Explore Maremma Walking Festival

Explore Maremma Walking Festival is an initiative designed to maximize the potential of this area, in which the unspoiled and almost wild countryside often hides magical and hidden places such as ruins, ancient places of worship, and fortresses. Nature, history and archeology are the main themes of the Explore Maremma Walking Festival, typically celebrated during one week in June and another in September. Every day a hiking guide in the area leads a free trail excursion and introduces visitors to all of its secrets and its peculiarities. The excursions are offered by passionate guides who have spent years working in the area, and are experts on the paths and sights of the region. This year’s summer edition will run from Wednesday 1 to Sunday, 5 June. In the fall, excursions will be available from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 and Friday 23 to Sunday 25 September.

June program

Wednesday 1 

Between mysticism and magical waterfalls: Eremo di Ripatonna Cicognina, Cascate Salabrona and Pelico Tonno

The “hermitages” of the Fiora River and its tributaries are magical places where, since medieval times, hermits and monks retreated in silent prayer and meditation, escaping their surroundings. Often they occupied, restructured and transformed abandoned Etruscan graves into hermitages, in what are today stunning examples of rock art and sacred architecture.

Built on a tufa wall overlooking the Olpeta River, a few hundred meters from the point where it flows into the Fiora, the floor plan of this hermitage is quite complex. Indeed, it is impossible to say for sure if this hermitage was originally Etruscan and then altered to fit the needs of the devout.

The settlement shows evidence of an elaborate and multifunctional living space with distinct areas that would have been used as a church, accommodation, pantry, kitchen and washing rooms.

Inhabited between the fifteenth and seventeenth century by the monks of the nearby Benedictine Abbey of San Colombano, the church in the center of the settlement still contains visible traces of frescoes depicting San Antonio Abate, which probably date to the 15th century. Today, these are preserved in the Museo Civico Archeologico “Pietro and Turiddo Lotti”.

The remains of an ancient water source hidden among the vegetation are located at the base of the hermitage.

Meeting point: Ponte San Pietro (Ischia di Castro)

Hours: 10

Duration: 4 hours

Length: 12 Km from Manciano by car to the beginning of the path and then another 3 km (approx) walk

Difficulty: medium

Height climb about 250 meters

Excursion type: Archeological- nature hike

Thursday 2 June 

Between mysticism and magical waterfalls: Eremo di Poggio Conte

The hermitages were often ancient inhabited sites that were adapted to places of prayer and meditation in the Middle Ages by monks and hermits. This area in particular was frequented by Benedictine and Cistercian monks, and the hermitage of Poggio Conte is immersed in nature on the banks of the Fiora River. The interior of hermitage contains a carved chapel decorated with frescoes dating back to the 13th century depicting floral designs, saints and apostles, ancient symbols and other unidentified characters. Legend has it that the place was also the refuge of the Knights Templar; indeed it is not far from the convent of St. Columbano, patron saint of the Order of Knights.

Meeting point: Ponte San Pietro (Ischia di Castro)

Time: 10:00

Duration: 3 hours

Length: 12.3 Km from Manciano to travel by car to the beginning of the path and then another 3 km. (approx) walking

Difficulty: Easy

Duration: 3 hours

Differences in height: about 91m-170 m

Excursion Type: Archaeological – nature hike

Saturday 4 June 

The mysteries of the Etruscans: from Pitigliano to Sovana, through the via cava di San Giuseppe

From the ancient village of Pitigliano we travel through the Etruscan cave road of San Giuseppe, immersing ourselves In the Etruscan world until we reach the village of Sovana for a walking tour of the city’s historic attractions. The “Vie Cave” are ancient streets carved by the Etruscans in the tufa stone and were used to move through the area, and a walk through them brings visitors into a totally unique ambiance that connects them to the nature and history of this ancient land. Native foliage and vegetation creates a canopy over the road that sends shadows and light dancing along the walls, and on the pavement you can see the imprints of donkey hooves that have accompanied men to work the land for centuries. The cave road is full of mysticism: engravings, symbols along the walls and the numerous cemeteries or graves along the way bring us closer to our ancestors.

Meeting point: entrance historical center of Pitigliano.

Departure time: 9:00.

Duration: about 3 hours.

Length:

Difficulty: medium.

Sunday 5 June 

Saturnia and Il Fiume Bianco

This is a chance to discover the wildest and most hidden part of Saturnia. The itinerary brings visitors through restored trails along the Albegna River near the ruins of the ancient Roman Bridge, and is fascinating for those interested in nature and archaeology. There is also a chance to bathe in the natural pools of the river (water permitting)!

Meeting point: Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Saturnia

Hours: 9:30

Duration: 3 ½ hours

Length: 6 km

Difficulty: easy excursion (also suitable for children above 8 years of age)

Obligatory apparel:

-closed hiking shoes

-shoes, closed sandals, boots for advanced rock and water (put in your bag just in case)

-1L of water per person

-bonnet or sunhat

-layered clothing suitable for the season