“Here time has stopped and one listens to the silence”. This is how the hamlet of Montemerano welcomes its visitors, with the words written on a plaque on its ancient church that today houses a theatre. These words still ring true today. For though a lot of Tuscany’s towns can claim to be timeless, Maremma’s distinctive isolation really does seem to disconnect it from the present day.
One of the most photogenic squares in the Maremma:
If you venture to this southern corner of Tuscany and pass into the centre of Montemerano through its stone doors, you’ll be rewarded by a delightful square. This is Piazza del Castello, an enchanting space of stone, arches and loggias adorned with flowers.
The rest of the village is a maze of tiny squares and secret passages running away between high walls. But this town, surrounded by the low-lying Maremma countryside has got another surprise in store: the Church of San Giorgio, famous for its frescos and the intriguing story of the “Madonnna of the cat”.
What to see in Montemerano:
Piazza del Castello, probably one of the most picturesque squares in the Maremma, and the most photographed, thanks to its pretty doors, loggias, and the laundry hanging out to dry from the window.
Church of San Giorgio: This church is a wonderful rattlebag the of region’s art.
Late Gothic frescoes include a “Last Judgment” complete with man-eating Satan and devils. There’s a 15th century painting depicting San Giorgio and the dragon and a 7th century chapel with Rococo decor. Don’t miss the “Madonna della gattaiola”, a XV century depiction of the Virgin painted on wood. Legend has it that a priest once made a hole in the painting to allow cats to us it as a door, hence its name.
How to get there:
Montemerano is 55 km. south of Grosseto, and the best way to reach is by car. Public transports are sparse (the closest train station is Albinia and there are buses that connect Albinia to Montemerano)
Nearby you can visit the town of Manciano and Saturnia hot springs.