The peninsula Monte Argentario is connected with the mainland by three dams which form two lagoons, the Laguna di Ponente on the west side and the Laguna di Levante on the east side of the middle dam. Orbetello is located on the middle dam between the two lagoons. Orbetello was already inhabited in the Etruscan period and was later dominated by the Roman Empire. In the past, its favorable geographic position made it an attractive conquest, not only by noble Italian families, but also by foreign states. Orbetello was a possession of the Aldobrandeschi, Orsini, King Ladislas of Naples and Siena, until Spain acquired it in the late 16th century. The Spaniards heavily fortified the two ports, as the main stronghold of the State of Presidi. The town still has the bastions which the Spaniards built during the period (1557-1713). Later it was under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and, from the late 19th century, the newly unified Kingdom of Italy.
During World War II, the settlements of Argentario were heavily bombed, with numerous losses. The port of Santo Stefano was destroyed, and was rebuilt only in the 1950s. The railway that connected Orbetello to the mainland was never rebuilt.
Main sights are the city walls and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built over an Etruscan-Roman temple and restructured in 1375 along Tuscan-Gothic lines. Preceded by a step, it houses some notable 15th century frescoes. Another church of particular value is the Church of St. Francesco of Paola and Madonna delle Grazie.
The Palazzo del Podestà and the Guzmán Powder magazine (built in 1692), like many other buildings of classical layout with internal courtyard, clearly show signs of Spanish architecture, like the access gates (especially the Medina Coeli Gate built in 1697 from where it is still possible to access the Orbetello historical center), and the lagoon mill (XVI cent.).
Monastery of Sant'Angelo
On the hills behind Orbetello lie the ruins of the ancient Benedictine monastery of Sant’Angelo Rovinato.
Datable to between the 11th and 12th centuries, it has a structure similar to other Benedictine monasteries, like San Benedetto alla Selva in the town of Manciano.
The complex has a church with a cloister next to it. The refectory, capitular hall and the monk’s cells faced onto the cloister.
The church is the most well-preserved building. It has a single chamber which ends with an apse and has an arched entryway.
Forte delle Saline, Albinia.
At the mouth of the Albegna river, starting at the Giannella pillow there's Forte delle Saline which was used by the Spanish to defend the Stato dei Presidi. [read more]
Peasant and Farming Culture Museum in Orbetello is dedicated to the famous Fondaria Reform and the impact it had on the Maremma region.
The museum was opened in order to document the history of agricultural activity in the area around Orbetello and the changes which took place at the start of the twentieth century up until the ‘Fondaria’ Reform in the 1950s.
The museum is located in Albinia, one of the most important farming areas in the whole Maremma region.
The museum shows visitors what farming life was really like from the start of the twentieth century until the period when the first agricultural consortiums were set up. The museum also documents the social changes which took place over this period. The items on display come from research into photos, old documents, maps and literary works which tell the story of the southern Maremma area, especially during the Reform.
The museum’s aim is to show how farming and peasant culture was indelibly altered over this period, with particular reference to the territory between Albinia, Magliano in Toscana, Manciano and Capalbio.
Peasant and Farming Culture Museum in Orbetello, via Salvo D'Acquisto, 2, Albinia, Orbetello (Grosseto) | www.museidimaremma.it
October – June: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and weekday Public Holidays 10am-1pm
July – August: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and weekday Public Holidays 6pm-10pm
September: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and weekday Public Holidays 4pm-8pm
The “Corteo Storico” is a historical procession held on the streets of Orbetello in November. It is a display of the civilian and military clothing worn by the inhabitants of the town during the Spanish dominion of the Stati dei Presidi.
Map of Orbetello url | pdf
Walking in Tuscany | Lago di Burano and Tombola di Feniglia | Walking in Tuscany, itineraries between sea and mountains
Walking in Tuscany | The Naturalistic Archeological Park of Vulci
Beaches in Tuscany | Tuscany Beaches in Maremma |  From Principina a Mare to Ansedonia
The Maremma seashore, overlooking the Tirrenian Sea, features some of the most beautiful sand beaches of Tuscany. The Maremma's most famous bathing sites combine natural beauty and trendy centres. They stretch from Principina a Mare and Marina di Grosseto in the the Ombrone delta, through Talamone and Ansedonia, up to the tombolo fi Feniglia.
In the south they spread from the Ombrone delta into the wildest tiny gulfs within the Regional Park of Maremma.
Some of these beaches are quite isolated and wonderful, from a natural viewpoint. They are very often embellished by sand dunes, behind which evergreen bushes lead the way to a flourishing and thick pine forest. This type of wood is very closely tied to the history of this land with its past of drainages.
Tuscany | The Tuscan Archipelago