Discovering a genuine and still unexplored land, full of archaeological treasures and incomparable natural heritage
Arrival, meet & greet in the hotel.
We start with a sightseeing tour of Grosseto: the historic centre with Corso Carducci, the main street, and the beautiful Duomo (San Lorenzo’s Cathedral) with its recently discovered underground tunnels; Piazza Dante Alighieri, Palazzo Aldobrandeschi and the statue of Canapone, a tribute to Duke Leopold II and his family, the Habsburg-Lorrain, who strongly invested in the modernization of this land from the second half of the XVIII century; then San Francesco’s Church with its graceful cloister; the impressive walls of the city and its 6 ramparts, dating back to the Sienese and Medici Times, among which majestically stands out the Sienese Donjon.
We proceed visiting MAAM (Archaeological and Sacred Art Museum of the Maremma), a basic stop to retrace back the whole history of Maremma: from prehistory and the birth of the Etruscan cities until the modern age, passing through the Roman and the Middle Ages period. Inside the museum the main section is dedicated to the largest archaeological center of the territory, that is Roselle.
We will spend the morning visiting the archaeological site of Roselle: the Etruscan “locumonia” was founded at the end of the Iron Age. First conquered by Romans in 294 B.C, it became an Episcopal seat in 1138. The choice of this area as a fixed settlement was not accidental: the elevated position helped defending and controlling the underlying territories up to the plain of Grosseto, formerly occupied by the lake Prile. Walking through the ruins (the Necropolis, the Domus of Mosaics, the Amphitheater, ecc.), one can clearly observe the overlapping of all the historical periods.
In the afternoon, we will visit a farm to discover the ancient traditions of Maremma: leaded by an expert, we will visit the olive grove, the open air museum of the old agricultural tools, the old mill and several animals. Ponies will be available too, especially for children’s fun!
The whole day will be dedicated to the discovery of this magical place, extremely rich, not only with many examples of Mediterranean flora and fauna, but also with historical and artistic monuments as well as several tales and legends, that will fascinate young and old people!
Departure for Vetulonia: located on the north-western shore of the former lake Prile, in front of the hill of Roselle, this ancient and powerful city, part of the Etruscan Dodecapolis and traces of which are completely lost, is nowadays a small and picturesque village of Maremma.
Here we will first visit the prestigious Etruscan Museum and then walk down along the Via dei Sepolcri, the Necropolis Area where the famous monumental tombs of Belvedere, Pietrera, Diavolino and Fibula d’oro are located: these tombs date back to the VII-VI century B.C. and during the excavations real treasures were discovered, such as masterpieces of goldsmiths, Oriental vases, helmets, shields, spears, statues and gold and silver coins bearing the ancient name Vattl (Vattluna was the Etruscan name of this place).
Later we proceed to Castiglione della Pescaia and have a short guided tour of this small village, which is considered the authentic jewel of the Maremman coast.
The afternoon will be dedicated to visiting the Diaccia-Botrona Natural Reserve: with its thousand hectares it is considered the most significant Italian wetland; it owns an extraordinary ecosystem, which hosts an incredible variety of living microorganisms, both plant and animal, that is a real “genetic bank” which gives a great contribution in maintaining the biodiversity of the area.
Inside the oasis stands a red building, which seems to ignite at sunset contrasting with the blue of the sky: it is the Casa Ximenes , also known as the “Red House”: it was built by the Jesuit engineer Leonardo Ximenes in 1765 as part of a huge process of reclaiming of this territory. He provided it with several technological structures such as gates, bulkheads and various gears that are still present, although not used nowadays. Today the Red House is also the seat of an interactive museum: on the first floor an original documentary, integrated with a three-dimensional projection, clearly shows how the current environment is the result of both natural evolution and human interventions. On the second floor, visitors can do bird-watching activities on a panoramic terrace.
Possibility of excursion on traditional boats.
Full day visit of the southern coast of the province of Grosseto, mostly occupied by the promontory of Monte Argentario, and excursion by boat to the isles Giglio and Giannutri (available from 20 July to 13 September).
Possibility of lunch on board, relaxing breaks for individual bathing activities and guided tour of the villages.
Leaving the province of Grosseto in southerly direction, we meet along the way a wide green area, a park of exceptional charm, unique in the world, one of the most important examples of environmental art in Italy: it is the Tarot Garden, built by the eclectic French artist Niki De Saint Phalle in the late 1970s. With its huge sculptures (up to 15 meters) dedicated to each symbol of tarots, the garden is a real open-air museum, a world halfway between dream and reality.
We end the tour with a guided excursion in Capalbio: this is a small village which keeps its ancient medieval layout substantially intact. Following the walls, one can fully walk along the ancient patrol path, enjoying a really suggestive view on the surrounding countryside. Over the years, Capalbio has become a destination for elite tourism, thanks to the charming atmosphere that reigns in the narrow streets of the village and the beautiful beaches of Chiarone, Macchiatonda and La Torba.
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Guided tour of Massa Marittima, a town rich in medieval artistic remains, even if its origins are probably Etruscan. The small roads that cross the hill lead to a magical place, where the harmony of the architectural lines amazes, surprises and makes you contemplate.
Visit of the elegant historic center and of the famous Duomo, the San Cerbone’s Cathedral, whose architectural hazard is simply brilliant: the effect created by the church violates the usual architectural perspectives, creating a unique example in the world.
Do not miss the entrance to the Museum of Sacred Art, where the stunning masterpiece Majesty of Ambrogio Lorenzetti is conserved from 1335 and a short visit to the Museum of the Organs, which will not disappoint even the most demanding visitors!
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