Argentario and Orbetello
The municipality of Monte Argentario includes the towns of Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole, charming fishing ports tucked away at the foot of the headland, surrounded by Mediterranean maquis, beautiful beaches and stunning coves where you can relax in the sun and cool off in the waters of the crystal-clear, unspoilt sea.
Porto Ercole, considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, still retains the Spanish fortifications built to defend the headland: the 16th-century Forte Filippo, the Torre del Mulinaccio, the 18th-century Forte Santa Caterina, and the imposing Forte Stella built by King Philip II of Spain as the main lookout point for the Presidi State.
Looking out over a bay dominated by the Spanish Fortress, Porto Santo Stefano is frequently home to luxurious yachts and is the departure point for ferries to the islands of Giglio and Giannutri.
Those who love the sea are spoilt for choice, between sandy beaches such as the Giannella, which is 8 km long, or the Cantoniera and Moletto, which are also accessible to people with disabilities; pebble beaches such as Le Viste, Spiaggia Lunga, Acqua Dolce, Cala Grande or the wonderful Cala del Gesso with its spectacular view and Cala del Bove with its smooth rocks. Some of these are free beaches, others are equipped with bathing establishments, bars and restaurants.
Not far from Argentario is Orbetello, noted for its lagoon where pink flamingos nest and where bream, bass, mullet and eel are farmed. The historical influences of the people who inhabited it are worth mentioning: the Etruscans, whose traces can still be seen today in the walls that surround it; the Romans, whose remains can be seen in the Cosa colony; the Sienese, who left the Mulino that emerges from the lagoon; the Spanish, who built the Guzman munitions now home to the city museum; the Bourbons, up to the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.
The lagoon separates the town of Orbetello from the Duna di Feniglia Nature Reserve. Access here is free, on foot and by bicycle. Walking along the path through the pine forest, where the painter Caravaggio’s body is said to have been found, it is possible to come across fallow deer, badgers and foxes, before arriving at the beach, which remains unspoilt and wild, to enjoy the sun and sea.
The Tufo Cities: Pitigliano, Sovana and Sorano
From the Monte Argentario Agritourism, it is easy to reach the Tufo cities.
A 50-minute drive away is Pitigliano, referred to as “Little Jerusalem.” Traces of the Jewish community that was welcomed here from the end of the 15th century are still to be found in the synagogue, in the inner city, and the unleavened bread oven. Also worth a visit in Pitigliano are the Archaeological Museum of Etruscan Civilisation, the Open Air Museum named after Alberto Manzi and the cellars dug into the Tufo rock.
A short distance from Pitigliano is Sovana, an important Etruscan centre with an impressive necropolis immersed in the countryside. Following in the footsteps of history, don’t miss a visit to the Ildebranda Tomb, the 14th-century Church of St Mary, the original Cathedral, and the birthplace of Ildebrando di Soana, who became Pope Gregory VII.
Sorano also retains significant Etruscan relics. The Città del Tufo Archaeological Park still preserves the necropolis with chamber, aedicula and temple tombs, and the Vie Cave, intriguing paths carved into the rock.
The imposing Orsini Fortress in the village is historically important and today houses the Medieval and Renaissance Museum.
The Saturnia Thermal Baths
The municipality of Manciano, about 60 km from Agriturismo Monte Argentario, is home to the famous Saturnia thermal baths with sulphurous water at 37°.
You can enjoy the beneficial properties of these waters at the Cascate del Mulino waterfalls, in the midst of nature, or at the luxurious spa facility.
The Maremma Park
The Maremma Park offers nature, culture and adventure. Surrounded by green hills, centuries-old pinewoods, aromatic herbs and the sounds of animals, from free-roaming Maremma cows to horses, it offers a wide choice of routes to be travelled on foot, by bike along a cycle path, on horseback, by carriage or donkey, or even by canoe.
The beach at Marina di Alberese is marked by the existence of beached tree trunks that create very distinctive and spontaneous sculptures.
Visitors to the park also build shelters to protect themselves from the sun and wind. These huts, together with the beach, have become one of the symbols of the Maremma area.
It is open all year round.
Capalbio and the Tarot Garden
With its characteristic sculptures covered in stained glass, mirrors and ceramics, the Tarot Garden in the Garavicchio area of Capalbio is a world-famous artistic park created by Niki de Saint Phalle.
An engrossing route that captivates adults and children alike with echoes of Antoni Gaudí’s Parque Guell in Barcelona and the Mostri di Bomarzo.
And it’s only 35 minutes by car from the Monte Argentario Agritourism.