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Photo ©Enrico Bottino

Cowboys, cattle, and open spaces

Exploring the Nature Park of the Maremma

The Monastery of S. Rabano and the Torre dell’Uccellina
- Credit: Enrico Bottino

Starting from the Alberese Visitor Center, after buying the entry ticket for the Nature Park of the Maremma, you can follow via del Bersagliere until you reach the parish of Alberese, built in 1937 in a modern Romanesque style. Here you can start the A1 Tour that takes you through the woods and goes up to the Benedictine Monastery of S. Rabano. The medieval ruins of this abbey complex, which are undergoing a conservative restoration, are located in a depression, quietly nestled among tall oak trees between Poggio Uccellina and Poggio Lecci. This 11th-century religious center, created in a Lombard Romanesque style by the Cassinesi Benedictine monks, was transformed into a fortress and then abandoned in 1331 after the last line of Cistercian monks and Jerusalemite knights of San Giovanni Battista del Priorato di Pisa passed away. This is the beautiful spot where the Torre dell’Uccellina stands. This tower was built in 1321 and raised in the 16th century. Along with other Saracen watchtowers along the coast, the Torre dell’Uccellina warned the population when Turkish pirates landed. This watchtower is about 22 meters tall and has four floors. From here, you can view the Tuscan Archipelago and the Monti dell’Uccellina.

Torre di Collelungo
- Credit: Enrico Bottino

From the ruins of the complex of the Church of S. Maria Alborense, you can head down along the A1 Tour path towards the Collelungo olive grove. You can then cross the plain following the A2 Tour that shows you where to find the Collelungo promontory and the 16th-century Tower of the same name. There’s nothing left of the Saracens, but their watchtowers offer exceptionally beautiful views over the sea and the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago.

third stop
The Beach and the Torre di Castel Marino
- Credit: Robert67 - Shutterstock.com

Continuing on the A2 Tour, you will head closer to sea level. The vegetation around the sand dunes shows you just how close the sea is. Along this path you’ll find deer and even wolves in the Mediterranean scrub and along the sandy shore. Wise hikers will remember to pack bathing suits and towels to enjoy this well-deserved break. From the sandy shore, fit travelers can climb to the Torre di Castel Marino, continuing along the A2 Tour. This 12th-century watchtower offers you a beautiful panorama of the sea and the vast, thriving coastal pine grove. After reclamation works in the 1700s, this pine grove replaced the swamps that extended from the mouth of the Ombrone river to the Monti dell’Uccellina.

fourth stop
Pineta Granducale
- Credit: Shutterstock.com / Francesco Carniani

From the beach, you can start along the A3 Tour that follows an old drainage canal up to Ponte Tartarughe, the pivot point where different paths of the Nature Park of the Maremma branch off. Walking along, immersed in the beautiful and peaceful countryside of the Pineta Granducale, our tour will direct you to Pinottolai. Walk for 16,000 meters in the shade of local pine trees that were planted in the 1700s by the Grand Dukes of the Lorena dynasty after the canalization of the marshy area, which previously fostered malaria. Along this route, if you’re lucky, you might see some deer, boars and roe deer. Wild rabbits, hares, wolves, porcupines, badgers, martens, stone martens, skunks and weasels also live in this protected area. When there’s good weather, the Park Authority’s shuttlebus can take hikers back to the Albarese Visitor Center. The service is suspended from November 1st through mid-March (for more info, call: 0564.407098). In this period, we would suggest bringing a car to Pinottolai.


For information about logistics, ticket purchases and the shuttlebus from the Park’s Visitor Centers, please refer to the website

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