The long sandy shore runs from Punto Ala to Castiglione della Pescaia and Marina di Grosseto and continues beyond Principina a Mare to the wild coves of Marina di Alberese in the Maremma National Park. It is coastline is among the most beautiful and best known in the province. Here, isolated and completely untouched beaches alternate with the best equipped, able to satisfy any need without sacrificing any of the pleasure of direct contact with nature. The seaside offers diversions of every age. In addition to snack bars, restaurants and bathing establishments, you can find facilities and equipment for all types of water sports from windsurfing and canoeing schools to sailing centres. In addition, there are also facilities for a wide range of other recreational activities. The coast, and extraordinary marriage between ladn and sea, with its genuine and unspoiled historic and environmental values, is a choice destination for sailors. An ideal climate, the safety of the ports and the proven efficiency of the facilities and services on land, allow all year round sailing and the exitement of competitions among some of the best-known names in international sailing. Each spring the sailing organize important events that provide an inviting prelude to a splendid vacation in these beautiful and much praised waters. There are three ports available to “those who take to the sea”. Punta Ala is the most famous tourist port in the Mediterranean thank to its internationally recognized state of the art facilities. The canal-harbour in Castiglione della Pescaia is well protected from all winds, well equipped and a pleasant port of call below the lively and popular town. The new port in Marina di Grosseto has recently been rebuilt and enlarged with efficient and modern facilities.
NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT
The Maremma Nature Park can be reached bith from Alberese and from Talamone and includes a number of different itineraries. The Park's fascination lies in the diversity of its environments. In the marshy zone, the last example of the swamps that were typical of the Maremma countryside, flora and fauna live in perfect balance. Rare birds such as the Black-winged Stilt and the Mallard live here as well as migratory birds of all types and unique plants like the wild orchid. The pine forest in Alberese and the Monti dell'Uccellina constitute an uncontaminated hillside environment covered by thick Mediterranean scrub, including the strawberry tree and the mastic tree. Fragrant bushes like heather and rosemary grow in the occasional clearings and rare dwarf palms cling to the rocks. You regularly see horses and Maremma cattle grazing and its not unusual to spot wild boar, deer and roe deer in the area. And finallym there are the splendid beaches with all their wild fascination unmarred. From Principina a Mare to Alberese and on to Cala di Forno the coast is a long line of beaches, with many untouched stretches of dunes covered with white lilies and other native plants. Another important factor in the Park is anthropological. The prehistoric finds from various caves demonstrate that area was settled in the very distant past. Remains from an Etruscan settlement have been ascertained at the port in Talamone. The Roman presence is more widely represented by the ruins of the Ponte del Diavolo on the left bank of the Ombrone and the remains of a villa on the southern slopes of the Monti dell'Uccellina. However, the most significant remains are certainly the watchtowers constructed during the Sienese dominion for defence against the Saracen invasions. There are seven left standing: Trappola, Castelmarino, Collelungo, Uccellina, Cala di Forno, Bella Marsilia and Cannelle. On the eastern side of the Monti dell'Uccellina chain is the San Rabano Abbey. Here, the meeting with man's past is even mora amazing. This imposing religious monument, founded in the 11th century by Benedectine monks, is a splendid example of Romanesque architecture with ornamental freezes and capitals marvellously inserted into a beautiful natural environment. A work of human intelligence, that stands as an oasis in the park's untamed panorama of scrub, mountains and swamps. The Azienda Agricola Regionale di Alberese (The Alberese Regional Agriculture Concern) has worked within the Park for more than twenty years. The enterprise covers over 4.200 hectares including areas left as wood as and marshes and others used as pastures or cultivated in olive trees, vineyards and grain. Organic planting, in addition to that for wine and oil, is directed toward the production of organically raised meat from Maremma free-range calves fed entirely with fodder produced by the concern itself. The Azienda also boasts of an artistic and architectural heritage that has been improved and restored: the Villa Granducale, used as its official seat; the San Rabano Abbey; the Collelungo tower; the Lorraine Storehouses in Sergolaia where various types of agricultural machinery from the 19th century are on exhibit. Not only history is preserved, but also tradition. The “buttero” or cowboy's skill has been included by the Tuscan Regional government among the ancient jobs at risk of disappearing. Traditionally the buttero has always cared for the cattle raised on the range in this area comprising wide, open spaces, rocky slopes and marshes. And today, as before, the few remaining butteri follow the herd throughout the year, check the pastures, train horses, maintain the stalls and fencing and personally take care of their equipment, saddles and harnesses, as they're also skilled at working leather.
Provincial Nature Reserve Diaccia Botrona
The Diaccia Botrona Reserve is one of the most important wetlands in Italy. In 1991, it was officially recognized by the Ramsar Convention for its international value. It is located next to the pine grove and beach in Castiglione della Pescaia and is an extended marshy area, residue of the ancient Lake Pile. Today it presents a tessera in a complex mosaic of costal wetland areas saved from the process of reclamation. This Nature Reserve protects rare ecosystems and hosts an incredible variety of living organisms, both vegetable and animal. These important “genetic banks”, when preserved and cared for, contribute to maintaining biodiversity and protecting these delicate and magnificent natural enironments. At the edge of the marsh there is a wonderful construction that served to regulate the flow of water between the swamp and the nearby sea. It was built in 1795 and was known as Casa Ximenes or also Casa Rossa (Red House) because of the colour of the plaster. Today it houses a museum that explains the background of the Reserve with a special multimedia room where you can observe the entire area by means of three stationary video cameras that broadcast live.
Texts and photos are property of APT Maremma