This is the Maremma From issue 76 • Words and images by Paolo Ciaberta

Welcome to the Maremma, an area of Italy that stretches between the provinces of Livorno and Grosseto in southwest Tuscany. It’s a region with magnificent roads, old frontiers and paths that aid the ancient practice of transhumance in this land of animal herders. The road network in the Maremma offers an amazing variety of routes: tarred roads suited to the thin and sensitive tires of road bikes, gravel byroads for more versatile machines and trails for those looking for wild itineraries through the thick scrub, or macchia.

PELOTON

It’s a timeless region offering magnificent itineraries, with 1,300 kilometers of road, gravel and mountain bike routes that go from the marshland to the hills, and along secondary traffic roads that hug the coastal cliffs and beaches. The Maremma has wide spaces and breathtaking horizons, ancient village and hillocks, Etruscan ruins and environmentally protected areas. Here, history has left indelible traces, especially in the “tuff culture” area between Sorano and Pitigliano, where the tuff, an igneous rock, is the element that characterizes the beautiful hilltop villages of this border area.

But the Maremma is not just about culture and landscapes. It’s also a region rich in traditional produce to be tasted and savored while drinking a good glass of wine. Sea, hills and mountains meld perfectly into the region’s foods: the acquacotta (a vegetable soup with tomato and egg), tortelli vegetables and ricotta with gravy, pici al ragù (pasta similar to spaghetti with meat) and pappa al pomodoro (tomato soup). These simple, honest dishes are strong or mild, fragrant or sharp. Both the wines and olive oils from the Maremma are famous the world over. Here you can find the Colli di Maremma wine route, featuring one of the princes of Tuscan reds, Morellino di Scansano, that’s produced from Sangiovese grapes.

Cycling through the Maremma is a sensorial journey where nature, history and tradition go hand in hand. The landscapes open up as you ride, drawing undulating profiles of land against the shining sky. And you might witness the centuries-old custom of transhumance, in which cattle and sheep are herded down the cowboy and shepherd roads from the Apennines to the pastures of the Maremma. Indeed, with its vineyards, old Etruscan paths and the hot springs of Saturnia, the Maremma is one more pearl to add to the enduring beauty of Tuscany.