Visit the Regional Park of the Maremma
Once sunny weather arrives, we have an irresistible need to be outdoors to soak in some sun, cooling breezes and surround yourself with nature. Once of the places dear to my heart that we keep returning to is what Tuscans simply call "la Maremma". A wide and large section of southwestern Tuscany that stretches over miles of Tuscan coastline and far inland to almost reach Siena and the Monte Amiata which offers many types of landscapes and opportunities for exploration. Both sea and nature are the ingredients to rest and soothe your soul and body.
The Uccellina Park... or the Maremma Natural Regional Park
Within this extraordinday natural frame you can alternate your days between relaxing on the beach with days enjoying outdoors activities exploring the Natural Park of the Maremma.
The Maremma Park, also known as the Regional Park of the Uccellina, spreads across the hills of the Uccellina, a sinuous chain of hills parallel to the coast and covered with Meditteranean scrub.
What do you say about exploring the park on horseback? Or just on foot with some stops to birdwatch?
Imagine leaving the city and traffic behind with its smog for a few days and come into close touch with pristine land? In Maremma, you can at this park ;)
Across the park, you'll find both wide open spaces with lots of green, as well as many farmhouses that offer local Tuscan products and a place to stay and enjoy all that the park has to offer!
With an extension of almost 10.000 hectares of free beaches, natural reserve and park to explore from Principina a Mare to Talamone, the hard part will be deciding what to do and when. There are many itineraries you can follow to emerse yourself in this green paradise and experience unforgettable moments in close contact with local vegetation (such as holm oaks, heather, cork oak, myrtle, broom, pine trees) and its fauna (wild oar, fox, row and fallow deer, as well as the oxen that the Maremma butteri, or cowboys, are known for herding).
Within the park, you can follow itineraries on foot, on horseback, on donkey, on mountain bike, at night and historical and cultural trails that take you to both religious sites and to the old watchtowers that kept watch for pirates... and let's not forget its pristine beaches!
As I had mentioned earlier, the park is also ideal for anyone that loves to do birdwatching: the park is home to over 270 species of birds! The wetlands are an important wintering area for many water birds, such as wild geese and cranes, but there are also nesting areas for the snowy plover, the curlew and European roller and osprey. Birds of prey include the peregrine falcon, the hobby, the kestrel and buzzard, several species of owls plus woodlarks and woodpeckers. You can do 2 itineraries to do by canoe to observe the water birds, a day time as well as night time one.
Here are some other examples of some itineraries available to visit the park:
1. The Grand Crossing of the Park of the Maremma (on foot)
Start: at 8am from the Alberese visitors' center
Duration: 10 hours, with return around 6pm
Itinerary: difficult given both the duration as well as length of 20 km, all within the park immersed in nature and crossing the park from Alberese to Talamone. You will explore and discover small bays along the coast and enjoy views of the cliffs and visit some of the old watchtowers all while going up and down across the hills.
Dates: the crossing takes place once every month between September and June. None are planned in the hottest months.
Cost: 20 euro, tour takes place as soon as a minimum of 10 people have booked, with a max of 50 people per group. You need to book as the tour is accompanied by a registered guide.
Contacts: Alberese Visitor Center, tel 0564 407098, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - you can also complete the form found on this page to book: http://www.parco-maremma.it/traversata-da-talamone-ad-alberese/
2. Nordic Walking at the Park of the Maremma
There are various itineraries done in Nordic Walking, led by a certified teacher of Nordic Walking and guide of the park which is a different way to enjoy the park. There are easy, medium and high level difficulty itineraries to be done, something for everyone!
The tours are available year round between September and June from 8am to 4:30pm. The tours only become active if you book them, so make sure to contact Laura who will be your leader across the park.
For more info and to book:
Laura: tel +39 327 3693504
3. Pedal, Row or Ride a Carriage…
The park can be visited on foot as well as by bike, canoe, horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage, this last one offering anyone bound to a wheelchair the opportunity to ride in the carriage.
For more information on the many types of itineraries, I suggest you check the website for the park: http://www.parco-maremma.it/en/live/tours/
Contacts and Park Entrance
Visitor Center at Alberese (from here, there is bus service to main trailheads)
Via Bersagliere, 7/9 - Alberese - Tel. +39 0564 407098
Open every day, including weekends and holidays, from 8am to 8pm.
How to visit the park: In the SUMMER (from April 1 to September 30), there are specific rules for visiting the park. This includes all itineraries requiring a guide and many only are confirmed upon reaching a minimum number of participants. For this reason, if you are in the area and planning to visit, check your dates and the tours on offer for the various days of the week and call ahead to book. The cost for visiting the park will vary according to the itinerary you choose.
During SPRING, FALL and WINTER it is possible to visit the park without a required guide and by simply buying an entrance ticket (which takes the form of a monthly or trimester pass valid from October 1 through May 31... so plan to visit several times!
Visitor Center and Aquarim at Talamone
Via Nizza, 12 - Talamone - Tel. +39 0564 887173
Open every day, including weekends and holidays, from 4pm to 8pm.
Want some time at the beach? Head to Marina di Alberese
If you're staying nearby and want to spend some time relaxing by the beach, head to Marina di Alberese, a famous beach getaway that will leave you with many fond memories. Marina is within the Park of the Maremma and easy to reach. But considering the limited amount of parking and thus number of cars allowed all the way to the beach, the easiest solution is toAlberese and park there, then head to the beach with the shuttle. Entrance to the beach, still wild and pristine, is like visiting the park. If you want to include some time moving your legs, you can also take the enchanting bike path from the Visitors Center at Alberese all the way to the beach, a total of about 8 km.
Plan to buy some sandwiches and water in Alberese (or at higher prices at the bar at the beach entrance) and then take off for your peaceful day at the beach between the sea and nature. The ride on the bus will first give you a glimpse to the slow nature of the area; make sure to seat yourself by the windows to admire the horses and cattle herds in the first part of the park. If you're lucky, you might even see a fox or wild boar.
If you arrive by car, you pass through a gate an take a ticket to enter the park and pay for parking based on time spent inside. You'll pay only once you're ready to head home, at the automatic booths set before the exit gates.
Once you've arrived at your destination, don't stop at the first section you find of free beach.... plan on and enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach heading south. You will soon realize that not too far in, the beach is almost free of crowds and you can truly enjoy a quiet day at the beach, relaxing and enjoying the sound of the water.
The beach at Marina di Alberese, made of fine, golden sand and with many small huts constructed of white washed tree branches and trunks (make sure to take an extra towel to use these huts to create natural areas of shade for you to rest under) will be your daydream.
The Mediterranean brush that backs the beach, the sea with its clear crystal reflections, the natural wilderness of the coast and the natural beauty of this pace... all are the ingredients for a day off that offer peace and quiet to your soul and mind.