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In the surrounding area

You can find art, culture and fine Italian wines and food a few hours’ drive from Il Pellicano. For information, call +39 0564 858111 or write to us at reservations@pellicanohotels.com

Experiences brochure >

The following deserve a visit:

Pitigliano >
Sorano >
Sovana >
The Giardino dei Tarocchi >
WWF Natural Reserve >
Ansedonia >
Parco della Maremma >
Monte Argentario >
Porto Ercole >
Porto Santo Stefano >
Orbetello >
The Islands >
Tour in a hot air balloon >
On foot from Il Pellicano >

Pitigliano

This is a unique, spectacular village built entirely on a cliff of tuff rock. Founded by the Romans near the necropolis and Etruscan settlements, now an open-air museum, in medieval times Pitigliano belonged to the Aldobrandeschi family. It was later passed to the Orsini to whom it belonged until the early seventeenth century when it was conquered by Ferdinando I de’ Medici who incorporated it into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1604. From the 16th century onwards, Pitigliano was inhabited by a large Jewish community: remains of that period include the cemetery, the museum of Jewish culture, the old ghetto with its beautiful synagogue beneath which the locals gather for ritual bathing, the evocative Matzah oven, the butcher’s and the dyeworks. Today Pitigliano is still known as “Little Jerusalem”, but here it is also possible to discover the typical cuisine of the Maremma, visit the craftsmen’s shops and sample the wine and oil produced in the area.

Sorano

During a simple walk through the area you wander from bronze age grottoes, Renaissance palaces, mysterious streets and Etruscan necropolis to dark underground passages of the fortress, and from the medieval village carved in rock to the luxuriant woods surrounding the village. In Sorano the Estruscans dug their monumental “hollowed” passageways. It is a land of contrasts: magic and tranquil, volcanic and calm, wild and sweet. “The whole thing small and dainty in proportion, and fresh, somehow charming instead of impressive. There seems to have been in the Etruscan instinct a real desire to preserve the natural humour of life. And that is a task surely more worthy, and even much more difficult in the long run, than conquering the world or sacrificing the self or saving the immortal soul.” D.H. Lawrence, Etruscan Places.

Sovana

Today it is a fascinating medieval village, but in the 7th century B.C. it was a flourishing Etruscan centre, demonstrated by the Etruscan Necropolis with its beautiful Ildebranda Tomb. It was also an important city in Roman times, to such an extent that in the first centuries of Christianity it became an episcopal site. It was conquered by the Longobardi (594) and became a dominion of the Aldobrandeschi whose Duchy came to include the entire province of Grosseto. It then passed to the Orsini family through inheritance, was ransacked and devastated by the Sienese in 1410 then abandoned for centuries. For this reason, it today survives intact in its medieval form.

Il Giardino dei Tarocchi

With 22 imposing sculptures depicting the twenty-two Tarot cards– Major Arcana Deck– Niki de Saint Phalle has fulfilled her magical, spiritual life’s dream. Drawing inspiration from Parc Guell designed by Gaudì in Barcelona, she worked on the construction of the sculptures, between 12 and 15 metres high, made from steel and cement and covered in glass, mirrors and coloured ceramics, from 1979 to 1998. Due to its particular appearance and fragility and with a view to preserving the magical atmosphere of the garden it is only possible to visit from April to October, in the afternoon, and numbers are limited. Following the wishes of the artist, the visitors are free to move around inside and outside the works, with neither guided tours nor preordained itineraries.

WWF Natural Oasis - Laguna di Orbetello

Three itineraries may be followed when visiting the WWF natural reserve: the first, with 9 huts, is the Sentiero Ornitologico, which may be walked independently or with a guide (from September to April). The second is the Sentiero del Bosco di Patanella with a botanical trail and several bird observation huts, which can also be visited independently or with a guide. The third is the Sentiero Escursionistico which links the visitor centre at Ceriolo to the Bosco di Patanella. It is a longer path which passes through various different environments and can be walked all year round, exclusively with a guide for which reservation is necessary. The lagoon is positioned along the winter migratory routes of thousands of flamingos, black-winged stilts, great egrets, grey herons, ospreys, northern shovelers, spoonbills and pied avocets. Here the common tern and the little tern reproduce and it is also possible to see a rare insect, the endemic cicindela which, aside from Orbetello, can only be found in the Camargue.

Ansedonia

At the end of the sand spits of Feniglia, between the sandy shores and the green Mediterranean scrub, built on the remains of the historic city of Cosa, is Ansedonia. It was founded by the Romans in the year 273 B.C to control both land and sea traffic and to occupy the lands that had been taken from the Etruscans and Vulci. Following the fall of the Roman Empire the city of Cosa suffered a slow decline, then in the Middle Ages a military settlement was built there and it was progressively abandoned. Today it is an important archaeological site and from its hill it is possible to admire the “Tagliata”, a canal chiselled into the rock during Roman times and the “Spacco della Regina”, a natural tear in the rock inside which fantastic light and shadow effects are produced by the sun filtering in from above.

