The bell tower of the medieval village of Roccastrada (GR) – Maremma Grossetana Tuscany (Photo by Giulio Capannoli)
Roccastrada is situated on the top of a hill, 35 kilometers from the capital Grosseto. From the walls of the picturesque village, the views sweep across the entire Tuscan Maremma and include the islands of Giglio and Elba.
Roccastrada is one of the most characteristic villages of the Grosseto area, its municipal territory, developed on an area of 284.50 square kilometers (475 meters above sea level), is between the Maremma Grossetana and the part of the Metalliferous Hills called “Maremma or Grosseto “. The municipality of Roccastrada has about 10,000 inhabitants and includes the hamlets of Montemassi, Piloni, Ribolla, Roccatederighi, Sassofortino, Sticciano, Sticciano Scalo and Torniella. The crenellated tower of the Church of San Niccolò and that of the clock constitute the visual signs that allow you to identify Roccastrada even from a distance. Entering the historic core of the town, which stands on a giant rock of trachyte (volcanic in nature), one encounters the Museo della Strada del Vino(built in an ancient cellar dug into the rock), the Church of San Niccolò, the Torre dell’Orologio(a structure that can resemble the Torre del Mangia in Siena), at the base of which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the surroundings. Continuing further, climbing some characteristic stairs, you get to the Terraces – divided by the prisons, now transformed into a private home – from which you can dominate the whole of the Tuscan Maremma, up to the Isola del Giglioand Elba, which are part of the National Park Tuscan archipelago. On clearer days you can also see the profile of Corsica.
The surroundings of Roccastrada are a true paradise for those who love trekking, with paths and trails ideal for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Walking through the historic center of Roccastrada it is interesting to observe the patrician palaces which retain decorative details in local stone on the portals and windows. In the small square of the Cross, where the famous Porta del Madonnino is located, one of the most beautiful portals in the town stands out. Continuing along the vicolo del Bersagliere, at the corner with via Martino there is Palazzo Lutti which, despite being a little in ruins, still has elegant windows. In the modern part of the town there is theTeatro Comunale dei Concordi, a wooden favor of the late nineteenth century (restored in 1923 to repair some damage caused by a cyclone), which boasts a sixteenth-century façade in two orders of trachyte stone.
The Origins of Roccastrada
The medieval village of Roccastrada, coveted for its strategic position, was in the 13th century a lordship of the Aldobrandeschians who had a steward here, that is, a noble administrator. In 1216 the castle passed to the branch of the Santa Fiora family and at the end of that century it welcomed many fleeing Ghibellines. This fact caused a war with Siena which got the better of it through diplomatic channels. It was conquered by the Medici in 1555 and followed the fate of the Maremma up to the Lorraine, where it experienced a significant demographic and economic recovery. The last years of the nineteenth century characterized Roccastrada for the strong development of the mining industry.
Resources on Roccastrada
- Municipality of Roccastrada – The municipality, the notice board, the services to the citizen, the territory and tourist information.