Rocca Aldobrandesca ruins, Sovana

View of Montalcino

Pienza in the springtime

A street cafe in Arezzo

Sunset in Siena

Val d'Orcia, central hilltop towns region

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Discover the Best of Maremma

Our book covers hundreds of locations within Tuscany.

Here is a sample of some of our favorites places in Maremma:

Three of our favorite places to visit in Maremma

Sovana

Sovana is a tiny village just northwest of Pitigliano. Until several years ago, this town was very old and deserted, almost a ghost town. Sovana has recently been revitalized as an artist community and a tourist destination. Although North Americans do not typically venture to this special corner of Tuscany, it is becoming increasingly popular with Italians and other European tourists.

Sovana is a one-street town, with shops and restaurants lining the Via di Mezzo capped on one end of town by the Duomo and on the other by the ruins of Aldobrandeschi castle (pictured below).

Sovana captures a characteristic essence of this region of Tuscany. The town, despite its small size, has two wonderful restaurants, a beautiful little square, two churches worth seeing, nearby Etruscan tombs, and the ruins of a once-magnificent castle. Sovana is also a fun place to stay. It is easy to get in and out of Sovana by car and if you are staying in Sovana, once you park your car, you can easily walk to your hotel and any of the recommended shops and restaurants.

Bolgheri

The quintessentially Tuscan avenue leading into Bolgheri from the Via Aurelia (SP 39) and San Guido, over 5 km long, is lined on both sides by more than 2,500 beautiful old cypress trees. Immortalized by the poet Giosuè Carducci (who in 1906 was the first Italian to be awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature), the roadway known to the locals as “Cypress Avenue” is highly picturesque and not to be missed.

Bolgheri is situated in the epicenter of this region’s superior wine production. Here you will find some of the most highly regarded vineyards in the world, including those that produce Sassicaia, Masseto and other Super Tuscan wines.

Pitigliano

Pitigliano is one of the most dramatic hill towns in all of Tuscany. The view of Pitigliano at night is a particularly exhilarating and memorable sight. Illuminated, the town appears to arise out of the darkness like some golden medieval kingdom. A trip to Pitigliano would be incomplete without viewing this spectacular sight.

Pitigliano owes its unique character to its geology. Pitigliano is a medieval village arising high above the surrounding countryside on an outcrop of tufa. Tufa is volcanic rock formed from a consolidation of volcanic ash formed as a result of the volcanic eruptions of nearby Vulci (now Lake Bolsensa), a prehistoric volcano whose last major eruption giving rise to the Tufa Area dates back 300,000 years ago.

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Three of our favorite restaurants in Maremma

Although Maremman food is essentially Tuscan food, there are a few regional differences. Maremman food is generally more rustic because of its agricultural history of impoverished subsistence. The food is simple but genuine, based on locally sourced meat, fish, cheese, dairy and seasonally based fruits, vegetables and herbs.

The two distinct regions of Maremma – the inland Tufa Area and coastal Marittima – each have their own distinct cuisine. The inland Tufa Area is characterized by wild game, vegetables, cheese, truffles and cured pork, whereas coastal Marittima is characterized by its fish and seafood.

Ristorante Bracali

Probably our favorite restaurant in all of Italy, Ristorante Bracali is an elegant, formal restaurant run by up-and-coming young chef Francesco Bracali and his stylish brother Luca. The restaurant is unassuming on the outside and it is easy to miss.

A family-run restaurant, Ristorante Bracali has evolved over the years from an enoteca into a well renowned world-class restaurant with two Michelin stars. All food is carefully prepared in a spotless modern kitchen by an experienced staff. Wine pairings are the specialty of Luca, who pays particular attention to wines from the Marittima.

Here you will truly enjoy Tuscan cuisine at its very best, in a private, elegant and refined setting with food prepared by a top chef who, though largely self-taught, has earned two Michelin stars through remarkable dedication, creativity and a true passion for his craft.

