The following article, written by Lisa Gerard-Sharp, appears on The Guardian.
Europe’s hidden coasts: the Maremma, Italy
Italians were born for beaches. Summer means serried rows of sunbeds and regimented beach games. It’s all about bonding and strutting your stuff in matching tangerine mankinis.
But relax: it’s not all like that. Southern Tuscany makes a more stylish splash. Sugary sands are framed by pine groves and low-slung hills, revealing serene, post-impressionist landscapes. In the Maremma, south of Grosseto, set designers are seemingly in charge of the sunsets and rosemary-scented scrubland running down to the sea.
A former Italian prime minister now presides over the local tennis club. Even the region’s princes play at being gentlemen farmers in their perfectly groomed wine estates. This is also cattle country, where Maremma longhorns, famous for their bulging bellies and lyre-shaped horns, are herded by macho Tuscan cowboys straight out of central casting.
The Maremma coast is chic but discreet, Tuscany for the cognoscenti. Unlike in flashy Forte dei Marmi further north, here you disappear into the dunes, the parasol pines, the whale-back islands, the timeless countryside. Etruscans cultivated it; Tuscans civilised it, but only foreigners romanticise it.
Politically, this is Italy’s “red belt”, but it’s true blue on its shores. After Liguria, the region has more Blue Flag beaches than anywhere else in Italy, with beguiling coves clustered along the Maremma coast or carved into the Monte Argentario peninsula. The Parco Regionale della Maremma, with its pine groves and 20kms (12.4 miles) of pristine coast where ruined watchtowers dominate cliffs, sets the bar high. Continue reading at The Guardian.
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