For those of you that don’t know us I would like to start my post by adding a short paragraph to introduce our project Dolcevia.com.
Dolcevia aims to be the global digital content hub for “made-In-Italy” and “l’Esperienza Italiana”. Dolcevia.com aims to reach people who are in some way involved with Italy and can be defined as “Italianate”. This includes people who have contributed, contribute and will contribute in future to form the country’s image, identity, culture and economy: people who love Italy from all parts of the world, who share the values of Italian culture and lifestyle, who study the language, enjoy the cuisine, arts and fashions. The website is currently only available in Dutch however we hope to be able to create an English version by the end of the year.
Our visit to the Costa Argento of Tuscany was a unique experience which highlighted many of the more unknown tourism destinations along this beautiful and natural Southern coast of Tuscany including the 7 islands.
When I was 15 years old I remember a most excellent summer I spent in a village near the Maremma helping out as a young stable hand on a resort with riding tours in the Maremma region and the national park, obviously most of the horses were that of the famous Maremmano breed, distinct because of their round noses, a significant piece of information for all of you as I am sure you will agree.
Those who have not had the opportunity to visit this area will probably not have felt inclined to pass the extra 2 – 3 hours in the car to reach the outskirts of southern Tuscany. Not going the extra mile you have been depriving your children of the most wonderful experience of snorkeling in pristine clear turquoise waters, which is actually one of those delightful activities you can do with your kids and feel you have given them the best that mother nature can offer as well as it being an educational experience. Imagine also that besides being that ultra cool dad or mum you could actually make the holiday budget stretch that extra mile.
Accommodations along this coast are still fairly inexpensive compared to the region along the coast of jet set hotspot Punta Ala or further inland in Chiantishire.
We felt we should share this with Feel the Breeze of Tuscany as it really is a breeze getting here and enjoying a holiday full of fun watersports, sailing, snorkeling, diving and kiteboarding (probably reserved for the actually cool and fearless parent). If you are feeling in a rather cultural mood there are plently of exciting towns, fortresses which date back many centuries.
The history of Orbetello and Monte Argentario is a interesting and curious story. When the Republic of Siena came to an end in the middle of the sixteenth century it had a seaboard. This included the whole of the Province of Grosseto: Orbetello was one of its forts, and Talamone, Santo Stefano, and Port’Ercole were among its ports. From 1557 to 1713 this part of Italy remained a Spanish State, governed by a Spanish Governor. The son of Charles V named the area a State of the Praesidia.
It’s history is unique in Italy, there were only two other absolute sovereignties at this point in history, there were the States of the Church and the Republic of Venice. However the State of the Spanish Praesidia was a possession of the House of the Spanish Hapsburgs, and there was no other corner of Italian soil which had a precisely similar status. In 1738,Praesidia became an appanage of the Neapolitan King, but while he continued to hold his Kingdom from the Pope, the Praesidia remained a possession of Spain untill the 18th century.
Orbetello, Porto Ercole,Talamone and inland Capalbio are all well worth a visit with fortifications, compact towns of which Capalbio is the most interesting dating back to medieval times, each town can be taken in within an hour except in during the Sagra di Cinghiale (wild boar festival) when you will undoubtedly be inclined to take part in the September festivities celebrating the opening of the hunting season for the wild boar which roam the Maremma. Orbetello is the only significant town for shopping with some interesting small boutiques and a weekly artisans market where you could choose to buy the local organic produce albeit at a equally significant price.
The island of Giglio can be reached with the ferry from Porto Santo Stefano on the Monte Argentario, you could consider taking your car as distances between various places of interest and accommodation are a few miles apart although for the enthusiastic hiker there are trails between the towns which are not considered too grueling. The island is considered the pearl of the 7 islands lining the Tuscan coast. Giglio lies at 15km from the coast of the island of Elba, visible from the shore on a clear day. It’s waters are warm and crystal clear as well as clean and unspoilt making it a popular destination for diving holidays. The island also boasts lovely sandy beaches and rocky coves fit for snorkeling such as the Baia del Sole.
For a map of the area including some tips for accommodation and tourism please click here or view below.