This spectacular drive through the Maremma in Tuscany takes you through some of the most unusual and photogenic towns the region has to offer. Peaceful places that are embraced by unspoiled nature, and guardians of a rich history.
In this Maremma driving itinerary we lead you through the best of this area in southern Tuscany, from the interior to the coast, taking in Pitigliano, Capalbio and the Mount Argentario. Once you are there our only advice is to do as the locals do. Take it easy, soak up its atmosphere, and maybe a glass or two of the delicious local wine.
A 4 day driving itinerary through the Maremma
The so-called ‘tufa towns’ are the scenic highlights of southern Tuscany, a land of magical views, big blue skies, soft colours and an ancient past. The Etruscans thrived here in the 8th century BC, excavating the tufa rock typical of this area to build their dwellings and necropolises.
DAY 1 – Explore PITIGLIANO
Pitigliano is the biggest of the three “tufa towns”, a singular and fascinating place that seems to grow out of the tufa rock itself. It is the larger of the towns, but will still only take you around 10 minutes to walk from one side to the other. Atmospheric and blessed with extraordinary views, its a place you’ll want to take things slowly.
In the morning visit the Jewish ancient quarter, then explore the museum inside Palazzo Orsini. You have the rest of the day take a stroll around the narrow streets, discover picturesque hidden corners and visit the towns’ two churches. For dinner try the delicious tortelli alla Maremmana or the typical acquacotta soup and local white wine.
TIP: At sunset head for the panoramic terrace overlooking the town. And don’t forget to take your camera.
DAY 2 – SOVANA and SORANO
The following day drive the 9 kilometre road from Pitigliano down to Sorano (SP22 Road), a tiny village perched on a tufa hill. The vistas are impressive, and once you walk through the ancient gate is like being transported back to the Middle Ages. You can spend a couple of hours exploring the twists and turns in the historic town centre, and enjoying the views over the green valley behind.
Then it’s time to visit the last of these three jewels, the one-street-village of Sovana, a delightfully well kept stone house village with two beguiling churches. Take time to visit the Romanesque Cathedral, located right at the end of the village, with its portals and decorated capitals in the interior. There’s a lovely bookshop at the entrance where you can dip into the art history of the area.
Meet the Etruscans: If you have time and energy, you can visit Sovana Archeological Park to play the adventurer in an Etruscan necropolis. Or walk the Vie Cave, sunken Etruscan roads that criss-cross the area between Pitigliano and Sovana.
(DISTANCE: Pitigliano to Sorano: 9 kms. – Sorano to Sovana: 10 Kms)
Discover all the reasons you’ll fall in love with the Maremma.
Driving from the interior to the Maremma coast, Tuscany
DAY 3 – MONTEMERANO and CAPALBIO
These two villages redefine the meaning of “picturesque”. Narrow cobbled streets, ancient stone houses, flowery windows, old doors – pretty much everything you expect form a Tuscan village you’ll find here. It’s a short drive from Pitigliano to the tiny village of Montemerano (take the SR74 and then follow the SP159), and around 40 minutes to reach Capalbio, a walled small town with a lovely historic centre and amazing views. From here make for the E80 road, and head toward the coast and Mount Argentario.
(DISTANCE: Pitigliano to Montemerano: 22 kms. – Montemerano to Capalbio: 34 kms. – Capalbio to Porto Santo Stefano: 38 kms.)
See more picturesque villages to visit in Tuscany.
DAY 4 – Enjoying the delights of MOUNT ARGENTARIO
Mount Argentario is very popular with Italian tourists who descend on this part of Italy in summer with their families. It’s a green haven in the midst of the Tyrrhenian sea, tied to the mainland by three narrow stretches of land. You can spend the day driving around in search of the perfect view, or just relaxing at one of the beaches.
The two ports, Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano, are easy to reach and both are worth a side trip. Porto Ercole is smaller with a quaint historic centre that is reached via a steep stone staircase from the picturesque little port area. Head right to the top for a great view over the sea.
Porto Santo Stefano is bigger and busier, it has a long promenade along the sea where you find great restaurants and gelaterie. Despite being a tourist magnet, it still feels very authentic. Ogle the luxury yachts while you tuck into a plate of fritto misto or spaghetti ai frutti di mare. Orbetello is our next stop, a town set right in the middle of the lagoon of the same name, a delightful place for a stroll and an aperitivo.
TIP: To reach Orbetello we drove along the road that cut the Orbetello lagoon at sunset. It’s quite a spectacular sight watching the sun going down while you’re surrounded by water.
Best time to travel: Spring, September to early October. From mid July to end of August the Maremma is a very popular place for Italian tourists who come here to spend their Summer holidays, or weekend trips. Prices go up, beaches can be crowded. Keep in mind that If you come in late Autumn and Winter you’ll enjoy the sights but many places will be closed.