[MONTE ARGENTARIO | MAREMMA, TUSCANY] — Maremma is the southern edge of Tuscany and goes from the hilly and ferrous inland to the varyingly wild-horse-roaming, swampy and rocky coast. A lot of people just hang out in eastern Tuscany — what Conde Nast Traveller funnily dubbed Chiantishire — and don’t know much about “Hidden Tuscany”, the underdeveloped and handsomely rugged western side. Where we’re going now is Monte Argentario, once an island, but like my stomach, grew beyond its britches, loosened the top button and is now double-belted to the shore. Go check it out on google maps. Some call Monte Argentario the Capri of Tuscany, but I think it is more of its own special thing, much much mellower, less crowded and more treed. Long
[SATURNIA, TUSCANY] — Just a few miles from Pitigliano is a cool sulfur hot springs called Saturnia. Just a nice little natural stop to have lunch among all the undiscovered hill towns of Maremma. It’s not much more than a slit in the earth on the side of the road, but it is still cool. If you want a fancier spa-like experience, check out the Terme di Saturnia resort a few blocks up the road. The springs date back to the Pelasgi, who were before the Greeks, before the Etruscans and waaay before the Romans finally hung out here in 200BC or so. So like me, the springs are very old but dependable, bubbly and naturally effervescent. 😜 Last visited October 2012
[PITIGLIANO, MAREMMA TUSCANY] — One of the great medieval hill towns of Maremma in western Tuscany is the quiet little town of Pitigliano. Not overly crowded, no cars in the city center, it’s a great town to stop in for a walk ’round and have a nice long lunch. Here’s a great guide that says it better than I could. View Larger Map
[PORTO ERCOLE, TUSCANY] — Il Pellicano is a world famous destination resort on the western Tuscan coast of Maremma. Just celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary, Il Pellicano is on the top of nearly every Gold List. It’s a Leading Hotels of the World hotel and is built around the Michelin two-star restaurant, which is indeed worth the trip. The views are stunning, overlooking the Argentario peninsula, not far from where the Costa Concordia tipped over. Really amazing service, where each and every person, from the waiter to the bartender, remembers what you ordered the last time. It’s expensive, but the room I got was one of the most spacious and perfectly appointed I’ve ever had, perfectly laid out, with an enormous bathroom and opened onto a terrace overlooking
NOTE: THESE ARE LOUSY SCANS OF LOUSY PICTURES FROM A LONG TIME AGO, CLICK THE LINKS TO SEE PRETTY PICTURES FROM THEIR SITE: [MONTAIONE, TUSCANY] — Let the hoards of English, Germans and Americans crowd the overly popular Under The Tuscan Sun areas south of Florence and the tourist-choked villages of Montepulciano. To me, I loved staying on the western edges of Tuscany centered around the cool and undiscovered town of Montaione. The geography of this area is more farmland than grapes and a prime hunting ground. And Villa Cerretello is the perfect villa. Part of a larger private farm that includes other agriturismo villas, hunting grounds, the massive Villa Cerretello is the perfect base for entertaining lots of your friends. While it’s big, when you
[ORVIETO, ITALY] — About an hour’s drive north of Roma is the mountain top village of Orvieto. It’s a great mid-day stop if you’re on your way form Rome to Florence or Tuscany. Really cool church, with really modern-looking stripey theme going on, everywhere. Excellent stop for lunch in the quiet town, or for the perfect overnight, sleep in the former convent-turned-hotel La Badia, an excellent property to sit, relax, a sip on a nice Orvieto crisp white wine. In winter, they have a great fireplace.