The Tuscan shoreline is at its best in the Maremma region; the name derives from maríttima, referring to the coastal strip and inland hills of the Provincia di Grosseto, Tuscany’s southernmost province. The northern heartland of the Etruscans, this became depopulated in the Middle Ages after wars disrupted the drainage schemes and allowed malarial swamps to build up behind the dunes. The area became almost synonymous with disease, and nineteenth-century guides advised strongly against a visit – even so, butteri cowboys roamed freely then, as now, taking care of the region’s half-feral horses and its celebrated white cattle. Today, the provincial capital of Grosseto remains uninspiring, though there are some patches of fine scenery – notably the Monti dell’Uccellina, protected in the Parco Naturale della Maremma, and the wooded peninsula of Monte Argentario.
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