Maremma Natural Park (www.parco-maremma.it) stretches itself from North to South for 25 kms along that segment of the Tuscany Coast which goes from Principina a Mare, near the mouth of the river Ombrone, to the village of Talamone, offering wide panoramic views of a mediterranean coast that’s mostly still intact. From the calcareous cliffs to the fine sand of Cala di Forno, a goal for well-trained walkers, from the thousand-year old Abbey of San Rabano to the vista over the Serrata dei Cavalleggeri and the Grand-Ducal pine forest that can be enjoyed from the top of the rocky spur and the medieval tower or Castelmarino, from the Uccellina mountains to the paths that twist and turn amongst the fragrant macchia mediterranea, Maremma Natural Park is a magical universe full of legendary stories. Here, half-way between the sky and the sea, you’ll be able to admire landscapes of ancient beauty. A little over 30 minutes from Villa Zen.
Founded in 1975, Maremma Natural Park covers 10,000 hectares within the Province of Grosseto. It’s overlooked by the Uccellina mountains, the highest peak being Poggio Lecci at 417 mts, and the river Ombrone, which flows into the sea in the northern part of the protected area, giving life to the Trappola swamp, Wetland of International Importance and a true faunistic and botanical paradise.
The Alberese Visits’ Centre regulates the daily tours: you can have fun choosing between footpaths, bike trails, canoeing trails, and horse riding or carriages paths. However, remember that all tours can only be undertaken with a tour guide and, in some instances, advance booking is necessary.
Maremma Natural Park is a positive example of how environmental conservation can coexist with human activities that are rooted in this territory. A steady integration which has contributed to the preservation of a unique mosaic of ecosystems on the Tuscany Coast: the long strip of golden sand, the dunes covered by the tenacious native vegetation, the pine forests with their multiple shades of green, the banks of the river Ombrone and the coastal swamps, which here are called “chiari”, a treasure chest of biodiversity which is the dream of every birdwatcher.
In the heart of the Natural Park of Maremma, Farmhouse Alberese is one of the biggest farms in Europe run accordingly to bio-agricultural farming practices. Here you’ll discover the products of a remarkably generous land, like the Tuscan Extra-virgin Olive Oil and the Morellino di Scansano Docg, along with breeding practices. In fact, at Alberese Farmhouse the ancient role of the buttero (herdsman) still exists, a necessary figure in the breeding of the free-range herds in these limitless landscapes.
Like real-life cowboys in a local Far West, the butteri ride on their horses from dawn to sunset, busy jumping ditches, opening and closing gates, gathering and moving rowdy colts and placid Maremmanas (the local breed of cattle) with their big lyre-shaped horns. Solitary horsemen safeguarding and passing on ancestral knowledge, the butteri experience their annual moment of glory at Alberese on August 15th, during the “Rodeo of the Rose”, showcasing their skills, courage and quick reflexes in a series of challenges like catching calves, gathering cattle and equestrian choreographies.
The rodeo culminates in a challenge where participants have to steal the rose of fabric that each of them has on their arm while riding their horses. A rustic and genuine event, just like this land which preserves unchanging traditions and creates vivid sensations in the curious souls.
If you want to experience a fully relaxing vacation without giving up the adrenaline of adventure, book a stay at Villa Zen, an exclusive abode in the perfect location to explore the Tuscany Coast and the hinterland full of visual, natural, historical and gastronomical inspirations.