Capalbio is a delightful Medieval village a few kilometres from the coast, in the southernmost part of Tuscany, Italy. The perfectly preserved walls and historic centre make it a perfect destination for those in search of an evocative atmosphere and some picturesque views. Nearby, you’ll find some of the best beaches and clearest water in Tuscany, and the fantastical world of the Tarot Garden.
Capalbio – One of the gems of Tuscany, Italy
This ancient village is one of the highlights of the Maremma region. Driving to Capalbio and seeing it perched atop its hill, makes you feel a little like a time traveller. The great walls and grey stone tower protect the compact centre of this small village, as they have done since the Middle ages. As you walk though the ancient gates, you enter a world of narrow alleyways and stone arches, old doors, tiny cobbled squares and ancient edifices embellished with flower vases and beautifully green shutters. Every small detail seems to be there for your enjoyment.
But Capalbio isn’t about famous sights, it’s a place to soak in the atmosphere, and enjoy the tranquillity and the views from the walls. As you stroll around this former castle and gaze through the ramparts, you’ll see the Maremman countryside stretched out in front of you and the Mediterranean sea shimmering in the distance.
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What to see and do in Capalbio
Visit the Church of San Nicola (XII century), built in the Romanesque style, with its delightful Renaissance frescoes in the chapels. Located in the main square, it’s a quiet atmospheric spot.
You’ll notice a great tower dominating the village, it’s part of the Rocca Aldobrandesca fortress. The huge crenellated tower is the oldest part of the edifice. The rest has been transformed throughout the centuries into an elegant Renaissance palace, Palazzo Collacchioni. You can visit some of the rooms and climb the steep flight of stairs to reach the terrace for an amazing view. (Summer opening time:)
Take a walk along the walls for more great views and photo opportunities.
NEARBY: Don’t miss the Tarot Garden, a multicoloured fantasy by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, clearly influenced by Gaudi. She choose this area to create an amazing sculpture park where nature and art brilliantly mix. It’s in Garavicchio, a few kilometres from Capalbio. One of the statues by the same artist stands outside the entrance to the historic centre. (Opening times can be found on the official site.)
TIP: Capalbio and the nearby beaches are sought-after destinations during the summer months, making the hamlet a very popular place for an evening stroll. July and August are the busiest and more lively months, while the rest of the year it is a tranquil place. Some of the restaurants and shops have limited opening hours out of season.
Find out all the best beaches in Tuscany.
If you’re travelling in the Maremma region, don’t miss the enchanting “tufa towns” Pitigliano and Sorano.
Capalbio, a castle with a long history
Capalbio started its life as a castle at the time of Charlemagne. The Aldobrandeschi family took over in the 13th century and restructured the already exiting fortress. Later the Republic of Siena snatched it from them, and so the castle became the southernmost defensive point of Siena.
Its period of maximum splendour was 1300-1400, but in 1555 when Siena was conquered by the Florentine Medici family, the town lost its importance and began to decline. As with the rest of the Maremma, this area came back to life in the 20th century.