Maremma

Maremma

[muh-rem-uh]
Maremma, coastal area in Tuscany, central Italy, along the Tyrrhenian Sea and extending E to the Apennines. A flourishing region in Etruscan and early Roman times, it became marshy and was largely abandoned in the Middle Ages because of malaria. Reclamation was begun (19th cent.) by the grand dukes of Tuscany and was continued in the 20th cent. by the Italian government. There are now wide fertile areas, rich borax mines, and good hunting grounds; cattle and a noted breed of horses are raised. Cities include Piombino (a port) and Grosetto (an inland agricultural center).

The Maremma is an area in Italy, consisting of part of southern Tuscany (partly coincident with the province of Grosseto) and part of northern Lazio (in the province of Viterbo on the border of the region).

The poet Dante Alighieri in his Divina Commedia places the Maremma between Cecina and Corneto, the former name of Tarquinia.

Non han sì aspri sterpi nè sì folti
quelle fiere selvagge che 'n odio hanno
tra Cecina e Corneto i luoghi colti.

It was traditionally populated by the Butteri, cattle-breeders who until recently used horses with a distinctive style of saddle. Once unhealthy because of its many marshes, the Maremma was drained during the fascist regime and re-populated with people coming from other Italian regions, notably from Veneto.

Endowed with significant natural and environmental resources, the Maremma is today one of the best tourist destinations in Italy, a region where ancient traditions have survived and Tuscan culture is preserved. It is being promoted as a destination for agritourism.

The village Scansano lies within the Maremma and is noted for Morellino di Scansano wine, which is vinted from Morellino grapes grown locally.

Montecucco and Monteregio are two other very popular DOC wines produced in the Maremma.

The Maremma can be divided into 5 main areas, each with its own characteristics and attractions.

  • Alta Maremma (Upper Maremma) is the northern part of the Maremma region, right on the border with the Province Siena. This interesting area is characterised by the many beautiful hilltop villages (Civitella Marittima, Roccastrada, Roccatederighi, Sassofortino, Monte Massi, Massa Marittima, Cinigiano, Campagnatico, Pari), which remind of the hilltop towns of the Siena area.
  • The heart of the Maremma Grosseto can be considered the capital of the Maremma. The area around Grosseto and the coast, with Marina di Grosseto, Castiglione della Pescaia and the small villages that lie in the plain between the city and the coast, represents the heart of the Tuscan Maremma.
  • The hills of the Upper Maremma The hills the Maremma can be divided into three areas: the area del Tufo (literally, "the tuff area"), the Colline Metallifere (literally, "the hills that produce metals") and the internal hills on the border with the Siena region. This is the heart of the Etruscan Empire.
  • The coast, the beaches and the sea of the Tuscan Maremma The Maremma includes 160 km of shoreline. The stretches of sandy and rocky coastline allow all sea lovers to find the perfect place for them. Moreover, the vast pine tree forests which border the beaches of the Maremma are a real naturalistic treasure and so are the few areas where the lagoon and swamp ecosystems have survived urbanization, reclamation or simple draining, such as the nature reserve of the Diaccia Botrona near Castiglione della Pescaia.
  • The metalliferous hills : The Colline Metallifere (literally, the metalliferous hills or the hills which produce metals) have always been the industrious heart of the Maremma and some places still point to times when the life on these hills was much harder. As their name says, the soil of these hills, which spread from the border with the province of Siena to the Gulf of Follonica, are rich in minerals and mines have been excavated for centuries in search of iron, copper, lead, zinc, pyrites and silver. The main town is Massa Marittima.

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