The town of Grosseto, of etruscan and later roman heritage, is situated in the Maremma region of southern Tuscany and lies on a plain next to the Ombrone river.
For many years the Maremma used to be one of the poorest and unhealthiest parts of Italy, as it was covered in swamps, origin of diseases such as malaria and cholera.
However it started developing in the 16th century when Florence's Medici ruler Cosimo I undertook construction of fortified walls, buildings and canals. He decided this was necessary as Grosseto had large stores of grain and salt that needed protecting.
In the mid 18th century the Grand Dukes of Lorraine, in particular Leopold II, drained the swamps and turned the countryside into fertile land. His engineering works earned him a monument dedicated to him by the town's inhabitants, visible in the main square.
Today Grosseto's old town with the hexagonal walls and the large Medici fortress, with its fascinating tunnels and gatehouses give evidence of its Renaissance rulers.
Other buildings of interest include the San Francesco Romanesque-Gothic church, which has a large collection of artworks and the Archaeological Museum, which houses finds from sites around the area. One of these is the Roselle site, which offers a rare example of Etruscan and Roman remains.
Grosseto is a must-visit not only for the history, art and food of but also because it can be used as a base to explore the surrounding countryside of the Maremma with its sea-pine forest, nature park and hills.
The Medicean Walls
The walls were begun by Francesco I de Medici in 1574, replacing those from the 12th-14th centuries. The construction took 19 years and was completed under Grand Duke Ferdinando I.
There were two main gates: Porta Nuova on the north and Porta Reale (now Porta Vecchia) on the south. The walls are now used as a public park and walking area.
The Romanesque cathedral of St. Lawrence (from its patron) is the main monument of the city .
It was begun at the end of the 13th century by a sienese architect and finished only in the 15th century (mainly due to the continuing struggles against Siena). The campanile (bell tower) was finished in 1402.
Church of San Francesco
Situated in the S. Francesco square, it was built in the 13th century. It was initially an important Benedectine convent, later become. The complex underwent several restorations and reconstructions: the bell was rebuilt in the first half of the 20th century.
Convent of Clarisse: of medieval origins, it is annexed to the Church of Bigi. Both are now desecrated. They underwent a series of restorations in Baroque style in the 17th century.
Church of San Pietro: it is the oldest religious building in town.
Church of Misericordia (19th century). It belonged to various religious orders during the following centuries, before moving on brotherhood in the early decades of the 19th century.
Palazzo Aldobrandeschi: of medieval origins, it was almost entirely rebuilt in the early 19th century. It is now a Neo-Gothic edifice with ogival mullioned windows and merlons in the upper part of the walls. It houses the seat of the province of Grosseto.
Palazzo Comunale (Town hall), located on the north side of piazza Dante, to the left of the churchyard of the Cathedral. The building, of uncertain origin, was built in the neo Renaissance, in the second half of the 19th century.
Teatro degli Industri: one of the main site of culture in Grosseto, it is an old building rebuilt in the 19th century.
Cassero del Sale, built in the 14th century as the point of production, distribution and export of salt, coming from the old salt marshes existing along the coast. Now the building hosts the university center of Grosseto.
Grand Hotel Bastiani, located in an impressive neoclassical style palace that facing on via Manin, with a short road that leads toward piazza Dante.
Palace of the Old Court, seat of the Museum of Archeology and Art of Maremma since 1975, overlooking the south side of piazza Baccarini. The present building, formerly courthouse, was built in neo Renaissance in the second half of 19th century replacing an existing building of medieval origin.
Palazzo del Genio Civile, typical building built in the early 20th century, it shows fine decorations that recall the neo-Renaissance and the Art Nouveau.
Teatro degli Industri, old building rebuilt in the 19th century. It is one of the most important centre of culture of Grosseto.
Teatro Moderno, a modern theatre located outside the city walls.
Unknown Soldier Monument
Well of Spedale
Well of Buffalo
Well of Fortezza
The Etruscan site of Roselle.
Granducal villa of Alberese
Medieval buildings in the frazioni of Batignano, Istia d'Ombrone and Montepescali.
Torciata di San Giuseppe, Pitigliano, 19 Marzo
Il Balestro del Girifalco, Massa Marittima, two times a year: around 20 May and the second Sunday of August
Capalbio Cinema - International Short Film Festival, Capalbio, at the beginning of July
Toscana Fotofestival - Massa Marittima, in July and August
Rodeo della Rosa - Alberese, 15 August
Palio Marinaro dell'Argentario - Porto S. Stefano, 15 August
Le Carriere del 19 - Scarlino, 19 August