A land where man has left his mark over the
centuries, but still very much a wild untamed
country with its volcanoes, gorges, lakes
and rivers, hot springs, eroded landscapes
and, of course, the sea and the Mediterranean
A land with a surprising range of flora
wild boar, porcupines, wild horses and otters
bee-catchers, red flamingoes and hupupas
cork trees, mimosa, strawberry trees and equisetum
With its many farm tracks
and old Roman roads, transhumance ways and
paths of pilgrimage, the Maremma Laziale
is ideal for those wanting to leave the
car and modern trappings of modern life
behind and set off on foot (or by bike or
on horseback) to explore the area. Watch
out for the sun though: sun hats and sun
cream essential, plus a good supply of water
(though there are plenty of fountains if
you know where to look).
You'll find that the sign-posting isn't
always brilliant, but that's part of the
fun! Don't forget to bring a good map, or
try out your Italian on the locals...
There's a series of trails in the woods around
town with picnic and beauty spots: Sentiero
dello sportivo (for sporty types), Sentiero
della salute (for health freaks), Sentiero
del solitario (for those wanting to get
away from it all) and the Sentiero dell'amore
(for courting couples).
Then there's Lake Bolsena, just
5-10 minutes away by car...
The transhumance is an ancient
custom that's all but disappeared these
days: during the Winter when the cold weather
makes grazing impractical up in the mountains,
shepherds and the butteri used to lead their
flocks and herds down to lower heights where
there was still fresh grass. They then repeated
the process in the Summer when the heat
down by the sea meant that the grass is
scorched by the hot sun.
Nowadays you're more likely to come across
sheep in the middle of the road as they're
moved from one field to another.
In the Tolfa Mountains though, you can still
get a feel of this old way of life in the
The Agricultural University in Tolfa
has a traditional hut built exactly like
those used by the butteri during
the Summer transhumance.
During a day spent here, you're given the
chance to experience special moments during
the transhumance, such as the preparation
of simple food (not the beans and coffee
seen in old Westerns, but acquacotta),
games and songs around the fire and the
knock-up beds called "rapazzole",
with dried maize leaves to make them comfortable.