Holidaying and Eating in Italy 2018 (Part Two): Maremma, Tuscany

Just look at this chef’s face! He’s happy, very happy and so are we who enjoy his food. Bruno was born and raised in Naples and has lived in Maremma for a long time now (after many stints abroad). His cooking is on a professional level, the dishes elegantly presented, yet homey and heart warming. The food we are served at this superb place is cooked from scratch and Bruno painstakingly takes care of every detail on the plate. Deservingly, he enjoys our praise very much.

Additional points (!)  for the inconspicuous yet conscientious way they limit food waste to the minimum at that wonderful estate. I like the inventive ways in which the occasional “leftover” buffet breakfast food is used up for dinner. There is, namely, absolutely no good reason for perfectly fine food to be thrown away.

It’s not only food and wine why we love to return there. Tuscany, reportedly one of the greatest Italian tourist regions, enjoys a well-deserved reputation for breathtaking countryside, excellent food and exquisite wines – all the wonderful and obvious reasons to love it. Maremma, on the other hand, as a micro region, is in comparison slightly less under tourists’ siege, which suits us perfectly.

Massa Marittima

When, many years ago, I first stepped onto the town square with the Duomo, I caught my breath and jaw. It’s breathtakingly huge and beautiful presiding over the extraordinary town. It happens to me still, every time.


It’s probably most recognised for morellino di Scansano  but for us it’s a spectacular village on the way to thermal baths of Saturnia. The piazza with Garibaldi statue is a two-way road (very Italian).

Castiglione della Pescaia

It seems to be just another seaside resort town but it is so much more. The fortress above the old town offers magnificent views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. There’s a long long (and very wide) strip of immense pine trees along the coast. To take a  break off the road in this town (lots of equisite shops! franciacorta bar!) is a good decision every time.


We don’t limit ourselves geographically, no, no, not us, we love to look around.


Wonderful ancient town, drenched in hot sun that seems to reside in beautiful Val d’Orcia with its most photographed imagery.

San Gimignano

This time we only waved to slender towers driving past that typical Tuscan town: ancient, hilltop, walled.


Millenia old Etruscan town sits not on a hill but virtually a mountain: dramatic views all around. It’s as beautiful and elegant as a Tuscan town can be.

Our holiday was, as it usually is, a curving weave of all kinds of delights: beautiful places, imposing buildings, natural wonders, artworks, exquisite food, excellent wine, sulphur thermal baths, crafts, nice people, fun adventures, colours, scents, a bit of a beach, sea and much more.

Having a comfortable and elegant haven to return to after each day spent exploring under the hot Tuscan sun is essential for us. As is dressing up for dinner and enjoying aperitivo on the terrace prior to being served delicious food.

It’s no secret we develop our own traditions and one of them is certainly to have lunch in Florence whenever we’re to drive by it. We plan our travel arrangements around Trattoria Sostanza’s working hours, that’s how much we like the food there. In a little, hole-in-the-wall restaurant in a narrow residential street, they spoil us rotten with delicious trippa and fagioli bianchi freschi among other things.

No way I was gonna miss a stroll along my favourite Florentine street:

After having travelled the plains of Veneto and the river Po, past Padua, Bologna, Ferrara, Ravenna, San Marino, after having stopped for a few days in wonderful Urbino, and having enjoyed discovering beautiful Fano and Gradara on the Adriatic coast, then having headed across the Apennines to the other Italian coast, to the shores of Tyrrhenian Sea, to Maremma, the enchanting southern part of Tuscany, we were about to make the whole loop, certainly not without stopping for the farewell lunch in Florence, but before that we happened to need a break from the road and took it in Bologna.

Some things, like the ice cream pause we took in Bologna on our way back home, occur on a whim. We had the good fortune to be in the neighbourhood, which actually means a detour off the autostrada, because ice cream at La Sorbetteria Castiglione is easily the best both of us ever had (it hasn’t deteriorated one bit ever since our first trip to Bologna several years ago).

I guess remembering this holiday will benefit me 100%.



Part 1 of our 2018 Italian getaway From Veneto to Marche

A beautiful oasis in Maremma Il Sassone

Lunch spot in Castiglione della Pescaia

Lovely enoteca (with wonderful snacks) in Massa Marittima

An absolute must

The Economy of Tuscany

Why reminiscing about old times can boost your health

Bruno Salerno, chef


One thought on “Holidaying and Eating in Italy 2018 (Part Two): Maremma, Tuscany”

  1. I like reading your blog. Posts are very consistent, full of small but important details which are not generally known. Excellent way to explore the best of Italy or any other country you write of. It’s a perfect mix of lives of the local people, food, art, history, natural beauties and all other ……… beautiful things. Keep going and I hope to read you soon also in a column of one of my favourite print editions such as FT Weekend.

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