This area is located on the route between Siena and the sea, and generally ignored by guidebooks and portals. The isolated position of these hills have protected and preserved its original rural character that has developed since the Middle Ages. It is the ideal base to explore Southern Tuscany without having to choose between the Siena area and the Maremma.
coast and beaches
For those who enjoy the sun and the sea, the Maremma is a perfect destination. Each year, the Maremma beaches and marinas are awarded the Blue Flag (http://www.blueflag.org/) recognizing the quality and purity of the waters along its 160 km of shoreline, where sandy and rocky coastlines alternate. Vast pine tree forests border many of the beaches of the Maremma, and in a few areas coastal wetlands have escaped urbanization, reclamation or draining, like the nature reserve of Diaccia Botrona near Castiglione della Pescaia.
The most important coastal resorts of the Maremma Grossetana are from north to south:
Castiglione della Pescaia
Marina di Alberesein the Parco Regionale della Maremma (http://www.parco-maremma.it/)
the Argentario promontory with the harbour towns of Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano
The Tuscan Archipelago, with the island of Giglio and the small island of Giannutri, is very impressive, and can be visited on a minicruise leaving from one of the many harbours of the coast of the Maremma.
the tufo area
The Tufo area is one of the most beautiful areas in Tuscany - and still undiscovered by mass tourism. Tufo tuff or tufa is a volcanic, porous rock commonly used as a building material. The tuff has been quarried over the centuries to build houses, cellars and tombs or to make tufi, big square bricks which are typical of the villages and towns of this area of the Maremma.
The Tufo area has a unique mixture of archaeological, architectural and natural sites. Here you can find Etruscan tombs, Roman roads carved in tuff, small medieval towns like Pitigliano or Magliano in Toscana, together with natural hot springs and pleasant wooded hills.
The 'Metal Bearing Hills' have always been the industrial heart of the Maremma, and spread from the border with the province of Siena to the Gulf of Follonica. As their name implies they have been mined for iron, copper, lead, zinc, pyrite and silver for centuries.
A very impressive natural phenomenon in this area are the soffioni borax fumaroles near Monterotondo Marittimo and Travale, where you can see the vapour rise high through the tree-branches of the maquis.
The heart and capital of the Colline Metallifere is Massa Marittima, a real architectonic jewel of the Middle Ages. However, many villages and castles in the area are of great historical and artistic interest as well. Roccastrada, Sassofortino, Roccatederighi, Montemassi, Monterotondo Marittimo and many other villages in this area should not be missed.