Parco della Maremma

This stretches from Principina a Mare to Talamone, over 25 km of the Tyrrhenian coast covering a territory of 100 square kilometres. In the south the coast is high and eroded, while the north comprises a stretch of beaches covered by typical Mediterranean scrub. The park may be discovered via naturalistic excursions and trips on horseback or in canoes. Numerous archaeological sites may be visited, some of which are Etruscan-Roman. Others include the medieval watch towers and the Abbey of San Rabano which was constructed in 1100 and has been recently restored.

Monte Argentario

Monte Argentario was probably originally an island “anchored” to the Tyrrhenian coast by the sand spits of Feniglia and Giannella, formed by the accumulation of debris transported by rivers and tides. The numerous archaeological finds made in the Grotta degli Stretti and Cala dei Santi caves attest to their ancient origins. At least ten caves were inhabited, one of which is over 1 km long with a pool 50 metres from its entrance, known as the “Grotta del Granduca” (Grand Duke’s cave), so named in honour of Leopoldo di Lorena who sponsored the digs. The headland is covered with thick Mediterranean scrub where olives, vines and fruit trees are grown. In the vineyards on the sides of the mountain, the rare “Ansonico” and “Riminese” grapes are grown. Argentario’s economy, once based exclusively on fishing, today relies mainly on tourism.

Porto Ercole

The history of Porto Ercole is uncertain, but it appears that the name was chosen by the Etruscans. This theory was confirmed by the recent discovery of an Etruscan necropolis upstream from Cala Galera, positioned in the 13th sector of the Etruscan zodiac which corresponds to the constellation of Hercules. In the High Middle Ages it belonged, along with the whole of Argentario, to the abbey of Tre Fontane; in the 13th century it passed to the Aldobrandeschi family, then to the Orsini, and in 1415 to the Republic of Siena. Today it is a fascinating medieval village that overlooks a bay dominated by the powerfully imposing Spanish fortresses, with a fully equipped touristic port.

Porto Santo Stefano

This is the largest inhabited area, with the administrative headquarters of the town of Monte Argentario and a large port divided in two: one new touristic section with connections to the islands of Giglio and Giannutri and the old port with a fishing fleet and shipyards. From the 18th century numerous families of fishermen arrived from Liguria and Naples, from whom a large section of the population descends.

Orbetello

Orbetello lies on a small peninsula surrounded by the lagoons of Levante and Ponente, divided by an artificial embankment that has linked the city to the promontory of Monte Argentario since 1841. The two lagoons are enclosed by two strips of land, the sand spits of Feniglia and Giannella, with several kilometres of beaches. The historic origins of Orbetello probably date from Neolithic times. The origin of its name raises many questions: Orvelus, Urva Tellus or Urbis Tellus? Circular city, city of herbs or urban city? Its origins remain a mystery because in 1455 Jacopo Piccinino’s militias set fire to the archives and plundered the city. From 1928 to 1933 Orbetello was in the news thanks to Italo Balbo who performed four Atlantic Cruises in a hydroplane, the last taking the route Orbetello-Chicago-New York-Rome.

The Islands

The Tuscan Archipelago comprises a group of seven major islands plus several minor islands and rocks that stretch between the Ligurian sea and the Tyrrhenian sea, to the west of Tuscany. The largest is Elba (224 km2), then Giglio (24 km2), Capraia (19 km2), Montecristo (13 km2), Pianosa (10 km2), Giannutri (3 km2) and Gorgona (2 km2). All the islands are part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago, the largest marine park in Europe measuring a total of 295 km2.

Hot air balloon

Allow your love to take flight. To celebrate an anniversary or simply amaze the woman in your life, make her heart beat faster beneath a coloured balloon. Early in the morning when all is quiet and calm, the romantic hot air balloon will allow you to see the Tuscan countryside from above. Departure is from Saturnia and after your flight, two flutes await you for a toast with chilled Prosecco.
Period: high season, depending on weather conditions
Reservation: seven days prior to your trip
Number of passengers: minimum 2, maximum 12.
Price: 200 Euros per person for the hot air balloon tour, 175 Euros (per journey) for the transfer to and from Saturnia.


On foot from Il Pellicano

Silence and tranquillity and the perfume of the plants and flowers of the Mediterranean scrub: this is the setting of Monte Argentario, a “secret zone”, very green and quiet and explorable by foot. Walking the pathways of these hills means discovering an unexpected natural world that frees the mind of heavy thoughts. From Il Pellicano you can easily reach Porto Ercole. It is a walk of approximately 5 km, suitable for all, with panoramic viewpoints from which magnificent countryside may be admired. To arrive at what remains of the Torre Ciana, on the other hand, take the dirt road that leads to the sea. You will then find yourself on a signalled pathway with a red painting on a rock and should continue through the vegetation. From on high it is possible to see the islands of Giannutri and Giglio.

 
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