Rich of historical, natural and cultural beauties, with many small and quite villages, the Tuscan Maremma is the perfect place to unwind from the stressing everyday life. Famous for the hundreds of Medieval hamlets, settled in the Mediterranean natural landscape, with their squares, stone houses, defensive towers surrounded by walls, churches and art shops, in the Tuscan territory you will enjoy your holiday discovering many pearls and treasures.
The Tuscan Maremma, famous for its characteristic wild nature, the green hills of the “butteri”, the traditional food and the local wines, hosts some of the most characteristic Medieval villages of the whole region: Scansano, from which the famous Morellino wine takes its name; Pitigliano, also called “City of the tuff” or “The little Jerusalem” and Massa Marittima, with the “Balestro Del Girifalco”, one of the most famous historical commemoration of whole Tuscany.
The Medieval village of Scansano
In province of Grosseto there is a small village of Medieval origins, Scansano, located on a hill in the heart of Maremma. A walk here is the best way to discover and admire the beauty of its historic center, with the churches, the small squares, the stone buildings and the narrow streets, that date back to the period of the great Tuscan Families. As homeland of the famous Tuscan red wine Morellino di Scansano, during a visit you can not miss a wine tasting in the city center to enjoy good wines and traditional Maremma food. After lunch you can visit the Archaeological Museum, where you will learn more about the Aldobrandeschi and Sforza Families, who owned the village during the Middle Ages.
Pitigliano, “The little Jerusalem”
The village of Pitigliano is also known as “the tuff city” thanks to the tuff rock on which it is perched. You can visit here the necropolis and the Cave streets, gigantic streets excavated by the ancient Etruscan people. It has been recognized with the Orange Flag from the Italian Touring Club as a high quality environmental tourism brand.
Thanks to the Jewish quarter and its synagogue, that we strongly recommend for a visit, Pitigliano has earned a second nickname, “The little Jerusalem”. In the 15th century many Israelites, after the expulsion from the Church, found a shelter inside the small town, starting a peaceful coexistence of Jewish and Christian religion: the ritual bath, the ghetto, the butcher shop, the kosher cellar, the oven and a temple dating back to 1598 can still be visited in the old Jewish quarter. Few Jews still live here, but their typical cuisine is still present and protected as a great experience of slow food: the most representative delicacies are the “sfratto” (a kind of spiced-sweet bread), the honey and walnut sweets and the famous red wine Kasher Piccola Gerusalemme, produced under the supervision of the rabbi of the area.
Massa and the Balestro del Girifalco
The local strongest tradiction, the “Balestro Del Girifalco”, is a captivating Medieval historical re-enactment that consists in a crossbow shooting contest, disputed by the various city districts. Twice a year the competitors challenge each others following the rules of the ancient game. The first evidence dates back to the 14th and 17th century. During the fourth Sunday of May and the 14th of August , 24 crossbowmen attend the challenge, 8 for each of the 3 districts of Massa Marittima (called Terzieri): Cittanuova, Cittavecchia and Borgo. The race occurs in Piazza Garibaldi, in front of the Cathedral of San Cerbone. In addition, a parade of 150 people, dressed in tradition clothes and the Compagnia degli Sbandieratori, a famous group of flag wavers, perform spectacular choreographies. The crossbowman who, with his arrow, hits the corner nearest to the target center, gives the victory to his Terziere and gain the prestigious hand-painted silk draper called “palio”.