MASSA MARITTIMA

The darling of the Maremma and its most impressive town, Massa Marittima has borne, through the centuries, the nickname “Little sister of Pisa and Siena”. There are plenty of reasons for this, but it likely has to do with a shared history and architecture. If you visit Massa Marittima, the palazzos and churches are very similar to those you’ll see in Northern Tuscany. The town is best known for its breathtaking Duomo, considered one of the best examples of Romanesque religious architecture in central Italy. This very austere cathedral overlooks the main piazza, where you’ll also find the spectacular archeological museum and a must-see medieval fresco of a lush tree bearing fruits shaped like the male genitalia. Sincerely, the artist wasn’t trying to be glib. The fresco was thought to encourage fertility in the woman who would come to wash their clothes under it. Further out around town are the equally good religious art and mining museums, as well as a church dedicated to St Francis and a lookout tower where you can admire the surrounding hills.