Orbetello was an ancient Etruscan then Roman settlement, has a rich medieval history, and is today a vibrant and lively town with many restaurants, bars, cafés and shops. It is built on a narrow peninsula in the middle of Orbetello Lagoon, and is connected to the promotory of Monte Argentario by bridge and beach. Monte Argentario and its two ports, the lovely towns of Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano, features striking coastlines and winding roads through the forest up to and around the mountain summit. Grosseto is the largest town and the regional capital of Maremma. The historic center has many beautiful medieval and renaissance era churches, abbeys and convents, and a number of palaces, monuments, and public squares.
The beautiful village of Bagno Vignoni is in the Val d’Orcia valley on the road north to Siena, and is famous for its subterranean thermal springs and spa and its large 16th Century public bath in the main square. Siena itself is rightly famous, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and renowned for its extraordinary Gothic cathedral, medieval center, museums, art, and the ‘palio’ horse race held twice a year held in the Piazzo del Campo.
On the road east to Lago di Bolsena are the beautiful ancient towns of Pitigliano and Sorano, both rich in Etruscan, Roman and medieval history. Take your towels and bathing costumes to Terme di Saturnia, the famous public spa and shallow hot water springs near the town of Saturnia. The town is quiet and lovely, and the springs are clean and free, and feature shallow waterfalls, rock pools, and mud baths. Bolsena itself is a gorgeous medieval village overlooking Lago di Bolsena from the north, and like the town of Capodimonte in the south features a beautiful esplanade and beach on the lake shore with bars, restaurants and gelaterias.
On the coast north of Orbetello is the small port town of Talamone, which is perched on a promontory on the southern tip of the Maremma nature reserve. The rocky coastline has many lovely small inlets and coves for swimming. Further north is Castiglione della Pescaia, which features a beautiful medieval hilltop fortress, the nearby nature reserve of Diaccia Botrona, and the Etruscan ruins of Vetulonia.
The medieval walled towns of Tarquinia and Tuscania are well worth visiting, as is the ancient Etruscan ruins and subterranean tombs of Vulci, though many of its frescos and treasures are now in museums in Rome and elsewhere. The busy port town of Civitavecchia is a lively and modern commercial center, though the Etruscan and Roman ruins and the massive Forte Michelangelo are interesting.
Further inland, north of Bolsena, is the mountain region and national park of Monte Amiata, featuring a rich forest and woodland area, the volcano of Amiata itself, and a number of beautiful villages in the surrounding area, such as Castel del Piano, Bagnore, Santa Fiora, and Abbadia San Salvatore. Just north of Orbetello is the Maremma Regional Park, which features pine woods, marshlands, ancient olive groves, and pristine beaches. There are numerous walking and trekking routes, and bicycles for hire in the nearby town of Alberese.
There is a water park for children in Follonica north of Grosseto on the coast called Acqua Village Follonica, sailing boat hire and lessons at the Marina on the Lagoon of Orbetello, horseback riding at a number of facilities and clubs along the road north or Orbetello, and kitesurfing on the beach at Chiarone. There is quad and bike rental in Feniglia at the southern entrance to the nature reserve that runs all the way along the beach to Monte Argentario, and many, many other activities and things for children to see and do throughout the region, not to mention fabulous icecream. Everywhere.
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