Grosseto is a town in the region of Tuscany in Italy, approximately 150km north of Rome. Grosseto is the largest town of the Maremma region, and capital of the province of Grosseto with approximately 65,000 inhabitants, While not one of the 'classic' Tuscan towns, Grosseto has a pleasant town centre and the surrounding countryside is certainly worth visiting - not least, because of the lack of mass-tourism.
Grosseto is located in the alluvial plain of the Ombrone river, at a distance of 14 km from the Tyrrhenian sea. The town was probably first settled in the 8th century, and grew in importance because of the trade in salt, that was obtained in salt pans in the now reclaimed lagoon that covered most of the area between Grosseto and the sea. Because of its wealth, the town was disputed between Siena and Florence in the 13th and 14th century. By the time however that the Sienese finally managed to assert their dominance over the city in 1328, its tide was already turning because of the silting up of the lagoon, robbing Grosseto of its salt revenues. Grosseto was largely depopulated, and became an extremely unhealthy place because of the malaria in the marshy areas surrounding the town. Despite several attempts to drain the marshes, the town only started to grow again in the 19th century.
Coming from Pisa Airport (Aeroporto di Pisa Galileo Galilei), take the bus to railway station Pisa Centrale (travel time approx. 0h10, single ticket €1.30). From Pisa Centrale you can take a direct train to Grosseto, travel time approx. 1h20, single ticket €17.50 (Intercity) or €21.50 (Frecciabianca).
From Rome Fiumicino Airport (Aeroporto di Roma Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci), the cheapest option is to take the regional train to Roma Ostiense, and from there the regional train to Grosseto (travel time approx. 2h45, single ticket €19.75). Alternatively, take the Leonardo Express to Roma Termini, and from there the Intercity (travel time approx. 2h30, single ticket €31.00) or Frecciabianca (travel time approx. 2h20, single ticket €41.50).
Frome Florence Airport (Aeroporto di Firenze Amerigo Vespucci), take the bus (FSBusItalia) to the main train station (Firenze Santa Maria Novella, travel time approx. 0h15, single ticket €1.30). From there, you can take various regional trains, most of which pass through Pisa Centrale, where you can also change to an Intercity or Frecciabianca. Travel time approx. 3h, single tickets from €17.50.
See the website of Trenitalia for schedules. From Grosseto railway station, it is a 10-15 minute walk to town centre.
The E80 (SS1) connects Grosseto to both Pisa (approx. 1h45) and Rome (approx. 2h15). The E78 leads to Siena (approx. 1h05).
The town centre is small enough to be explored on foot. Biking is an option as well, although Italian roads and traffic are not particularly friendly to cyclists.
Since the area inside the city walls is partly pedestrianised, cars are better parked in the paid parking lots outside the walls (€3 per day).
The town centre is confined between the city walls, and can easily be explored in a few hours.
Grosseto's main shopping street is the Corso Carducci. Being a regional centre, Grosseto has a good range of shops. A list of markets can be found on the website of the Commune di Grosseto.
The Maremma region is not known for many specific dishes, but the local, traditional cuisine is very good. Typical of the region is the custom to serve unsalted bread with the food, which may come as a bit of a surprise. Schiaccia alla pala (oven-baked bread with oil) and schiaccia con cipolle e acciughe (oven-baked bread with onions and European anchovy) are typical breads of the city of Grosseto.
The local wines are not very well known outside the region, but they can be a good alternative to the somewhat overrated Tuscan wines from the Chianti region.
Each year, the Maremma food and wine festival (Passione Maremma Food&Wine Shire) is held in the third weekend of May. The town is then filled with stalls where local producers sell their cheeses, sausages, pastries and wines, and free music performances can be enjoyed as well.
Grosseto has a large number of eating places, most of which will serve local food.
In the evenings, and especially in the weekends, Grosseto fills up with young people who are usually dressed to impress. There is no lack of places to have a drink; unlike many other Italian towns, Grosseto has quite modern bars where you can have a beer and watch the scene.
Grosseto only has a limited number of hotels and B&Bs. However, the surrounding countryside, and especially the coastal area around Castiglione della Pescaia has plenty of accomodation, including agriturismi.
Places to visit in the immediate surroundings: