montemerano-maremma-tuscany-copyPiazza del Castello

Words just cannot describe how beautiful this piazza is. It might hard to believe, but this piazza is what defines Montemerano not only to the locals, but to the world.

I am struggling to explain why this tiny courtyard stays with me whenever I leave the Maremma, why it is the first thing I always describe when people ask me about the region, why I spend so much time here even though I don’t even live in Montemerano!

Sure the houses here are exquisite. They are the oldest and most beautifully taken care of homes in the entire town. They haven’t changed since the Middle Ages and possess a strength, a sense of self-assuredness and even a wisdom that comes from being so old. I know I sound like I am describing a person, but if you ever get a chance to see this piazza up close, you’ll realise that it has a character that is almost human.

Regardless of when you visit, the piazza is always filled with wild flowers blooming out of old wine barrels. The homes themselves are almost always covered in vines, their rich green leaves a sharp contrast to the muted stonework.

But the piazza is so much more than the sum of its parts. It just has this presence that is impossible not to fall in love with. As you walk out of the dark alley and under the stone archway that leads into the piazza, you feel like you’ve stepped out of the desert into paradise.

The calm and wonder that is contained in this small space is mystifying. I certainly cannot explain why I am infatuated with it, but I can assure you that you will dearly regret not seeing this. It is the heart of Montemerano, the centre of all its festivals, and the physical spot that embodies everything that is alluring and beautiful about the Maremma.