In these days a bit like that, between the winter that does not want to end and the spring that does not want to arrive, we have put in order photos and memories, thinking back to our holidays on the Tuscan islands Giglio and Elba. So we decided to tell the prelude of our tour, with a stop on the coast of the Argentario, strategic to enjoy a relaxing day between the trip from Puglia to Tuscany and the departure with the ferry to the island of Giglio from Porto Santo Stefano.
Between earth, water and sky
We chose to stay overnight at the Hotel Fontermosa (Str. Vicinale dei Bagnacci 15, Fonteblanda – Grosseto – tel: +39 0564 885689 – firstname.lastname@example.org), a stone’s throw from the sea of Orbetello, immersed in a pine forest and beautiful swimming pool, a comfortable and modern hotel where we recommend to stop even for dinner, based on fish from the Argentario coast.
For our half day of relaxation, despite the overcast skies, we chose to head towards the beach of Giannella, a long sandy beach invaded by woods and branches smoothed by the force of the sea after the night swells.
The Tombolo della Giannella represents the northern border of the Orbetello lagoon.
To the south there is the Tombolo della Feniglia, the other thin strip of sand that connects Monte Argentario to the mainland. And in the middle there are the still waters of the lagoon.
You can reach it after a short walk through the pines, leaving the car in the convenient parking areas. On the shore, the view extends to the promontory that juts out over the sea and on which stands the town of Porto Santo Stefano.
Taking the car back, we crossed the Orbetello lagoon on the strip of artificial land built in 1842 that cuts it in two and gives it an unmistakable charm.
Mandatory stop at the windmill, which previously worked for the power of water and emerges from the placid waters of the water, the symbol of the lagoon and the only remaining of the nine mills built by Senesi in the fifteenth century and remained standing up to a few hundred years ago.
We then headed to Porto Ercole: here is buried the Caravaggio that a few days after he has arrived there died on 18 July 1610. It is said that he landed on the beach of Feniglia and here he fell ill with malaria since at the time the whole area was marshy and unhealthy. In reality, the cause of death has never been ascertained, several hypotheses have been made but no certainty about his real end.
After a short ride on the quay of the port we headed towards the Rocca Aldobrandesca also known as Rocca Spagnola, one of the many fortresses built by the Spaniards as defense and sighting structures. The impressive construction, which began in the Middle Ages and then strengthened by the Spaniards, can be visited free of charge, but do not make our mistake as we have not succeeded.
Before going up there it is necessary to go to the tourist office and get a permit with a reservation for a visit inside the Fortress.
Otherwise the rigid caretaker will prevent you from entering and even the photos inside the walls which are however prohibited as much of the fortress is made up of private homes.
In Porto Ercole we recommend continuing on the panoramic road to Forte Stella, a particular structure that takes its name from its shape (open every day only in July and August, while from March to June and in September only on Saturdays and Sunday).
The Spanish Fortress also characterizes the center of Porto Santo Stefano, a place frequented since Roman times. The Lungomare dei Navigatori is splendid, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, with benches facing the sea, which allow a view of the Argentario Gulf that “looks” towards Talamone. From here we left the next morning with Maregiglio company to the island of Giglio, after enjoying the rich breakfast of the hotel: one of the most complete, between sweet and savory, which we have found so far.