It seems you really like lists! So we decided to continue our series “10 small towns near…” and today we go to the small towns surrounding Grosseto.
1. Massa Marittima
Massa Marittima is the main centre of the metal-bearing hills of the Grosseto area with an ancient history and a great artistic heritage. Thanks to this and to the fact that it is perched on a panoramic hill and enclosed by a very well preserved city wall, the Italian Touring Club awarded Massa Marittima with the Orange Flag, the tourism quality mark dedicated to small inland villages with particular characteristics. The historical town centre has Etruscan origins and is very different from the other villages in Maremma. Narrow streets that climb up and down the hill characterise the town, whose centre is in Piazza Garibaldi, where all the main buildings stand: the Cathedral, the Palazzo Pretorio, the town hall and the marketplace. And don’t forget the Fonti dell’Abbondanza… a real surprise! If you want to visit Massa Marittima during its main event, be sure to be there for the Balestro del Girifalco. To read more about Massa Marittima and its main sights check out this post: "Massa Marittima: a treasure of Maremma"
2. Magliano in Toscana
Magliano in Toscana is a small medieval town located in the Maremma and sits on the ridge of a hill surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. Magliano has Etruscan origins and ancient defensive walls characterising it, as well as pleasant streets where you can take a walk. The tiny centre features the thirteenth-century Palace of Checco Bello, the church of San Giovanni Battista in Piazza della Repubblica, the Palazzo dei Priori and the church of San Martino. How to arrive and for more information on Magliano in Toscana: "Magliano in Toscana in the heart of the Maremma area"
Manciano, in the Maremma region, is located on the top of a hill and features incredible views, especially on the top of the tower of the Fortezza Aldobrandesca, an imposing crenellated building. Once here, you can visit the medieval church of San Leonardo with valuable works of art and a beautiful fourteenth-century baptismal font, Casa Battiloro and Casa Piazai in Via Roma, the Museum of Prehistory and Early History of the Fiora Valley and many Art Nouveau villas. Don’t forget to visit Saturnia, with its natural hot springs and the charming spot of Cascate del Mulino, as well as the village of Montemerano, where you can still breathe the Middle Ages. Read more about Manciano on Tuscany Arts: "A day-trip to Manciano (and its surroundings!)"
4. Castiglione della Pescaia
Located between blue sea, wetlands (the nature reserve of the Diaccia Botrona) and green hills, Castiglione della Pescaia is both a famous seaside resort and a charming village. We can ideally divide Castiglione della Pescaia into two parts: an upper town and a lower town. The first one is built on a hill facing the sea, and the second one, at the foot of the upper town, consists mostly of coast and sandy beaches. If you happen to be here in the summer, make sure to read this post with plenty of advice about beaches in the area. All year round, though, you can take a walk in the charming town centre surrounded by two different city walls with three entrance gates. There is also a castle that dominates the town, which today is a private property. To read more about Castiglione della Pescaia, have a look at this post: "Castiglione della Pescaia: a beach town in Maremma, Tuscany"
If Scansano sounds familiar to you, I imagine it’s for the tasty and internationally renowned DOCG wine produced in the area. Scansano lies on the top of a hill and is surrounded by a green countryside. As evidenced by the archaeological site in Ghiaccioforte, it dates back to the Etruscans and the Romans. In Scansano you can visit the Museo della Vite e del Vino, the Church of San Giovanni Battista dating back to the 13th century and the archaeological museum. Read more here: "Scansano, charming village in Maremma"
Halfway between Florence and Rome is Pitigliano, a fascinating town with a unique profile dug out of tufa. Pitigliano is also called “Little Jerusalem,” due to the long-standing presence of a Jewish community, as you can see in the ghetto with the synagogue, the Hebrew cemetery, the kosher oven, and more. The town holds many treasures of its ancient past: it still has a defensive system made of walls and gates, a 14th-century fortress near the town’s entrance (Palazzo and Fortress Orsini), the medieval Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, a 16th-century Aqueduct built under the rule of the Medici family and much more. If you love history and trekking, don’t miss Vie Cave, an Etruscan mystery connected to viability but also to worship. Read more in this post: "A day trip to Pitigliano in the heart of Maremma"
Sorano stands in a captivating position on a tufa stone cliff, fortified with walls and refined by Renaissance architecture. Walking around Sorano means to be in a labyrinth of intricate narrow streets and staircases. You can visit the Collegiate Church of St. Niccolò, the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in the hamlet of Sovana, the Jewish Ghetto, Palazzo Orsini and the Orsini Fortress. Don’t miss the archaeological park “Città del Tufo,” the major historical, archaeological, and cultural site of the area. Read more in this post: "Sorano, a medieval hill town dug into the tufa"
8. Santa Fiora
Santa Fiora is a small and charming medieval village in the Mount Amiata, where stone walls, alleys, small churches and original buildings have been well preserved. Here you can see the old seat of local government called Palazzo Sforza Cesarini, the medieval clock tower (“Torre dell’Orologio”), the Parish of St. Flora and St. Lucilla, the most important and famous of the town’s monuments. The main characteristic of Santa Fiora is the Peschiera, a small lake that gathers the waters from the Fiora River. Read more about Santa Fiora and its surroundings here: "12 places to visit in Monte Amiata"
Capalbio is the most southern town of Tuscany, perched on top of a green hill. The town is perfectly preserved and enclosed by walls that you can climb for spectacular views. In Capalbio you can visit the Aldobrandeschi Fortress, follow the path of the ancient patrol along the town walls, visit the Church of San Nicola or just walk through the old narrow streets and admire its beauty. In the surroundings, you can visit the Nature Reserve of the Lake of Burano run by the WWF. Read more about Capalbio and surroundings here: "Capalbio, the most southern town of Tuscany"
10. Monterotondo Marittimo
Monterotondo Marittimo is a medieval town with picturesque alleyways located in the metal-bearing hills (or the Colline Metallifere) among chestnuts woods, geysers and fumaroles. The town conserves the ruins of the ancient castle, the Rocca degli Alberti, dating back to the XII century, and the surroundings of Monterotondo Marittimo also have a lot to offer: the little Romanesque church of St. Croce built in the thirteen century; the coeval Castello minerario di Cugnano, a highly important archaeological site; the ruins of the Bagni del Re Porsenna, a popular thermal baths establishment during the eight century; the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Frassine, a well-known destination point for pilgrims. Don’t miss “Le Biancane” Nature Park, an extraordinary area where the vapour emissions rise from the ground. Read more here: "Le Biancane Nature Park"
Cover image credit: C. D'Aliasi