The Maremma’s towns are as beautiful as they are varied. The province stretches across more than a third of Tuscany, from beach to mountain top, so there is plenty to see and do.

Whether it’s experiencing the magnificence of Sorano at sunset or strolling through Little Siena… a.k.a Massa Marittima… the Maremma has spectacular sights, humble little hilltop towns and the sorts of places where you can still lose yourself in the maze of streets, soaking up Renaissance stone palazzi, the sounds of children playing and the smells of tomatoes roasting in the oven.

These are the Maremma’s top 10 towns. The places you can’t miss if you’re visiting the province for the first time and the places you have to return to time and time again.

They all stand out for their own unique reasons. Take Pitigliano, the town carved from the tufo rock and renowned for not just the beauty of its streets, but a Jewish ghetto that is a testament to a history you won’t find elsewhere in Tuscany or central Italy. Then there’s Montemerano, the medieval village that has just been crowned one of Italy’s most beautiful with a church covered in breathtaking frescos. Grosseto, our capital, defines itself for its soaring Duomo and portico-covered antique, clothing and jewellery shops. Porto Ercole, where the locals still spend summer mornings sitting by the pier watching the fishing boats come in and Capalbio has some of the most enviable views of Lazio and Tuscany from its perfectly preserved walls.

But I don’t discriminate. The Maremma’s top 10 towns also include a handful from the mountain areas. These are the forgotten towns. Immersed in their mining history, skipped by modernity and only now awakening to the tourism that has engulfed the rest of the province. Santa Fiora, the old capital of kings and noblemen, has hidden gardens and churches where the baptismal font flows underfoot. Not far behind is Magliano in Toscana, best known for its Roman and Etruscan history, but also for its red wine, the Morellino, which is made by the best vineyards in the area as an expression of the tenacity of the territory, since the recipe harks back to the Etruscans themselves.

In other words, if you’re planning a trip to the Maremma Tuscany, put these towns on your itinerary and you won’t be disappointed by the history, heritage, food, wine or locals you find there.