… Ma di lontano
pace dicono al cuor le tue colline
con le nebbie sfumanti e il verde piano
ridente ne le pioggie mattutine.
– Giosuè Carducci
Tuscany is one of our best-selling destinations, which should be no surprise to anyone who knows anything at all about Italy. But to many people, Tuscany means Florence and the Chianti area, while they ignore the rest of the region. Some people do not know that Tuscany has a coast! The Maremma Toscana, a large area in southwestern Tuscany, is one of Italy’s most fascinating areas, and it’s home to one of our favorite Tuscan cooking vacations.
The Maremma has stood the test of time. Its history goes back to ancient times, to the Etruscans and Romans. Its Medieval and Renaissance history are tied to the Aldobrandeschi and Medici clans, and their traces can be seen still today in the buildings and walls of the towns and villages. Today it is one of the least touristy parts of the region.
As a student and then teacher of Italian literature, my favorite native son of the Maremma has always been Giosuè Carducci, the famous poet who became Italy’s first Nobel Private Laureate in 1906, and whose poem “Traversando la Maremma Toscana” is quoted in part above.
The gastronomy of the area is also rich. Originally very marshy, the land was reclaimed in the 20th century and offers an array of agricultural products and animal husbandry. The Tyrrhenian Sea meets the hills in many of the regional dishes. Some of the foods you might taste are wild boar, porcini mushrooms, and cured meats (from the hills) as well as seafood and fish (from the sea). One of its most known dishes is “acquacotta,” or “cooked water,” a peasant soup made of water, leftover vegetables, onion, tomato, olive oil, and stale bread.
What the Maremma is most known for gastronomically, however, is probably its wines. Home to the famed Sassicaia and Ornellaia wines, the Maremma Toscana is a recognized “Denominazione d’Origine Protetta” (DOP) and includes DOC and DOCG wines such as Montecucco, Soavana, Parrina, Monteregio, and Morellino di Scansano.
You can visit this wonderful area during our Truly Tuscany: Wine Tasting Tour on Tuscany’s Western Coast cooking vacation and food and wine tour. It is one of our best and most unique offerings, and one that is sure to be a highlight of your experiences in Italy.
By Peg Kern
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