Rivers, streams, lakes, waterfalls and renowned thermal springs characterize the entire territory of the Tuscan Maremma. The major Maremma waterways are ideal for canyoning, trekking, sporting excursions by kayak and canoe.
Long swampy due to the presence of tomboli along the coast, which prevented the outflow of river waters into the sea, the Tuscan Maremma is affected by the transit of several rivers: from north to south there are Cecina, Cornia, Pecora, Bruna, Ombrone, Albegna, Chiarone and Fiora, all watercourses that have shaped the Livorno and Grosseto area, giving life to plants and gorges, and that have strongly contributed, in the past, to the swamping of the area and the diffusion of Anopheles mosquitoes, historically lethal for all populations that lived in Maremma. Among the inland basins it is worth mentioning the coastal lake of Burano near the medieval village of Capalbio, a naturalistic oasis managed by the WWF – Natural Reserve of Lake Burano – while among the wetlands the mouth of the Ombrone, protected within the Uccellina Park or Parco Naturale Regionale della Maremma. Among the Maremma waters, the thermal springs are of great importance, widespread both on the coast (Venturina) and in the hinterland (Saturnia and the Monte Amiata area) and often exploited since ancient times, without interruption.
Course of the Bruna river at Steccaia – Maremma Grossetana (Photo by Federico Giussani)
The most important waterways that cross the territory of the Maremma Grossetana are the Fiora, the Albegna and the Ombrone.
The Fiora river originates on Monte Amiata at 1738 meters above sea level and flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea near Montalto di Castro in the Lazio Maremma. It is an abundant stream that can be traveled on board of canoes and kayaks. The route along which these sporting excursions can be made measures approximately 28 km: it begins near Pitigliano and develops between high tuff walls and bays; it then widens downstream in large quiet spaces up to the artificial lake of Ponte dell’Abbadia. The first downhill stretch allows you to appreciate the corners of wild nature that soften when you reach the Maremma hills.
A spectacular stream of the Albegna river – Tuscan Maremma (Photo by Fortapàsc)
Another watercourse that allows you to enjoy fun canyoning experiences is the Albegna river, which originates in the Amiata area and ends in the sea at the Orbetello Lagoon. Particularly striking is the stretch between Roccalbegna and Saturnia, where there are the only examples of calcareous gorges in the whole of the Tuscan Maremma. Along the river route, near Rocchette di Fazio, you can admire high rock walls characterized by a particularly smooth conformation.
Unlike the first two, the Ombrone river does not originate in Maremma, but flows in the hills of Chianti, in the province of Siena. The first section of the Maremma course, in the Paganico area, is characterized by flat and wide banks, ideal for trekking. After crossing the province of Grosseto, touching the city itself, the Ombrone flows into the sea, 166 km from the source, in the highest part of the Maremma Natural Park. The scarce presence of rapids and differences in height does not allow adventurous sporting crossings in kayaks. The quiet course of the river course is instead interesting for those who, aboard a canoe, want to admire the profiles of the hilly countries and enjoy the many views that open onto the Maremma plain. The itinerary suitable for rowing is between Paganico and Istia d’Ombrone. Superb to go up the mouth, perhaps at sunset. All around reeds, cultivated fields, Maremma cows with long horns grazing and some Buttero a Cavallo.
The mouth of the Ombrone river – Regional Natural Park of the Tuscan Maremma (Photo by Ugo Martens)
The thermal baths of the Tuscan Maremma
The Tuscan thermal waters, known and appreciated since ancient times by the Etruscans and Romans, flow abundantly throughout the region. The Maremma spas almost all have a very ancient origin such as those of Roselle and Saturnia. This last resort is still today a renowned spa center that combines the beauty of the places (do not miss the suggestive Gorello waterfalls, sulphurous waters accessible to all) with the good level of the structures in which specific treatments are performed with the use of advanced techniques. Other interesting Thermal Areas of the Maremma are found on the slopes of Monte Amiata, in Acquaforte di Bagnore, near Santa Fiora, in Monterotondo Marittimo (terme di Bagnolo), in Petriolo, in Sorano and Orbetello (terme dell’Osa)