Tuscan Maremma

What to do in Capalbio and surroundings

Visit to the village of Capalbio in the Tuscan Maremma

Capalbio is a nice medieval village located in the south of tuscan Maremma about fifty kilometres from Grosseto. Nicknamed as “the small Athens“, each year Capalbio recalls thousands of tourists attracted by the village and local beaches.

The origin of its name is uncertain; it could come from latin “caput albulum” that means white head/chief, or from “caput Albii” Albio’s head.

Porta Senese and walls of Capalbio
Porta Senese and walls of Capalbio (Photo by Matteo Vinattieri / CC BY)

The area of Capalbio is inhabited since the bronze age but the first mention of it is in the 805 when its castle was donated by Charlemagne to the Abbazia dei Santi Anastasio e Vincenzo alle Tre Fontane. Between the 13th and the 15th centuries, the castle and the village of Capalbio became a domain of the counts Aldobrandeschi before and then of Orsini and Siena. This is a period of intense urban development during which are realized great works as the completion of the fortress and the renovation of the walls. Things got worse since the 16th century when, following the conquest of the Medici Capalbio was hit by a serious economic and demographic crisis. During the Granducato di Toscana it has lost its administrative autonomy and was marred by the plagues that afflicted the Maremma: malaria and brigandage.

What to do in Capalbio

Approaching to the historic town of Capalbio you’ll immediately notice two things:the city walls and an imposing castellated tower that stands out in the centre of the village. You have to know that the village features two walls and the innermost is accessible thanks to its panoramic walkway. The tower is part of the old Rocca Aldobrandesca behind which was built the beautiful Palazzo Collacchioni. Today these structures are open to public and if there is a good view from the walls, try to imagine how it can be from the top of the Tower!

What to do in Capalbio: The tower of the fortress in Capalbio
The tower of the fortress in Capalbio (Photo by Luca Aless / CC BY)

Near the fortress, in the central square,there’s the Chiesa di San Nicola. Built between 12th and 13th century but renovated in the fifteenth century, the Church has some interesting elements like some frescos (XV-XVI century) and some capitals sculpted with vegetal and zoomorphic decorations.

Church of San Nicola in Capalbio
Church of San Nicola (Photo by Matteo Vinattieri / CC BY)

Outside the walls we can find the Oratorio della Provvidenza, a small Renaissance church where there is a chapel frescoed by a pupil of Pinturicchio.

What to do around Capalbio

The surroundings of Capalbio are very appreciated by who love the sea and also by who is interested in nature. In addition to the many beaches that make up the Maremma Coast we recommend an oasis protected by the WWF at the Lago di Burano. The oasis is close to the sea separated only by a narrow strip of sand. On a shore of the Lake you will also find the XVI century Torre di Buranaccio.

Tower of Buranaccio near Capalbio
Tower of Buranaccio (Photo by Etrusko25 / CC BY)

Giardino dei Tarocchi

Located in Gravicchio, the Giardino dei Tarocchi (Tarot cards’ garden) is one of the most famous attractions in the area of Capalbio. Created by the french artist Niki de Saint Phalle, the garden hosts some big statues representing the 22 major arcana of the tarots. These statues, made with various materials such as steel, glass and ceramics, recall the to style of the Gaudì’s Park Güell in Barcelona.

The Garden of the Tarot cards near Capalbio
The Garden of the Tarot cards (Photo by Simone Ramella / CC BY)

How to get to Capalbio

By train: Capalbio has a train station near the lake of Burano, from there you have to take a bus to get to the village. Probably the best choice is to go to Orbetello by train an then to get the bus 120 Tiemme lines.

By bus: from Grosseto line 390 Tiemme till Orbetello the line 120.

By car:
From Florence (197 km) you have to take the Raccordo Autostradale Firenze-Siena till Siena (128 km) and the SS223 till Grosseto. Then Strada Statale 1 Via Aurelia E80 untill the exit Albinia-Giannella and continue on SR74 till the turn on Strada Provinciale di Capalbio.
From Rome (130 km) A1 till the exit for Capalbio.

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