The story has not been at all tender with the Maremma, all the populations who come and go have inhabited this land have had to live and struggle with the unhealthiness of its swampy, marshy and malarial environment.

The Maremma, both the coastal and the hilly ones, is a frontier land. This has been the case in the most diverse eras: here the borders between the last Etruscan strongholds and the advance of the legions of Rome were marked, the border between the Byzantine and the Longobard states, the border between the Papal States and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Today this ancient land marks the border between Tuscany and Lazio. All the populations that have lived in Maremma throughout history have inevitably had to struggle, and hardly confront, with the difficult physical-morphological structure of the territory. In front of thestagnant water and infested with mosquitoes, the possible alternatives for all the populations settled in Maremma, from the Umbrians to the Etruscans, from the Romans to the Byzantines and Lombards, from the noble families of the Aldobrandeschi, Orsini, Medici, Pisani and Senesi, from the Spaniards to the Lorraine, until today, were always the same: face the problem directly and solve it, avoid it or simply ignore it.

“La Maremma Amara” – Popular Song of the Nineteenth Century – Memory and Identity of this Land (Photo by Andrea Terrosi)

The Maremma is therefore a superimposed history of attempts and failures, to defeat the scourge of malaria and restore the ponds and marshy waters.

Attempts that depended both on the greater or lesser will of the populations and their governments, but also on the technological conditions of the time, on economic and migratory currents. The Maremma, up to the present day, has always defeated everyone, heroisms and sacrifices, individual and historical, projects, investments, inventions, returning, over time, to what it once was, land of mines and land of breeding. Finally, the quinine first, the tractors and the dredgers then, finally managed to fill swamps and ponds infested with Anopheles mosquitoes (carriers of malaria) and to reconvert the brackish pools into fertile and arable land.

First Traces of Man in Maremma

The first traces of the existence of man in Maremma date back to the end of the Pleistocene in the Quaternary period. These were probably groups of Neanderthal hunters, attracted by the rich prehistoric fauna. Still today from the caves of the Uccellina Mountains in the Regional Natural Park of Maremma, Ravi, Massa Marittima and Montorsaio, the fossilized bones of cave bears, deer with big horns, lynxes and wolves, tigers, hyenas emerge. and elephants. Of those primitive hunters there are few memories of difficult interpretation: small stones of worked flint, scrapers, points of harpoons, which testify to the population of the region, but they tell us little about the life and existence of its inhabitants. Archaeological finds from this period have been found in the caves of Monte Pisano, Monte Argentario and in the Colline Metallifere.

Resources on the history of the Maremma

  • Global Archive of the Tuscan Maremma – Project for the collection and digitization of numerous documents: prints, periodicals, postcards and photographs of the Maremma from 1800 to today. By the Chelliana Municipal Library of Grosseto.
  • Maremma Amara – The famous popular song of the early nineteenth century expresses all the pain of this land, composed before the glorious Lorraine reclamations.