Discovering the Most Hidden Maremma
Visiting the Tuscan Maremma is undoubtedly a guarantee of absolute quality, as it is rare to find a territory that guarantees such a variety of places and landscapes, from the beautiful hilly corners that enclose small medieval villages where time seems to have stopped, to the long coastal stretches, never similar to each other.
The Maremma is often known for its most touristy and renowned places (such as the splendid Castiglione della Pescaia) and it is thought that there is little else to see, but this is absolutely not true. There are many little known places that are a treasure to be discovered and that can become the destination for an itinerary full of history and curiosity, here, then, are some of our tips for discovering some of the most hidden corners of the Tuscan Maremma.
The Etruscan Cave Routes
This network of streets is located near the area of the so-called triptych of the City of Tuff, represented by Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana, places that we absolutely recommend you not to miss in your personal tour of Tuscan Maremma.
The Vie Cave are small streets made by the Etruscans as if they were a trench, are derived from the excavation of the tuff rock, particularly present in this area.
Their actual use has been discussed at length over the years, it is thought that they may have been built for funeral use, especially because they are located very close to the Etruscan necropolis, but there are also those who think that they are ancient defensive systems, as works that helped to ensure the flow of water.
The visitor is presented with a very special landscape, as it opens a complex network of streets with very high walls (sometimes they can reach up to 20 meters) and the width is limited, usually a couple of meters. The sense of smallness that you feel crossing these narrow streets (some even longer than a kilometer) will give you the idea of finding yourself almost in another world, certainly an experience to try in days with a pleasant climate (we certainly do not recommend on rainy days).
The Olive of the Witch of Magliano
We can consider it as a tourist attraction perhaps a bit ‘sui generis, as it is a single tree, but the history that literally contains this olive and the legend that is handed down over the years will intrigue you so much that you will surely find a half hour to go and discover the so-called Olive of the Witch, located in an olive grove next to the Church of Santissima Annunziata, just outside the perimeter of the historic walls of Magliano in Toscana (another place that should not miss in your trip to Maremma, especially for the beautiful tour that you can do around the walls, perfectly preserved). The Witch’s Olive is very easily distinguished from the others present in the olive grove for its shape shaped over the centuries; It is said that with its 3500 years estimated is one of the oldest trees in Europe and for this reason a small treasure to be discovered and that also contains a very interesting legend, which tells of a witch who every week, especially on Friday, went under this olive tree to practice sabbatical rites, dancing and forcing the plant to twist (from this, according to legend, would derive the current shape of the tree). At the end of the ritual, the witch transformed herself into a cat with fiery red eyes, remaining to watch over the olive tree for the whole night. Regardless of the legend it is a tree that has really known the history of our world and also for this reason deserves a visit of even a few minutes.
San Galgano And The Sword In The Rock
A visit to the Abbey of San Galgano, located about 40 km from Siena, is certainly very suggestive. It is an Abbey now deconsecrated and open-air because the roof is no longer present but of which you can admire the ruins and perfectly preserved. The particularity of this place is that perhaps it is from here that the myth of the so-called “sword in the rock” of King Arthur could have been born. All this stems from the fact that right within the perimeter of the Abbey, particularly in the center of the chapel, protrudes a rock where is set a sword that, according to recent analysis, seems to be dated around the twelfth century, and which is said to have been driven into the rock by the young Galgano, a knight who appeared in a dream the Twelve Apostles and that, precisely because of this dream, discovered his vocation by abandoning his role as a knight and retiring to life as a hermit in this place.
The sword is also narrated inside the Abbey itself, as there are many frescoes that describe it in a very specific way and that will bring you back to the ancient glories of the medieval knights. The similarity with the Breton myth of King Arthur should not seem out of place as the period of construction of the Abbey coincides with that of the alleged discovery of his tomb.
The Monastery of San Bruzio
About 2km from Magliano in Toscana there are the remains of an interesting Romanesque abbey that is worth a visit for its location in the middle of the countryside and for the beautiful view that you will have as soon as you find it in front of you.
San Bruzio is easily reached by following a short path marked by a sign that you will find along the road that leads from Magliano to Sant’Andrea (next to it on the right you will also find a large dirt car park, so you will have no difficulty leaving your vehicle.
Today the Monastery looks more like a ruin of which few are the parts that are well preserved, such as a part of the presbytery and part of the octagonal tiburium that housed the dome (are certainly suggestive photos that you can take). Also interesting are the small capitals and sculptures that partially recall a Gothic style and are particularly original for the Maremma.