The Rugged Beauty of Tuscany’s La Maremma

I must admit that my keyboard seems like a compass whose cursor always points to Italy.  Call it my genetic footprint or just my romantic soul but I just can’t seem to get enough of it, especially its beaches.  There are the sandy black beaches of Ostia or the white beaches of Ischia but nothing so wild and beautiful as Tuscany’s La Maremma, off the beaten path.

Tuscany's La MaremmaLa Maremma stretches for miles along southern Tuscany with beaches catering to tourists and others so remote as not to be on the radar of even local sun worshipers, well, almost.  I asked the host at the small agritourismo how to get to Marina di Albarese.  I think she was simultaneously shocked and delighted, seeing the soul of a fellow explorer, eager to escape the throngs of noisy tourists who crowd Tuscany seemingly year-round.  She said it was a long ride but worth it…so I set forth from the tiny town of Sarteano in search of Italian cowboys and a white, sandy beach.

The drive through tiny towns and cliff top roads also led me through fields of giant Tuscan sunflowers.  It was sort of like Dorothy crossing fields of poppies to get to Oz.  Yet, I knew I was getting close.  The signs said so, right?

Upon arrival, Marina di Albarese is breathtaking from the moment you come upon its tree covered roadways, to the horses which lie in the hot summer sun and the cowboys riding off in the distance.  You begin to wonder if the beach is anywhere in sight as the cowboys ride along the road and the horses seem overcome by the sun.

Finally, a small entrance indicates Marina di Albarese is straight ahead and so, presumably, is the  Tyrrhenian Sea.  It’s rugged and wild.  The car park is in the woods and so are the port-o-potties (which are large and surpringly clean).  It’s just one big Tuscan adventure.

La Maremma Spiaggia

This is where Italians, the locals, go to spend a sunny day.  There are no loud tourists or the crowds that fill the beaches of Rome and Milan.  There are no boom boxes and just a seasonal snack bar, so be prepared with a picnic lunch.  In this wild corner of La Maremma, there is white sand, plenty of sun, and even a topless section for those who dare.  If you’re lucky, the crazy American pilots from Aviano fly by every now and then to check out the topless girlies.  They buzz so low that you can almost see them wave back at you.  Ahh, a sunny day in Italy – nothing like it!  Just drop your towel and dream.

TOURIST TIP: And if you’re heading back to central Tuscany after a day at the beach, stop in the village of Saturnia and have a late lunch at I Due Cippi da Michele right in the heart of the piazza.  The fettuccine con funghi (pasta with mushrooms) melts in your mouth.

WHERE TO STAY:  Marina di Alberese is closest to Alberese where you can find a few lovely small agritourismos and small hotels.  The nearest Tuscan city is Grosseto full of medieval charm and five-star luxury.

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