Thursday, December 6, 2007


My beloved Maremma. As I have previously said, this is one of my five favorites in Italy. I have all sorts of pictures in my files about the Maremma, which show its versatility. Here, to the left, you see the horsemen (actually, a sort of cowboy) of the area, known as the butteri. It is said that the famous Buffalo Bill Cody took up a challenge with one of the butteri and was solemnly whooped. Perhaps because I am an American (and a native Californian) I love this conjunction of the civilized Italy with the wild West Italy. Just as I love the Po Delta.

But I'm getting ahead of myself in my great love for the region. Where is it? It's in Tuscany and Lazio, starting south of Livorno, through southern Tuscany and the province of Grosseto, and into northern Lazio (the region of which Rome is the capital). It is a territory that has been relatively preserved and not over-developed because until not so long ago it was plagued by poverty and misfortune, especially malaria. Many Italians, and especially their fellow Tuscans who are never at a loss for a negative word, remember the name of "Maremma maiala" (Maremma the pig). They're just jealous, don't listen to them.

Anyway. As I said, the Maremma extends down the coast of the Tyrrhenian sea. A charming characteristic is that you will always have the sea close at hand but also the country and hillsides nearby. The cuisine thus includes both fish and meat (including game), with fine wines. For example, the Sassicaia wine from the vicinity of Bolgheri is renowned.

There are natural parks and reserves. But there is also great art and history, or it wouldn't be Italy. Notably, the Etruscans have left their inscrutable mark on the entire coast, to the point that it is also known as the Riviera degli etruschi.

Food, wine, history, beaches, nature, sheepdogs, and cowboys!