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Trip Report Hey, La Maremma! Etruscan explorations, spectacular sentieri i spiagge

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This area came onto my radar via travel magazines, but it was not the fancy resorts that caught my attention, it was the wild nature—in particular Maremma park (aka Ucellina). It took years to get there, but I always knew the park would be the focus. Here are my planning threads:
Accommodation: (excellent!)
When a good fare to Pisa popped up, my first goal was to find a place to start off close to the airport. I am not an advocate of driving after an overnight flight, but DH (the driver) agreed about an hour was reasonable. Unfortunately the expected 4pm arrival time stretched to 8pm after a weather delay, and then an inexplicable miscount of the passengers by Air Dolomiti. Fortunately, Hertz was super efficient, the ominous weather stayed off in the distance, and the drive to Massa Marittima was easy—and even better, our host had made sure we would be fed! (Sadly, the late arrival meant we missed our reservation at La Padellaccia Del Viggia). Pizza (fresh porcini) and beer at I Tre Archi hit the spot, and we enjoyed the silence of the town (you could hear a pin drop—I am in love). The next morning, after coffee and pastries (superlatives fail me) at Le Logge, we explored the town and bought some loquats, birra artiginale, and a nice cheese to enjoy in the evening. We decided to go explore with the car, but first chose Le Logge again for lunch (really fantastic salad—three kinds of greens, peppers, fennel, etc. etc.--highly recommend!). While we sat, a group assembled outside the municipal building, one with an acoustic guitar--apparently for a wedding. Later they emerged and greeted the couple with song and flower petals. I am crying into my salad by this point, and we were moved to see that it was an older gay couple. Of course I know that Italy is not some backwater, but it took us by surprise in such a small town and it was just beautiful to observe.
After lunch, we decided to drive to the San Galgano abbey. It reminded us of a similar, smaller ruin in our home state of South Carolina. We had hoped there would be more walking paths around the site, but it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, and I got a nifty little book on using “herbs of the forest” in the church shop that will make for a fun translation project. (In retrospect, we wished we had gone to Monterotondo Marittimo to see the geological site). After some fruitless driving, we returned to town to explore some more and sort out dinner plans. We liked the looks and menu of Da Tronca, and we enjoyed it, but I ordered terribly. I have had sformato in the past that was light and custardy. The artichoke one I got was more like a heavy southern holiday casserole. Glad I had the tortelli too! My husband had his first cinghiale, which he liked.
On the night before, there had been full bars and live music, but this night everything was quiet, so we just had a drink at I Grassini and called it a night. We hated to leave Massa Marittima, as we could have stayed a week and not exhausted things to do in the region—and the locals were so friendly.
Next up, Orbetello

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