Meet at 9.00 am in the town of Orbetello (two hours by train from Rome). Walk on Monte Argentario (8 km) enjoying spectacular coastal views as we wander through silvery olive groves, to picturesque Porto Ercole, where we enjoy a lunch of fresh fish paired with a crisp white Ansonica wine. Explore Orbetello, with its medieval bastions overlooking the lagoon, and see the Spanish gunpowder factory where Garibaldi once stocked up. Our stylish hotel Relais San Biagio is in the center of town, where we stay for one night.
Today we walk in the beautiful coastal area of Parco dell’Uccellina, with a selection of trails (7-12 km) that lead up to the 16th century watchtowers guarding the coast from pirates, or for the energetic, head up to the silent ruins of the abbey of San Rabano, and look for the biancone eagle soaring overhead. Stroll along the glorious, pristine beach and cool your feet in the sea after a rustic picnic lunch. In the late afternoon, we drive to the lovely hilltown of Montemerano and settle into our country inn, where we stay for three nights.
This morning we meet our cook who takes us into the garden to pick what’s fresh for today’s lunch. Learn the secret of making pici, a hand-rolled pasta, or the rustic soups and simple desserts of Maremma’s country cuisine. After lunch, head up to the town of Saturnia, near the hot springs of the same name, identified far in advance by the distinctive scent of sulphur. Walk (5-8 km) along the ancient Roman Via Clodia, or head off to the Saturnia hot springs for a soak. Explore the hilltown of Montemerano, and find the hidden passageway in the old city walls, before dinner in a local trattoria.
We begin our 14 km walk in the small town of Roccalbegna and clamber up to the remains of the castle in a breathtaking position on top of a pinnacle of stone. Walk through peaceful woodlands to the 14th century village of Rocchette di Fazio, a delight of perfectly preserved houses and well-tended gardens. Continue to the hilltown of Semproniano, once a Medici stronghold and now a sleepy town with a great place for a hearty lunch. Stop off at the WWF sanctuary and be glad those wild boar are behind a fence. Dinner in a family-run place where the jovial chef greets us like family.
Drive to the archaeological park at Vulci, an evocative Etruscan and Roman city, where we follow the amazingly well-preserved Roman roads and explore the ancient Etruscan necropolis with its traces of colourful wall paintings (5 km). Cross the extraordinary Devil’s Bridge to the dusky castle and explore the museum of Etruscan finds. Lunch at a simple osteria with freshly-picked produce from the surrounding fields. Transfer to our stylish Romantik Hotel Sovana, where we stay for two nights. There will be time to walk through the streets of Sovana visiting the eerie cathedral or poking through the interesting artisan shops before a sunset aperitivo in the fabulous garden. Free night for dinner.
Visit the majestic hilltown of Pitigliano, perched upon a rocky crag with an imposing castle, and graced with a Medici aqueduct and a tiny synagogue, all surrounded by ancient Etruscan byways. Sample the traditional Jewish sweets in a bakery tucked into an alley, as curious townspeople peek at us from behind curtained windows. Our 12 km walk steps back in time some 2000 years, entering into the mysterious world of the Etruscans, as we follow their amazing route of secret roads carved out of the soft tufa rock. Dine together in an excellent ristorante in the center of Sovana, and toast to the hidden joys of la Maremma.
Transfer to the Orbetello train station. Arrivederci!