You can’t get around the Maremma without wheels. It’s as simple as that.

The territory is the largest in Tuscany. From the sea to Monte Amiata and back to the walls of Pitigliano are kilometres and kilometres of completely untouched and completely spectacular countryside, vast olive groves, tangled vineyards and thick forests.

When I first moved to the Maremma a couple of years back, the territory’s public transport was just starting to expand. Today you can navigate the Maremma as easily as you would navigate Florence, Pisa or Rome. All you need is a train or bus timetable.

Getting around by bus

The entire Maremma is serviced by Tiemme buses. These big blue monstrosities connect Grosseto to Florence, Siena, Marina di Grosseto, Castiglione della Pescaia, Alberese, Follonica, Scansano and Massa Marittima. It also covers Ortobello and all of Monte Argentario’s main towns.

Most cities have ample bus stops in their town centre. You can’t miss them. The big blue signs stand out like sore thumbs against the cobbled and colourful houses.

The cost of a ticket varies depending on how far you have to go. For example, a trip from Grosseto to the Saturnia Hot Springs is 66km and will cost you about €4.50 one way. You can get an idea of prices from this link on the Tiemme website. If you buy your ticket on the bus (Biglietti a bordo) you’ll pay a small fraction more and the bus driver can refuse to sell you a ticket if you don’t have the exact amount on hand.

You can also get tickets from tabbacherie, which are those shops with the big ‘T’ above their front door. They usually sell cigarettes, postcards and an assortment of other things. When you buy your ticket make sure it’s return and be sure to mention where you’re going.

Most shopkeepers speak English, but you can nick the phrase below if you want to ask for your bus ticket in Italian:

Vorrei un biglietto dell’autobus andata e ritorno per (insert the name of your destination)”

The Linea 50/G connects Grosseto, Siena and Florence with an average of seven trips a day. The trip Grosseto-Florence takes a little over 2 hours and will cost you €11.

Whatever you do, make sure you have the bus timetable before you start your journey. Buses keep to strict hours in the Maremma and you don’t want to end up stranded somewhere for the night!

Smaller yellow buses service the towns in between these big cities. So if you want to go to say, Saturnia from Manciano, you need to catch one of these. The same ticket rules apply and if you’re worried about which bus to catch, ask at your hotel or agriturismo and they’ll tell you what to do.

You can get a timetable for all the buses that run in the Maremma on the Tiemme website. Use Google to translate the page and you should see something like this:

Schermata 12-2456639 alle 11.55.07

Where Google has translated ‘common’, it should read ‘municipality’, but that’s not something you have to worry about. Just enter your departure town and your destination and you’ll get a list of buses and bus times on the next page.

From the Google map you can see where you’re going. If you click on the bus, you can see all the stops and stop times on that line. Italians use 24 hour time.

The name of the bus line is bolded. If you see the words ‘Linea 2’ or you trip is divided into two or more boxes that means you have to change buses. If you’re not sure, always ask your bus driver to tell you when you need to get off and whether you’re on the right bus. Most of them speak English, but if they don’t:

To ask if you’re on the right bus, say: “Questo è l’autobus per…. (insert your destination (i.e Saturnia))?” . If they answer, “si”, it means yes.

To ask the bus driver to tell you when you need to get off, say:  “Potresti dimmi quando siamo arrivati a (insert your destination)?”

Getting around by train

You can’t navigate much of the Maremma by train. There are simply no train stations anywhere near any of the inland towns or cities.

But if you want to get to Florence, Siena, Rome or Pisa for the day you can catch the train from the Grosseto FS train station, which is a short distance from the city’s main piazza, Piazza Dante. The Rome-Pisa line also stops at Follonica, Albarese, and Ortobello.

The Maremma’s other main train stations are located in Albinia, Follonica and Orbetello-Monte Argentario. Albinia is the station to choose if you want to get to the Fiora Valley, while Follonica will get you to Massa Marittima and the Metalliferous Hills. Orbetello-Monte Argentario will take you to the coast.

You can buy train tickets online at Trenitalia or from the station and all train conductors speak English, in case you need directions.

To be honest, unless you’re going to Tuscany’s other major cities or Rome, the bus is your best bet. It’s cheaper and usually faster.