What remains of the Maremma Antica

Diaccia Botrona is a marshy wetland of great naturalistic, historical and landscape value. It is a nature reserve that spans over 1,730 acres of lakes, pine wood and Mediterranean scrubland. Magnificent landscapes, nature, biodiversity. Important note: only for sustainable, eco-friendly tourism.

This is what remains of Lake Prile and the characteristic environment that was once prevalent throughout the Tuscan Maremma. This is why the animal species typical of this area are concentrated here: more than 200 among ducks, waders, herons, ospreys, pink flamingos. This is an area of great importance for nesting.

Land reclamation began right here with the Lorraine family in the 18th century. The Red House is the large building designed by Leonardo Ximenes, who managed the sluices on the canals and the outlet to the sea for the once unhealthy waters of the Maremma. You could say that there is a sort of ideal twinning between this place, Poggio Cavallo and the Steccaia Dam: these locations are the starting and ending point of the large reclamation facility that conveyed the waters of the Ombrone river towards the swamp and the sea.

It is possible to visit the Diaccia Botrona reserve and the natural museum hosted in Casa Ximenes. Fun trivia: the museum route was set up by the company of physicist Paco Lanciano , a collaborator of SuperQuark, Italy’s premier science TV show hosted by Piero Angela, the David Attenborough of Italy (on public channel RaiUno).

Photos by Giuliano D'Angelo, conchiglieinmaremma.com

How do I get there?

Go to Castiglione della Pescaia. Cross the Giorgini Bridge and turn onto a small road at the end of the bridge, exiting the village. Continue one kilometre along the bank of the river and you will reach the Red House, the starting point of the routes. You can also book a boat trip on the canals at very affordable rates; minimum 5 people to book a trip. Outings dedicated to birdwatching, nature photography or themed events are encouraged. Just call and enquire: +39 389 0031369 - +39 348 7743201.

Also very interesting, at the eastern edge of the Diaccia Botrona, is the hill with the Abbey of San Pancrazio al Fango, with the remains of a nunnery, of the villa of Emperor Clodio and even, according to some experts, of an ancient Etruscan port. The landscape here is even more fascinating and the view is stunning. In this case, access is from the location named Ponti di Badia and there are no visitor centres.

Farm hotel