Capalbio – “The litte Athens”
Capalbio is located in the province of Grosseto in the southern Tuscany. The village is located on top of a hill and from its enviable position the visitor gaze can range from the countryside to the sea. About the environmental context and the historical and cultural importance, achieved during the Renaissance, it has been nicknamed “Little Athens”. The municipality has been awarded several times with the “five sails” for the singularity of its territory and the first place in the “Blue Guide” by “Legambiente Touring Club” for the care and management of the beaches, landscape and surrounding environment. The name Capalbio seems to derive from Caput Album or Campus Albus, due to the white alabaster that characterize the place.
The history of Capalbio
The castle of Capalbio is mentioned for the first time in ’805 in the seal Leonine Carolingian in which Charlemagne gave it to the Abbey of Anastasius and St. Vincent at the Three Fountains of Rome. The possession was confirmed by a “privilegium” issued by the Pope Alexander III in 1161. Later, the territory was controlled by the Aldobrandeschis who built around the village a double ring of walls and then by the Orsini. Towards the end of the thirteenth century, the castle was conquered by Orvieto. After the last passage under the dominion of Siena (made official by an act of submission in 1416), it begins for the village a period of great prosperity. In 1555 with the defeat of Siena, Capalbio was given by the Spanish to their ally Cosimo de’ Medici, whose dynasty will maintain its sovereignty over the territory until 1737. With the extinction of the main branch of the Medici, the succession will pass to the Dukes of Lorraine, until its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy with the Plebiscite of 1860.
What to see in Capalbio
The old town of Capalbio is accessible from the Senese Door, a double arch door where in the upper part was put a plaque in memory of a strengthening of the walls made by the Sienese in 1418 and a coat of arms of the Medici in 1601. Walking along the two levels of the walls, you will find immersed in the Middle Ages and you can gaze out from the hinterland hills to the sea. Hiking over Collacchioni Street you will arrive at the Aldobrandesca fortress near the Palace Collacchioni, built in 1900, where Puccini was playing the piano during his stays in the village. In the main square, you will enter in the church of St. Nicholas, dated XII-XIII century, and in the village you will find the Holy Arc where is posted an effigy in marble of the Emperor Hadrian. A special mention deserves Magenta Square, a charming square in the old center of Capalbio, whence the ancient walls of the trenches are accessible, used by the patrol to defend the city. Nearby, you will find the WWF oasis of Lake Burano and inside the Buranaccio Tower built by the Spanish. In Garavicchio , near Pescia Fiorentina, you can visit the artistic park of the “Garden of Tarots “, created by Niki de Saint Phalle , well known at international level and flagship of the Maremma.