Castiglione della Pescaia is a bit like Cortona-on-the-sea with slightly less
panache. It is an extremely quaint town, dating back to the Etruscans and
historically a fishing port, situated between blue sea and green hills. It is
just 159 km from Cortona (1hr 30 mins to 2hrs driving) and makes for a
wonderful weekend break or even a day trip.
The sandy beaches with water at (adult) knee level make it ideal for
young families and one can choose from any number of hotels or well organised
and well run camping sites. There are
free beaches as well as paying ones and along the lungomare one can find paying beaches with restaurants open for a
basic (or depending which one you choose) an excellent lunch. It is one of the
principle summer tourist destinations for both Italian and foreign tourists, and
perhaps best avoided from mid-July to end August, unless you are young, footloose
and fancy free!
It is renowned for its beautiful beaches along which you can walk for
miles and has various nature reserves in the vicinity of great beauty and ornithological
interest – Parco dell’Uccellina in Albarese and the Diaccia Botrona - in which
flamingos take up their summer residence!
Nearby towns of interest are Vetulonia, one of the most important
Etruscan cities where one can visit the necropolis and archaeological museum;
Tirli which is renowned for its rustic and genuine cuisine; Buriano with its
Medieval castle and spectacular panoramic view of the Maremma and Punta Ala, a
luxurious tourist resort – largely frequented by the rich and/or famous – with
a marina said to have some of the most avant-garde equipment in the whole of
Castiglione della Pescaia itself is surrounded by a port, a part of
which is still used for traditional fishing boats bringing in their daily catch
– which is great to watch - but these days it is also used to moor private
yachts and boats, many of which can be chartered during the summer months for
trips around the Argentario, the islands of Elba, Giglio, Monte Cristo,
Giannutri, Capraia, Pianosa and the harbours of Punta Ala, Talamone, Marina di
Grosseto, Santo Stefano, Cala Galera and Ercole.
The town’s historical main high street and piazzas are somewhat
dominated by restaurants, but still very pretty and atmospheric. Walking up to
visit the Rocca (or Castle) which dates back to the 15th century, leads you
through quiet and peaceful alley ways with enormous charm. The Church of San Giovanni Battista with its
characteristic bell tower is something else to visit, as is the port with its
many magnificent boats.
Castiglione della Pescaia is also strong on food and wines. Excellent
wines are produced in the area, as are a variety of different cheeses and cured
meats. Fresh fish is on all menus and
wild boar is a traditional dish as are Tortelli alla Maremmana.
Definitely worth a visit if you are hankering for sun, sea and sand.