About Tuscany, Maremma and Saturnia
The Southernmost area of Tuscany is known as the Maremma.
Ancient villages perched on distant hills; lush expanses of land face the maritime landscape. The Tyrrhenian sea laps on the coastal districts that – sometime since the 8th century B.C. – used to be the home first of the Etruscans, and later of the Romans.
The intricacies of history and civilization have left their strong imprinting in an area that has gone through many military and political events.
This part of Tuscany, giving an important access to the sea, during the Middle Ages, albeit marshy and unhealthy, became a prey for the ambitions of various rulers.
Eventually, in the 14th century, the feudal families of the Aldobrandeschis and the Orsinis had to surrender to the power of the Republic of Siena. Later it was Siena herself that had to surrender to the House of Medicis. Today, what is left, is an extraordinary heritage that went much unspoilt through the centuries.
The romantic halo that still surrounds the Maremma stems also from its having been a relatively marginal area during the period leading to Italian unification. Brigands and misfits would easily find in the solitary expanses of the Maremma a haven, whereas cow-boys leading their herds away from those dry pastures, would be singing about the "maremma amara" ("bitter Maremma").
In Maremma todays attractiveness of coastal resorts as Monte Argentario, Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole is coupled with the surprising discovery of up-to-date thermal spas that dot the valleys at the foot of Monte Amiata.
Several of Tuscany's most important Etruscan sites are located in this area: Roselle, Saturnia with its hot sulphur springs and the inimitable town of Pitigliano looming above the mountainous cliff face pitted with the caves of former Etruscan tombs.