It’s 5pm on an average Thursday in the Maremma Tuscany and I’m excited for three reasons:

1. It’s Halloween
2. Tomorrow is that start of a long weekend courtesy of the Catholic Church and all its saints
3. Top Secret Maremma has returned to Manciano

In case you haven’t heard, Top Secret Maremma is one of my absolute favourite events. For one weekend, the doors of some of Manciano’s most beautiful buildings will be opened to tourists and looky loos.

If you ask me, there is nothing better than peaking inside buildings and monuments that are normally closed to the public. And trust me, the Maremma has more than her fair share of incredible buildings that are NEVER opened to people like us!

Top Secret Maremma kicks off this weekend, 1, 2 and 3 November 2013, in Manciano and its surrounding towns.

I’ve had a look through this year’s list and picked out the best. These are the buildings I won’t be missing out on:

Segrete Della Torre

Climb one of Manciano’s secret medieval towers to see a part of the Aldobrandeschi castle that’s been closed for centuries.

– Via del Ponticello, Manciano
– all three days; 9:30am-1:30pm and 2:30pm-5:30pm

La Torre Nascosta

Another tower, but this one will blow you away. It’s almost  2,000 years old. Its blood red bricks were laid on the site of a particularly important battle by the Roman Empire. It’s currently the supporting wall of a homemade chicken coop.

And it sits in the garden of a very nice elderly woman who will mostly definitely offer you a glass of ice tea when you stop by. Enough said.

– Poggio Murella
– all three days;  9:30am-1:30pm and 2:30pm-5:30pm

Castello di Marsiliana

I have driven past Marsiliana a thousand times and I have always lusted over the spectacular medieval castle that sits on the hills above the town. Built by the Aldobrandeschi and lived in by the Republic of Siena and the Medici, it’s currently owned by the Corsini family, who can trace their lineage back to the 14th century!

This weekend, my wish finally comes true with a guided tour of the castle and a wine tasting session from the castle’s vineyard.

–  Marsiliana
– 1 and 2 Nov; 10am, 11:30am and 3pm

Madonna della Cavaluzzo

This 15th century church is opened one day a year, August 16. So you’re going to want to check it out, if only to see the beautiful fresco of Madonna with Child and San Rocco, the saint who protects you from the Plague.

– 1 and 3 Nov; 9:30am-1:30pm and 2:30pm-5:30pm

Pranzo con Tortelli SanMartinese 

Not technically a building opening, but I won’t get caught up in semantics when there are tortelli to be eaten. These pillows of giant ravioli are a specialty in San Martino and are stuffed with spinach and ricotta and spiced with nutmeg.

The feast will be served with wine from the year’s new harvest – a true and rare treat.

– San Martino sul Fiora
– 1 Nov; aperitif from 11:30am

Click here for the full Top Secret Maremma programme.

Festa delle Streghe, Montemerano

festa della stregha_maremma_tuscany

This year, Top Secret Maremma has joined forces with the Festa delle Streghe, a festival dedicated to all things witchy and scary.

On the evenings of 1 and 2 November, Montemerano will be transformed into the stuff of nightmares. There will be games and scares for children of all ages, as well as plenty of local treats and wine and some after-dinner dancing and rock music.

As part of the festival, you’ll also be able to check out Montemerano’s hidden cellars, some of which date back to the 14th century.

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