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Sea to shore: the Maremma is an unexpected Tuscan landscape

Get back to nature at these three top beauty spots on the Tuscan coast

By Sean Caulfield

Whichever way you turn in the Tuscan countryside, your eyes are sure to settle on a wonderful view. Yet this landscape isn’t all about sentries of olive groves and vineyards, it’s also home to wilder patches of nature. Here are three of our favourites close to the coast.

Tuscan Archipelago National Park

This national park covers a stretch of the Med from Livorno in the north to the Lazio border in the south, taking in seven main islands off the Tuscan coast, including Elba, where Napoleon was exiled. Carved by the waves over the millennia, each of the islands in the archipelago has its distinct shape and character, from the rocky cone of Montecristo to the flatlands of Pianosa, and is inhabited by plants and wildlife that have been influenced not only by the marine location but the arrival of man and years of mining, too.

Maremma Natural Park

South-east of the city of Grosseto is one of Tuscany’s most unexpected landscapes, the unspoilt coastline of the Maremma. Once this was a malarial swamp, only ventured into by the local cowboys, known as butteri, a community that is dwindling but can still be seen herding cattle here today. The result is untrammelled nature now protected by law, a place to wiggle your feet in the sand on a beach backed by dunes and thick pine woods, and frolic in the clear waters of rocky coves where pirates once hid out.

Val Di Cornia

Rich in archaeological sites and natural assets, the Val di Cornia, near Livorno, delivers both history and beauty. Its historic trail stretches back through feudal times, evident in the layout and fabric of local towns, to the Romans and Etruscans, whose tombs can be seen in abundance at the Baratti and Populonia Archaeological Park. Alternatively, you could just enjoy the scene; the river Cornia meanders through fertile plains cloaked in olive groves and oak woods where wild boar rootle in the scrub on its way to the nearby coast.

To Tuscany has a fantastic range of coastal villas.

Over 20 years ago, I moved to Tuscany with my Italian wife and founded To Tuscany as a villa rental company. Our first rentals were in a country residence in Chianti and we offered guests a tailored vacation using our local knowledge and personal service. Today, you can experience the same at over 600 superb villas.

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