Maremma Things to Do
Events , Fairs and markets
Throughout the month of October, a number of chestnut feasts are held in Maremma. It is certainly worth mentioning those taking place in Monticello Amiata, Arcidosso, Casteldelpiano, Cana, Montieri, Scarlino, Sassofortino and Monterotondo Marittimo. These events have been established with the aim of valorizing and re-qualifying local chestnuts, which for years have only been related to poverty and harsh life conditions. During these feasts, it is possible to taste chestnut-based dishes and other specialties accompanied by local wines from a number of gastronomical stands set up for the occasion. These feasts also provide opportunities to host meetings, debates, shows, and musical entertainment.
The Grape Feast
The Grape Feast (Festa dell’Uva) is held in Scansano every weekend in September. This traditional event was first established in the 1960’s to celebrate and pay homage to Morellino, the local DOC-branded red wine, three quarters of which is made with Sangiovese grapes. During this event, wine-cellars are open throughout the village to allow visitors to learn and appreciate the quality of this increasingly well-known wine, and it is also possible to taste Morellino matched to typical recipes from Maremma, such as “acquacotta," wild boar, Pecorino cheese and fish-based dishes such as “caciucco” fish soup.
The Maritime Palio
The Maritime Palio has been held by Mount Argentario during the month of August since 1937. It’s an authentic folk festival narrating the history of a maritime community and its relation to the sea. Thousands of tourists gather in town to watch this regatta involving 4 “guzzi” (local boats), one for each town district (Croce, Fortezza, Pilarella and Valle), named after the four winds: Libeccio (the South-Westerly wind), Grecale (the North-Easterly wind), Scirocco (the South-Easterly wind) and Maestrale (the North-Westerly wind). Each boat crew includes four rowers and one cox. The captain gets the competition going with a musket shot.
The teams challenge each other along a 4,000 meter track; the game is long and exhausting, but when the winning guzzo first passes the post their fans dive into the water with their clothes still on and swim to the boat to hold and celebrate their heroes. This final swim, as a token of thankfulness and exultation, is a characteristic rite of this palio and highlights the passion and total involvement felt by those watching the race.
The Vetulonia Donkey Race
Vetulonia’s Palio delle Contrade (District Palio) is held on the first Sunday of September. It involves the four town “rioni” (districts) in a traditional donkey race, and the prize is a drape made by local painters. The challenge starts in the late afternoon, but celebrations start in the morning when the drape is presented in the town’s church. A music band plays, during the afternoon, before the historical parade to the church where donkeys, jockeys and palio are all blessed. Finally the race can start! The four “contrade” or districts (Colonna, San Guglielmo, Borgo and Torre) support jockeys riding their donkeys on a ring circuit along the town’s main road. At the end of the race, the winning District starts off the celebrations. The prize-giving ceremony, with the awarding of the “Golden Fibula," also takes place in the same evening.
Donkey races have become quite common within this territory, and tourists can find these races held in Roccastrada, Roccatederighi, Campagnatico, and on Isola del Giglio. This shows the significant role played in these towns by donkeys until a few decades ago, when they were indispensable means of transport both for people and for goods.