Grosseto is the biggest city in the Maremma area of Tuscany in the southern part of the region and lies 14 kilometres from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Grosseto is ancient in origin dating to the Early Middle Ages, and then grew in importance until it became one of the most important cities in Tuscany. Between the 12th and 15th century, Siena, Florence and the Spanish dominated Grosseto, but it was under the Medici family that the city was transformed into a fortress. In 1574, defensive walls began to be built and they are still well maintained today, while the area was drained and road networks started to take shape. Later, Grosseto flourished under the Lorraine rule.
Today, Grosseto is a beautiful city surrounded by a green plain, and walking along its streets among the monuments you cover twelve centuries of history. A trip to Grosseto would not be complete without visiting the fortified walls. Let’s stop there first before discovering all the other main spots.
- The hexagonal 16th century wall dominated by the impressive Medici Fortress was built in 1574, replacing those from the 12–14th centuries. Once built to defend the city, they now form a pleasant tree-lined walk used as a public park and walking area. To find out more about the city walls of Grosseto, read this post.
- The Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Romanesque style with an abundant collection of artwork. Its construction began at the end of the 13th century and finished in the 15th century. It has a Latin cross plan, a distinctive façade of alternate layers of white and black marble that is Romanesque in style, a bell tower built in 1402 on the left side facing north and reworked in 1911, and a right side facing south that looks out on to Piazza Dante characterized by a Roman column, topped with a composite Corinthian capital, used in medieval times to post public notices.
- The Church of San Francesco is situated in the square of the same name and dates to the Middle Ages. Before Benedictine and later Franciscans, the complex underwent several restorations. The interior houses the famous Crucifix by Duccio di Boninsegna.
- The Maremma Museum of Archaeology and Art deserves a visit as it houses important paintings and archaeological finds. It is one of the most important collections of Etruscan artefacts and occupies three floors of the old court building in the centre of Grosseto. It is divided into five sections, containing Etruscan cinerary urns and pottery; an exhibition dedicated to the ancient town of Roselle; another section dedicated to archaeology in the Grosseto area; a part dedicated to sacred art; and the last one dedicated to medieval archaeology in Maremma and Grosseto.
- The Church of San Pietro is the oldest religious building in Grosseto and was originally a plebeian church along the old consular road.
- The Palazzo Aldobrandeschi is medieval in origin, but was almost entirely rebuilt in the early 19th century. It is now a neo-Gothic edifice that houses the Province of Grosseto.
- Piazza Dante is the main square in Grosseto and hosts the Canapone monument, a sculpture dedicated to the Grand Duke Leopold II of Lorraine located in the centre of the square.