This itinerary in Maremma, the southern coastal area of Tuscany and its inland, contains suggestions for things to see from art parks to etruscan tombs, but also thermal baths and beautiful beaches. I've called it "Weekend in Maremma" but there's enough here for a long weekend or even a whole week, especially if you like to alternate cultural activities with lying on the beach like I do! So rather than provide a strict order in which to visit these locations of interest I'm just providing some information for each.
Artists' parks and sculpture gardensNiki de Saint Phalle Garden" on TuscanyArts. Daniele Spoerri sculpture garden" on TuscanyArts.
Giardino di Piero Bonacina "Arte a Parte"This art garden is open on demand - stop by the tourist office in Castel del Piano and ask when/if it's open, or phone/email them (firstname.lastname@example.org). The various sculptures by Bonacina are inspired by his worldwide travels.
Etruscan tombs and townsThe whole of Maremma is rich in Etruscan heritage. There are two main items of interest related to this period: tombs and other ruins, and the "vie cave", and the tuff towns. I already wrote about the Vie Cave near Sovana - roads dug out of the tuff (tufa) stone with very tall walls. We don't know the purpose of these roads so they remain a rather attractive enigma. Close-by there's the tuff town of Pitigliano, while the geographically similar Vetulonia is at the other side of Maremma. (At Vetulonia they recently discovered a whole etruscan Domus, or house! and lots of other tombs are being discovered every month.) The World Monuments fund is working to preserve these towns because they are particularly subject to erosion:
The towns of Pitigliano, Sorano, & Manciano lie balanced on the crests of steep Italian hills, built into the tufa (or tuff) bedrock, a soft stone formed from volcanic ash. In the 6th century BC, Etruscans settlements were arrayed along these hilltops, providing ample defense positions above highly arable land. The area has since undergone several impressive periods of building; most of the surviving architecture in the hilltop towns dates from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Unfortunately, the soft tuff stone has deteriorated over the centuries and many of the buildings have been destabilized. Natural erosion from wind, rain, and normal climate cycles has also caused landslides. A full 10% of the town of Sorano has disappearedThere are assorted tombs and other remains dotting the entire landscape, so I haven't added them all to the map (it'd be impossible). However, any time you see a brown sign with an archaeological symbol, I suggest you follow it. Sometimes all you find at the other end is an overgrown hole in the ground, but the fun is precisely in the adventure of discovering them for yourself. On the other hand, I've already written in detail about the archaeological site at Roselle, which was an extensive Etruscan and Roman town. There are also examples of Romanesque architecture in this area, mostly in ruins, and I have yet to visit them properly and write about them. Luckily Gloria of At Home in Tuscany is a real Maremma local who loves explorig her area so she has written about two of these - the Ardengheschi Abbey and the better known San Galgano (with the famous sword in the rock, spada nella roccia).