Last week I took advantage of the appointment with the #BTO Preview to treat me a day in Grosseto, Tuscany only town that did not know.
I left the trolley at the hotel and ran out to discover the ancient town, and I fell in love with it at first sight.
Grosseto is a city to experience
Entering the old town, I stopped an indefinite time at the beginning of Corso Carducci, to look around, and I felt at home. People talking, grandmothers at the windows making recommendations to grandchildren playing in the street, ringing bells and bikes, bikes everywhere. I would have loved so much to have a bike to enjoy this quiet town like a regular guest would do…
Despite the intermittent rain, I opted for a walk along the city walls, getting lost to look at the roofs of the town in the background listening to the bustle of the inhabitants, until the Cassero Senese, a defensive bulwark of the fourteenth century, that the Medici integrated into the bastion transforming the whole in a proper military citadel, with lots of storage for weapons and food, hospital, accommodation for the garrison, gunboats and beautiful parade ground in the center of which still stand an octagonal well.
The Cassero now home to the Tourist Office, and its tower is home to small exhibitions. I could visit one that probably does not attract a large public but that I truly loved… “On herbs and magic,” research conducted by Maurillo Boni, who over the years filled notebooks with legends, traditions, beliefs, stories, and recipes of farmers, housewives, cowboys, and sharecroppers of the Maremma. The result is a series of ancient remedies transcribed on tablets and including old-style cartoons.
Among the remedies that most struck me, the weight loss is with no doubt the winner. I knew of this “property” of the lizards cause of the effect they have on cats, but I had never imagined that someone could think of this solution to tackle obesity!!!
At a short walk from the Cassero, there is the Museum of Natural History of the Maremma, but I couldn’t visit it cause of mere miscalculation… I had not expected to let me carry away by the town.
Walking aimlessly from a street to the other, I found myself under the porch of Piazza Dante, who gave me brief shelter from the rain, just long enough to admire the colored marble side of the Cathedral, its bell tower, and the Renaissance neogothic province headquarters, Palazzo Aldobrandeschi. The white and pink church attracted me, and I had to get closer to see the carved panels in low relief and sinuous pillars. The sort of things I like 🙂
Around the corner, I couldn’t admire the façade because packaged due to the ongoing restoration, and then I entered directly. The interior did not particularly strike me. The plant is a Latin cross divided into three naves, and I focused only on the light games given by the side windows and the small central rose window.
My last visit was dedicated to the Church of San Francesco; a Benedictine monastery passed to the Franciscans. The whole complex is very simple and quiet. Especially the side cloister is beautifully framed by a narrow porch supported by octagonal columns. The central stone well is also very nice and known as the hoax.
Before leaving the old city, I strolled a bit more, getting lost, observing windows, people, and of course, bikes. Grosseto is so beautiful. Ancient walls are guarding it reminded me of Lucca, but here it’s less impressive… its beauty is more genuine and cool. Like a longtime girlfriend.
Accommodation: following a friend’s advice, I stayed at the Hotel Airone, at walking distance from both the train station and the ancient city.
Welcoming at the hotel was superb, and my room was really very spacious and equipped with all comforts. Breakfast was also good, especially the chocolate muffins and ginseng coffee to which I’m now addicted. I put the address on my notepad for the next stays here.
Eating: strolling around, I noticed a score on a chair… Puccini’s “La Bohème.” Al numero nove had me in a few seconds 😉
It is a tiny restaurant fully decorated, like a small cave full of interesting objects, pastel colors, and home cooking scents. I ate an excellent mushroom soup, followed by an equally good creme brulee. Do try it.
Looking for more information? Ask the Maremmans! Active both on their blog and on the social networks, they reply in a sec and know their territory by heart. The Guys at Maremma Toscana are also accommodating and efficient 🙂
Now I have to go back with the sun… and with my Canon!
More time to immerse in the boundless nature of Maremma I just saw would’ be bad either 😉