills, lies an antique Medieval Cistercense Abbey, now desecrated and partly in ruins. About ten minute walking up the hill of Montesiepi there is a small, circular chapel where one of the most fascinating and mysterious relics of the entire region of Tuscany is kept: the sword in the stone of Saint Galgano. A jagged piece of rock protrudes from the center of the tile floor of the chapel and in it lies the famous sword. Thecross-shaped sword has been proven to date back to 1170. In the chapel there are even some frescos from the 1300's which depict the chapel itself. The sight, to say the least, is evocative and immediately brings to mind the well-known legend of King Arthur and his sword in the stone.
That's not a coincidence. Now lets look at the history of the events.Galgano was a young knight born a few kilometers from the city of Siena, in Tuscany in the year 1147. The legend says that one night Galgano had a vision of the archangel Michael. The archangel was guiding him down a narrow and difficult path to Montesiepi where he was eventually greeted by the twelve apostles in front of a circular-shaped temple. Galgano interpreted this vision to be a sign of the divine wish of God. In fact, some time later this isolated place became his new and definitive residence as a hermit. History tells us that he went to the hill of Montesiepi, abandoned his past as a knight and drove his sword into a stone. The sword was driven so deeply, and with such great force, that only the handle, appearing in the shape of a cross, remained visible on the surface of the stone.
That sword is still there and has served as a symbol of an incorruptible conversion for the last 800 years. Aside from the utter amazement of the sword, there is another extraordinary aspect to this story. This is the possibility that the myth of the sword in the stone, known for being tied to the saga of Britain's King Arthur, could have originated right here in Tuscany and later have been exported to France to become the famous legend of King Arthur. Some factors make this hypothesis a plausible reality. Both the Cistercense Abbey and the chapel dedicated to Saint Galgano are of the same time period of King Arthur's tomb in Glastonbury.
This discovery must have resonated throughout Europe. From history we know that the "Cistercense" Monks were the key divulgers of King Arthur's story. We must ask ourselves if the Monks were responsible for dispersing the echo of Arthur's legend in Tuscany or rather, was the story born in Tuscany and later adopted into Britain's history. Before leaving you I'd like to remind you about some 15th century's paintings by Taddeo di Bartolo which are kept in the National Museum in Pisa, depicting the life of Saint Galgano.