For a generic answer, the Maremma is a coastal flat land in the south of Tuscany which was greatly effected by malaria. For centuries mosquitoes caused a deadly epidemic, so much so that in the past a synonymy between Maremma and mortality was created. In Italian "maremma maiale", literally means a maremma pig. Well, it also has another meaning, a slang word which does not mean a good thing...
This definition is correct, but we are not quite there yet. In reality there is more than this, as there is more than one Maremma: Maremma Livornese, Maremma Grossetana and Maremma Viterbese.
So from the geographical point of view Maremma is the flat area along the coast, that stretches from Cecina ( Livorno county ) up to Viterbo in the region of Lazio.
During the centuries, the sea currents have created tomboli or dunes, even sort of sand bars, causing swampy lands to be created since this area is lower than sea level. Still nowadays, after heavy rains, there are often floods. This also explains why the ancient populations established themselves on top of the hills (in addition to the defensive reasons)... and this also explains why this area is less populated and considered an "unspoiled" area of Tuscany and Lazio.
The Grand Duchy of Florence, and then Leopoldo di Lorena in the 18th century and Mussolini in the early 20th century made great efforts to rid the area of malaria and reclaim the whole area. As a result, the land started to be extensively cultivated, in primes, with durum wheat.
This area is very fertile and produces strawberries, artichokes, melons, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, fennel, celery, onions, pine nuts etc.
In the area around Viterbo, farmers are able to get two wheat crops in one year, which is a sort of miracle in agriculture.
The Region is famous for the Etruscan civilization and one can visit archaeological sites such as Tarquinia, Baratti, etc. with its outstanding Museums. There are beautiful sand beaches and a very rocky coastline. The cuisine is based on wild boar, porcini mushrooms, pecorino cheese, honey, but also fresh fish when closer to the sea. Not to forget are the very important wineries that have been born in this last twenty years, such as: Petra, Tua Rita, Rocca di Frassinello, Tenuta dell'Ammiraglia, Le Pupille, Cantina Aldobrandesca , etc. The wine protagonist in this area is 100% of the red grape San Giovese, called Morellino. What you need to explore this area best is a car, as connections with public transportation are not the best. Next time we await you in the Maremma area of Tuscany... !
- Post by Angelica, photos by Elizabeth