Address: Via di Perolla 2, Ghirlanda, Massa Marittima 58020

Da Caino

Da Caino is a small gem of a restaurant with fabulous food and warm and welcoming service. Although this is a top-notch, refined restaurant, it has a relaxed, small-town atmosphere that is never cloying or stuffy. The softly-lit dining room is elegant but spare, with wooden beams, a central fireplace, beautiful candelabra, fine linens and sparkling porcelain and glassware.

The restaurant is owned by a husband-and-wife team, with owner Maurizio Menichetti managing the front of the house and serving as sommelier and his wife, Valeria Piccini, serving as chef. Valeria is one of the most highly regarded chefs in Italy and an honorary member of Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe.

Da Caino’s food is exciting, flavorful and succulent. You can either choose the tasting menu or order à la carte.

Address: Via della Chiesa 4, Montemerano 58050

La Pineta

La Pineta is, in our view, one of the most pleasurable restaurants in Tuscany. Located right on the beach in Marina di Bibbona and almost impossible to find without proper GPS coordinates, this gem of a seafood restaurant should not be missed. Though located at the end of a dirt road and somewhat ramshackle in appearance from the outside, it is a true destination restaurant.

This is Mediterranean Tuscany at its best. There’s hardly anything better than watching the sun set over the Tyrrhenian Sea while sipping a glass of some of the local wine and waiting for your scrumptious seafood feast to arrive.

Address: Via dei Cavalleggeri Nord 27, Marina di Bibbona 57020


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Three of our favorite places to stay in Maremma

Relais Sant’Elena

Located on a beautiful country estate of 580 hectares just 3 km due north of the Bolgheri wine country and 10 km inland from the coast, Relais Sant’Elena is a welcoming and comfortable bed and breakfast. It offers Tuscan charm with modern amenities, having recently been fully renovated..

Address: Via Campo di Sasso, Bibbona 57020

Tenuta Il Sassone

Tenuta Il Sassone is a splendid country resort on 500 acres where the surrounding lands provide habitat to many types of wildlife. Set on a hillside in a remote country location (but only a short drive to the Mediterranean coast), the property offers exceptional views that are particularly wonderful at night, when a million stars seem to fill the night sky. Il Sassone is virtually unknown to Americans but highly favored by Italians and other Europeans, who frequently come here for weeks at a time.

Address: Tenuta Il Sassone 23, Località Poggio Curzio, Massa Marittima 58024

Saturnia Tuscany Hotel

Saturnia Tuscany Hotel is a modern 39-room hotel set in a beautiful country setting between Montemerano and Saturnia. This is a full-service hotel with a wellness center, spa, restaurant, bar, bicycle rental, garden and swimming pools.

Saturnia Tuscany Hotel caters to bicyclists, including elite-level competitors, and is one of the leading bike hotels in Europe. It has a variety of top-notch carbon fiber road and mountain bikes available for rent at very reasonable prices as well as a full-time, professional bike mechanic on staff.

Address: Strada Marco Pantani, Località Poggio Murella, Manciano 58014


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One of our favorite wineries in Maremma

Although fine wines are produced throughout Marittima, the Bolgheri denomination has become synonymous with preeminent wines. Known affectionately by the local vintners as “La Piccola Bordeaux dell’Italia,” this corner of Tuscany is home to the legendary Sassicaia from Tenuta San Guido, the extraordinary Masseto from Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and the fabulous Lupicaia from Castello del Terriccio.  Maremma is truly a wine lovers’ delight!

Petra Winery

Petra is a masterpiece of contemporary architecture designed by Vittorio Moretti (president of the Terra Moretti group of companies, which includes a firm that has designed and built 122 wineries) in collaboration with the renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta (who also designed the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art).

A tour of this winery is a must for anyone interested in modern architecture, advanced wine production and environmentally sound agricultural techniques.

Petra’s flagship wines are its Petra Rosso (a 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot mix) and Quercegobbe (100% Merlot).

Address: Località San Lorenzo Alto 131, Suvereto 57028

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