The Maremma is a wide region in Tuscany, located in the Province of Grosseto that covers a large area which includes the coastline and a great piece of countryside. Its ranges of hills descend to the sea, to cover also the beautiful sandy beaches and cliffs, along 25 km of coast. Because of this its vegetation varies according to the level between the mountains and the sea.
The Uccellina Mountains, also well-known as “Uccelina Park”, immersed in the territory of the Regional Park, are favourable for the growth of woods, composed of holm trees, cork oak trees, thorn trees and also other kinds of shrubs and plants like strawberry trees, ivy, myrtle, lavenders, etc. The Park covers also a wide hinterland that is characterized by a palustrine vegetation, in the depressions beyond dunes that will connect this zone with the sandy coast. The area has always been covered by salted water, allowing the growth of grass and low shrubs, like Artemisia, rush, lemon, etc.
From the 16th century, the Tuscan State have always invested in this area to drain it and make it suitable for cultivation. Nowadays a large part of it has become pasture. The best side of this Park is certainly the coastline, which includes many stunning and unspoiled sandy beaches. The vegetation is obviously rare but on the dunes is possible to find local plants and shrubs able to adapt in sandy, salted soil. Together with the vegetation the most interesting is the fauna that lives in the region, which offers many opportunities for watching.
In fact, bird watching is one of the main activities of this Park, there is a bird watching itinerary of high importance in the European scenery. It goes from the river Ombrone to the Chiari di Trappola, a ancient tower located in proximity to the coast. The species that can be seen are basically: ducks ( teals, shovelers, widgeons and pin-tails), geese ( for example wild geese), limicolous birds (royal godwits, lapwings, little stints, and curlews) and seagulls (common gulls, Mediterranean royal seagulls, and common seagulls). There are also passerines (such as blackcaps), hawks (such as ospreys, and hawks of the marshes) and herons (in particular grey herons, red herons and white herons). Sometimes it is also possible to see red buntings and snow buntings.
Among the mammals who inhabit Maremma Park there are: hares, hedgehogs, foxes, badger, wild boars, porcupines and specially among the woods, roe bucks. A large part of the Regional Park is covered by pastures, in fact Maremma is well-known for its bovine cattle and its horses. Who never heard about the Maremman race? These animals are bred free, and for that reason have a massive structure, huge horns, and a grey mantle with many different nuances.
Culture and history:
The Park hides many watch towers built in many different periods, because of its obvious importance related to the sea: as harbours for military and commercial boats, fortresses against attacks, in most cases from Spanish, but also other kingdoms interested to dominate this crenulated coast which above all things, offered protection against pirates and corsairs, not to mention the menace of Turkish invasions during the 15th century.
There are in total 12 watch towers that can be seen in most of the itineraries planned by the Park’s management. On the Maremma Park's Official Website, it is possible to see the itineraries planned by the managers of the Park that you can follow by your own or with a professional guide. Among them there is a specific itinerary dedicated to the towers, visiting each one of them.
An interesting point of the Park in terms of history and religion is the complex of San Rabano Abbey. Situated between Lecci Mount (Poggio Lecci ) and Alto Mount (Poggio Alto), it has been indicated in documents from the beginning of the 17th century as a Monastery of the order “Arboriense” or “Alberese” while the name of San Rabano is probably a derivation from San Rafani, the last abbot. The complex has started in the first half of the 11th century as a Benedictine settlement, while the Abbey’s building has ended in the 1587, and has reached its highest point of development with the Benedictine Cistercians. One of the itineraries of the Park is precisely the Abbey itinerary.
Visit the Park:
The Maremma Regional Park is opened all year round, every day. It is necessary to purchase a ticket in one of the Visitor Centers, besides its is possible to take a tour on your own or join a group, with a guide or not, according to the season. The Park has 7 itineraries in the inner side and 3 itineraries through the coast line. The park extends from the river Ombrone on the northern side till the coastal town of Talamone, which is the Southern limit of the Park. Here you find an exciting Aquarium and rescue centre for turtles, carefully followed and looked after by biologists. According to the season, the Park offers tours by horse, chariot, canoe and bicycle.
Coming from the North, leave the SS 1 Aurelia highway about 7 Km South of Grosseto and exit at Rispescia-Alberese. Continue along the S.P. Alberese road for a few kilometres until you reach the location by the same name.
Coming from the South exit at Km 166 of the SS 1 Aurelia highway, turning at the junction for Alberese - Maremma Natural Park. Continuing on, in a few minutes you should reach the Alberese hamlet where you’ll find the Visitor Centre.
REGIONAL MAREMMA PARK
AUTHORITY Management: Address: Via del Bersagliere, 7/9 - Alberese (GrR);
Official Website: www.parco-maremma.it
Alberese Visitor Center: Address: Via del Bersagliere, 7/9 - Alberese (GR) Tel.: +39 0564407098 - Fax.: +39 0564 407278
Open every day including holidays with the following timetable:
from October to March (Easter time), from 8.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.;
from March to September, from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Visitor Center and Talamone Aquarium - Address: Via Nizza, 12 - Talamone (GR) Tel.: +39 0564 887173 - Fax.:+39 0564 887173 - Open every day including holidays with the following timetable: from September to June, from 8.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.; from July to August, from 8.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon and from 3.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.