Grosseto: The Heart of Tuscany
Grosseto may not be as world famous as some of the other cities in Tuscany, like Florence or Pisa but it is as beautiful and filled with Tuscan treasures as any other Etruscan or Roman city. It isn’t as old as some of the other cities in Tuscany either as it was formally founded in 1138. Some of the local country residents of Maremma consider their laid back and slow days are the best and consider Grosseto to be too “busy” for them even though it is little more than a larger than average town.
The town’s center has only one main street. But that street boasts elegant and traditional shops that include even a wedding dress shop. Visitors will also find bookstores, ceramics, fresh produce, bakery items, and coffee shops and restaurants.
At the heart of Grosseto is the Piazza Dante. Everything in this piazza faces a statue of Leopoldo II – who is depicted standing tall with a desperate-looking woman and an adoring child at his feet. Continue on the street to a canopy of wood and stone to find more elegant shops. At the end of this stroll is the grand Palazzo della Provincia which captures the eye with the view of a proud, military-esque facade. At the other end of this walk you will view the white marble Cattedrale di San Lorenzo which is a symbol and ever-present testament of Grosseto’s rich religious heritage.
When experiencing all that Grosseto has to offer, one has to step off the main street and walk the winding and ancient alleyways. If this is the direction taken there are beautiful little shops, oak lined pathways and find Parco Regionale della Maremma one of the most enchanting nature reserves in the territory.
Here are some other attractions not to miss:
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo: a 12th Century Gothic Cathedral
Chiesa di San Pietro: a well-preserved church that is adorned with Romanesque sculptures and stone arches
Chiesa di San Francesco: a medieval church that has been redecorated over the course of the centuries and once was a convent for Grosseto’s Franciscans priests
Palazzo della Provincia: looks more like a castle than a palazzo and is an example of the medieval art of Maremma
Teatro degli Industri: once a refuge for pilgrims and then a warehouse – it has been transformed into an elegant theater
Cinta Muraria are the city walls which are a standout because of their irregular hexagon shape and battalion
La Porta Vecchia: this is the street that leads into the city with the impressive stone arch decorated with carvings and fading inscriptions
Rusellae (Roselle): an open air museum where one can wander through the ruins of buildings, necropolises and city walls that are as they have been over the centuries
Museolab: An experimental-sort of museum, it explains and describes the research methods used by new and old archeologists to recreate past events
Museo di Storia Naturale della Maremma: filled with wonderful exhibitions and explicative panels that capture the history and changes over the centuries in this territory
Acquario Comunale: Part of the Museo di Storia Naturale della Maremma, this aquarium has a large collection of fish and shells from local waters, the Mediterranean Sea and other more tropical locations
Museo di Arte Sacra della Diocesi di Grosseto: Located in the 19th century Palazzo del Vecchio Tribunale in Grosseto’s main piazza, this museum captures Grosseto’s rich and colourful religious past.
Museo Archeologico e d’Arte della Maremma: In 1860, Grosseto’s public library was opened with a small exhibition of ancient sacred relics lovingly collected by Giovanni Chelli. Today these objects are the heart of this museum.
Parco Regionale della Maremma
Stretched over 9,800 hectares, the Parco Regionale della Maremma or Parco dell’Uccellina is quite simply paradise.
Festambiente – August
A celebration of the local’s respect for the environment and the fragile ecosystem that surrounds their city.
Festa dell’Olio, Batignano, November
Live music, oil, wine and local product tasting, a mountain bike race, arts and crafts stalls, kid’s activities – pretty much everything you could want from a festival rolled into one action-packed weekend