Italy travel - Tuscany.
Monte Argentario – is a hilly island in the Tyrrhenian sea in the Grosseto Province, which turned out to be a magnificent Italian peninsula in the middle of rocky coastline. It’s hard to believe it is not soaked with tourists, which makes the place even more remarkable. Morover, it is located only 1.5h drive from Rome, which makes it the closest airport city. I would highly recommend to get a car, also to have a chance to explore this fascinating region. I’m not sure if you can get there by bus, although I’ve seen few bus stops around the island, but I can’t recognise seeing any bus. I was told the public transport basically does not exist in this region. Most of the peninsula is covered with private villas, all hidden along the steep rocky coastline. This small peninsula is linked to the mainland by two tiny stretches of land with a national park located along the road. It’s a good opportunity for bird watching and sunset landscape.
Why to visit Monte Argentario?
The region is located on the south end of Tuscany and it’s is very different from the the mainland landscape. Firstly, because of its hilly character, which makes the island inaccessible for many travellers, who don’t travel by car. The main port of the island is Santo Stefano. Like most of the port towns of this peninsula it’s hidden between the rocky coast. Some of the beaches are accessible only by sea which makes amazing place for snorkelling and diving, and what’s more gives an opportunity to enjoy the beach privately, which is unlikely in Europe.
To get to Monte Argentario you’ll probably need to show some courage. The roads leading to this town are probably one of the most scariest in Europe! It’s crazy sometimes! My Mum refused to come with me, after a short drive south direction along the edge of a huge cliff. Most of the roads in the region would be narrow and curvy, but the views are fantastic! However a 15 km distance can take up to 1 hour. Watch out – Italian drivers are mad!! They absolutely don’t care to give way and would simply yell at you for any reason.
What to see in Grosseto?
An amazing alternative for boring sandy beaches. Take the opportunity to swim in a crystal-clear water, where snorkeling is a real pleasure and allows to discover beautiful sea life. The only thing you can’t forget is that all these beaches are not easily accessible. You would need to drive tiny roads down the hill and then you’ll probably need to walk a shohrt distance to the reach. I really liked Mar Morto beach. Not too many people and great place for snorkeling. It’s a 5 minutes walk from a small parking place (with only few parking spaces). It’s possible to rent a sunbed with umbrella. Cala Picolla is the most popular rocky beach in Argentario peninsula.
Porto Santo Stefano
An amazing small port city located on the north part of the peninsula in the Province of Grosseto. It’s a very pleasant harbour with a promenade, with lots of cosy cafes and really wonderful restaurants with excellent sea food. If you take a walk along the harbour, there’s a tiny local restaurant, located next to a small beach and a diving centre. Pleasant service with prices 15-20 Euro per really fancy dish (2015). This is where for the first time in my life I saw jumping fishes! It was really close to the shore!! It looked unbelievable and lasted good few minutes.
A cosy little fishing town with a beautiful bay. It’s located on the mainland, near Lagoona di Orbetello – Nature Reserve. The Lagoon is linked to Monte Argentario by an artificial dam built in 1841. Still possible to experience some bird watching, depending on a season. The main restaurant in the old part of Orbetello seamed nice but honestly the didn’t taste great. I was deeply disappointed. That’s why – always go to a local place, where you pay half for the same dish.
Southern road along the coast
This is where my Mom refused to drive with me! But you have to take this road at least once! Firstly, the view is breathtaking, secondly to experience some extreme driving?!
Porto Ercole is like a small Positano. It’s a second port town in the island. Quite similar to Santo Stefano with very interesting architecture and unforgettable atmosphere. Enjoy the view from Forte Stella, the only 16th century fort on the Argentario Coast open to visitors.