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In the charming city of Orbetello are living approximately 7000 inhabitants. It is a lovely small town in the heart of the Maremma, less than two hours from Rome, Florence, Pisa and Siena. It lies in the midst of an attractive lagoon and is connected with the peninsula of Monte Argentario by two long, golden sandy beaches: "Tombolo della Feniglia" and "Tombolo della Giannella". They offer visitors golden beaches for miles near inviting pine woods.
Orbetello was founded by the Etruscans in the 8. Century B.C. In the 16th century the place was developed by the Spaniards to a naval base. The town wall with the three gate construction is still a silent witness from that period and visitors will enter the town till today through one of these gates. From that time also remains the Palazzo di Spagna and the Piazza di Due Mondi with its massive bell tower.
A special scenery and untypical for this region is the small wind mill built by Spaniards in the midst of the lagoon which can be seen driving along the dam connecting Monte Argentario with Orbetello.
The short connecting dam to Monte Argentario was built only in 1824. Where the dam leaves Orbetello you can see the rest of the old Etruscan harbour wall from the 4th century B.C., which was built from impressive stone blocks.
A walk to the Piazza IV. Novembre presents also a lot of history. On the facade of the eastern complex of the building the faded label "Aeroporto" can still be seen. Behind the gate way was the water runway of a military airfield which borders on the Laguna di Orbetello. It was the runway Italo Balbo used with his seaplane in 1933 to perform the first transatlantic flight to the world exhibition in Chicago just taking place during that period.
Definitely worth a visit is the Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta with an impressive Gothic main entrance which has been probably built on the ruin of a temple. Already in the 5th century B.C. the temple has been established to honour the god Jupiter.
The region's cuisine is specialized in fish of the most different kind and made always exclusively with fresh fish from the lagoon of Orbetello: shrimps, gilthead, sea brass, oysters, grey mullet and eel are fished here daily and prepared in a very delicious way.
Just to mention a few typical specialities: spaghetti "alla bottarga" (eggs of the grey mullet) or "anguilla affumicata" (smoked eel). If you prefer meat course instead of fish, there are the also numerous specialities of the Maremma region to choose from. Any meal is well accompanied with a good Tuscan white or red wine. There is a wide selection of excellent Tuscan wines to choose from.
Besides the delicious local dishes Orbetello and Monte Argentario offer 50 kilometres of unspoiled beaches and rocky coastal scenery, situated between the two biggest nature reserves of Italy and one of the nicest regions of Tuscany.
Our restaurant Tip is the "Elefantino del Mare" under the arches right in front of the church on the main square on the right hand side. You can sit outside under the arches and overlook the square with its bars and people passing by or you can sit inside the restaurant.
If you want a table outside which is recommended from June to October you should reserve a table Tel: 0039 0564 867616 or come before 8 o clock. They serve mainly Fresh fish which is really excellent. Try "Orate alla griglia" as main dish and "Arancine di Nasello" as a starter.
For more information visit Orbetello's Official Website
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