Waters warmed by volcanic rocks and countryside roamed by Italian cowboys can be found in the lesser known Tuscan regions of Maremma and Saturnia. Italian blogger, Italo Rizzo, reports back in this travel info post…
Tuscany is a sought-after destination due to its masterpieces of art, its stunning landscapes (which inspired many Renaissance painters) and its enogastronomic delicacies. What many people don’t know however is that Tuscany is a perfect destination for a 100% relaxation holiday, as it is a region full of thermal baths and quiet, lesser visited places. In other words, this region doesn’t end with Florence and Siena, but has many surprises in store for curious travellers.
Where is Maremma?
The Maremma is an area comprising part of southwestern Tuscany and part of northern Lazio. I visited the Maremma Grossetana, a land where the ancient traditions of past times have survived. For example, have you ever heard about Italian cowboys? They are called butteri, cattle breeders who populated Maremma until the last century. Now you can see some butteri during the demonstrations held in the rural towns around the Maremma national park. On the first Sunday of August there is a butteri annual festival in Maremma, an event that celebrates the skills of these cowboys, as they compete against one another in games which test their ability.
Exploring Maremma can be difficult for who come in Tuscany for the first time, as it is a little out of the way, for this reason I decided to stay in Saturnia, a spa town in the province of Grosseto.
Slow Pace of Life in Saturnia
The thermal waters of Saturnia are renowned for their healthy properties and are completely pure: this is possible thanks to the crater of volcanic origin feeding water straight into the thermal baths. The hot spring water (flowing at a constant temperature of 37°) is the flagship attraction of Saturnia, the ideal place for a “green holiday”, far from the crowd and the stress of the big cities.
My choice of accommodation was the Saturnia Tuscany Hotel, which has an onsite Spa and is situated very close to the aforementioned thermal baths. My idea of a relaxing vacation includes a wellness centre with a wide range of treatments (massages, sauna, Turkish bath) and a savoury selection of local dishes available at the restaurant. I was fulfilled by their Camelia Spa, reserved exclusively to hotel guests, and by the restaurant La Chianina Pescatrice, entirely devoted to Maremman gastronomy.
My Favourite Maremman Speciality…
In Maremma I discovered the true meaning of poor cuisine. That isn’t an insult, because the traditional peasant food of the region is based on authenticity and simplicity. My favourite dish is the acquacotta soup, a traditional recipe including stale bread, eggs, grates cheese, onion, basil and tomatoes.
I suggest you to taste acquacotta at a restaurant in Maremma to try the original recipe: only the best chefs are able to cook the easiest dishes!
Explore Maremma in a 4×4 Car
The hotel staff helped me to book a tour on a 4×4 car with Maremma & Me, a company specialised in car rental; they offer 4×4 Fiat Panda cars equipped with Sat Nav and Dual Camera Car, so it’s possible to reach places otherwise inaccessible thanks to the theme paths preset. Visiting the surroundings of Saturnia aboard a 4×4 car is one of the best ways to travel in complete safety and find those quiet spots not included in the standard maps and brochures.
Enjoy Horse Riding in the Heart of Tuscany
The stable Il Varastino, located in a 500 hectares estate, offers the opportunity to go for a trot in Maremma riding a horse, just like a buttero… or something like that! A horse-back excursion is one of the most fitting activities to do in Maremma and the staff of Il Varastino can help travellers to choose the right horse for a trip through this wild land.
Are you tired of the classic sightseeing holiday? Then try Tuscan Maremma, and I guarantee you’ll be glad you came.