July 31, 2018
Lately, I’ve been reliving peaceful memories of small, hidden Gems in Maremma in southern Tuscany bordering Lazio. I had read about Capalbio years ago and had wanted to visit. But this is another town that is difficult to reach without a car.
In February 2014, while my cousin Sonseeere Goldenberg and I were both searching for a place to lay our heads in Italy, we visited Capalbio. We drove up from Lazio along winding, forested roads when suddenly the view cleared and there it was, sitting on top of a hill, shining with light peaking through the clouds. To me, it looked like how Camelot must have appeared. The clouds accentuated the mysterious feel of it all.
Photo above by toscanainside.com
People have been living in this hilltop since the Bronze Age. The name itself is believed to be derived from the Latin Caput Album, or Bald Head. Life changed when Charlemagne gave Capalbio to a Roman Abbey.
Later, around 1200 A.D., Capalbio became part of the Siena area and fortresses were built, including the Sienese entry gate with the bald-headed Lion.
Crenellated walls protected the fortress as partially explained in the illustration below.
This type of construction is typical of Medieval fortress construction and includes cut-outs at the top for defensive positions. Shown here along the walkway border of the fortress.
And here, with the Fortress of Aldobrandeschi near the pinnacle of Capalbio.
I returned to Capalbio in 2017 and fell in love with it even more. It was early springtime with trees and other plantings beginning to green up and open.
I love those Pino Alberi, or Umbrella Trees.
And I found lemons growing
only a few feet from cacti.
These were just symbols of the juxtapositioning of life in Capalbio. It sits atop the hill overlooking the incredible Maremma landscape,
All the way to the sea and the sandy beaches of Maremma.
My favorite thing to do in Capalbio is simply wander like a goat on the hillside,
tasting life as I climb up,
Always while strolling, you are surrounded by Medieval stone construction
Replete with laundry hanging or a more contemporary bench.
And the arches,
I love the arches.
And as ancient as this town is, it has become a haven for new artists. There are art festivals and many events during the summer in Capalbio. I am sure that the streets would be more occupied at that time. And doors like this one,
may open to a gallery. I must return in summertime to swim in the sea and to explore the artistry of the locals and other visiting talents like French artist Niki De Saint Phalle. Saint Phalle, using a similar style to Antoni Gaudi’s Park Guell, created the Tarot Card Garden which is outside the Capalbio city limits. This garden is a MUST when visiting Capalbio but is not open all year round so I was unable to see it. I did enjoy 1/3 of her well known Les Trois Graces before entering the Sienese entry gate.
She feels like a contemporary female goddess.
Who would like to join me in Capalbio? Perhaps we can do a week in Maremma next summer. I would love to plan it for you as I plan it for myself. Contact me at Marilyn@TakeMeHomeItaly.com. Andiamo! Let’s go!
Ciao for now!
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Ciao for Now!
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