The Maremma’s capital is one of the most vibrant and attractive destinations in the region. It’s one of the few places where you can experience the passeggiata culture – that quintessentially Italian tradition of strolling through the streets admiring the shops and stopping, every few metres, to say hello to a friend or acquaintance. In Grosseto, the locals take a passeggiata almost any time of the day or night, but their favourite spot to do so is Corso Italia, the main strip, where you can swoon over gorgeous gowns displayed under century-old arches and bookshops with high gabled ceilings.
But Grosseto isn’t just the sum of its capital city. The area has something for everyone within fingertip’s reach and regardless of what season you visit.
Here some Ideas for a week end trip in Grosseto:
In summer, the city becomes a ghost town as its residents temporarily move like migrating birds to the nearby Marina di Grosseto. Just 12 kilometres from the city, Marina was once a small fishing village, known for its hilly hinterlands, rich macchia and beautiful beaches. Now it’s the hottest seaside destination, where you can enjoy all the comforts of resort life with the tranquility and humble charm of its small town past. All of the Marina’s beaches have the blue flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe and their calm water and soft sand make them perfect for loved up couples and fun seeking families alike. A note about Italian beaches. There are paid and free sections. In the paid sections, €10 will get you two sundecks, umbrellas and the use of showers for the day.
In autumn, the weather cools, but that doesn’t stop the intrepid traveller. Within Grosseto’s reach is the incredible archaeological city of Roselle. The first people to settle here were Villanovan at the end of the 7th century. During the height of Etruria, the Etruscan empire, Rusellae, as it was known, was associated with but not one of the twelve cities of the Etruscan Confederation. Instead it traded both with its Italian neighbours and with the Greeks. Soon after the Romans invaded and then left, Roselle was abandoned and the city remains of the Maremma’s most beautifully preserved archaeological sites. The highlight in the House of Mosaics, where you can see how the city’s noblemen live. Roselle is open from 8am to 4pm in winter and until 6pm in summer. Entry is €4 and the site is just 5km from the city.
Winter arrives and there’s not a lot we can do outdoors, so we stick to the city and explore something that never gets old – our cultural heritage. Grosseto has the Maremma’s best collection of museums, starting with its archaeology and art museum. This multistoried history feast is a true journey into the Etruscan empire with an incredible collection that weaves all the way from the founding of Etruria to its spectacular decline at the hands of the Roman Empire. On the top floor is a more modern, but still interesting collection of art objects from the city’s medieval and Renaissance years. Just as interesting is the city’s Natural Museum, which merits a visit for its fantastic web of life display alone. But the true star is actually Sandrone, an extinct hominoid primate that existed 9 to 7 million years ago in the Tusco-Sardinian area. Sandrone is the museum’s much-loved mascot and an incredible find. Entry to either museum is €5. Grosseto’s museums are closed on Mondays.
In spring, the city comes alive again and the locals embrace the Great Outdoors with a walk through the Parco della Maremma. The weather is still too cold for the nature park’s paradisiacal beach, but that won’t stop them from trekking the various trails and cycling routes. There are itineraries for all levels and interests. You can pick up a map from the tourist information centre at the park. The Parco della Maremma is defined by its macchia mediterranea or vast forests of tree health, wild strawberries, rosemary and myrtle, to name a few. Numerous medieval lookout towers dot the park, as well as abandoned monasteries and religious refuges. The former was crucial to protect its residents from the frequent pirate invasions that saw resident kidnapped and sold in slave markets in Turkey and Africa. The park is 17 km from the city.