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Italy’s Wild and Secret Beaches

When we heard about the unspoilt beaches of Maremma National Park, so untouched and wild that red fox roam their shores, we just had to go! Just how exactly is that the Italy has this secret seaside that has escaped the commercialism of just about the rest of the country’s coastline? For centuries, this stretch of Italy’s coast was a malaria ridden swamp populated only by a few fisherman and cattle rearing cowboys known as butteri. The Medici actually began draining the marshes in the 18th century and the drainage continued under popes, Savoy kings, and even Mussolini. But the project wasn’t finished until the 1950s and the land became a protected area in 1975.

Maremma National Park

Panorama of Maremma National Park

Marina di Alberese is the most easily accessible beach of Maremma National Park. We’ve heard that in summertime, cars stretch for miles back as one-by-one they patiently wait for a coveted parking spot in the Marina di Alberese’s car park. From the car park, it’s maybe a 5 minute walk to find a stretch of sand to spread out your towel.

Maremma National Park

Long horned cattle grazing on the plains

The most rewarding and secret beaches aren’t so easy to reach. From the Alberese Visitor Center, a shuttle bus brings visitors 7 kilometers into the park where a number of trails begin. Here wild horses and long-horned cattle graze the wide open plains that stretch to the pristine sea. We had intended to trek the A4 route to Cala di Forno, which is around 13 kilometers round trip and takes an estimated 6 hours. We didn’t know the timetable for the shuttle bus and didn’t have quite enough time to complete the trek and make it on to the last shuttle bus of the day.

Maremma National Park

Trail leads through a thick forest

Maremma National Park

Le Tori perched on a craggy cliff

Maremma National Park

Juniper berries

Instead, we chose the A2 Le Tori route at 7 kilometers round trip. The shuttle bus left us off with a group of other trekkers and beach goers at Pratini and we started through the thick woods on a paved road. Soon, we followed the trail signs into the luxuriant pine forest. Junipers, rosemary, cists and brooms nearly disguised the river but the trickle of the water lured us to its shores. Coastal sighting towers dotted the landscape.

Maremma National ParkAt the end of the path, the magnificent beach dotted with driftwood unfolded before us. Little paw prints from red fox led right to the sea. We could see the Cala di Forna and 20 or so boats pulled up to it. And though a storm was brewing out to sea, we could also easily see Isola del Giglio, where the Costa Concordia shipwrecked in early 2012. On a clear day, you can even see the Costa Concordia.

Maremma National Park

Romantic spot for a beach picnic

Maremma National Park

Driftwood like art and sculptures on the beach

Maremma National Park

Maremma National Park

Where could the fox be hiding?

We sat for a while enjoying a picnic of cheese, salami, and crackers and just enjoying the serenity of the beach. Before too long, I was pulling off my sneakers to feel the warm sand between my toes as we walked hand-in-hand along the long stretch of beach.

Maremma National Park

A wild boar foraging

I was disappointed that the red fox, which we’d heard come out looking for handouts from visitors to Maremma National Park, never did show themselves. But as we leisurely walked back along the trail, I suddenly spotted a wild boar foraging amongst the olive grove. We watched the boar wag its tail to swat away flies (or maybe mosquitoes) and forage for olives it probably hoped had dropped from the trees for 10 minutes or so. Wild boar are typically nocturnal, so this was a real treat to spot one from a safe, yet relatively close, distance!

Maremma National Park

Maremma National Park

Maybe if I sit very, very still, they won’t see me…

My disappointment over the red fox didn’t last too long either. It was nearing sunset and we saw at least a dozen of them as we headed to the Marina di Alberese. Smart critters, the red fox sit so cute just begging for you to offer them some food and aren’t very scared of people. But please don’t feed them! They need to hunt and shouldn’t become dependent on visitors for food.

You can interact with the post below, which was posted on our Facebook Page while we were at Maremma National Park. Just click Like, Comment or Share below to interact with the post!

One of the best things about this stretch of coastline is the way we were able to combine warm sand between our toes with all the gourmet pleasures of the Tuscan countryside. It wasn’t long after the sun set that we were enjoying a glass of Maremma Toscana and wild boar pasta followed by wild boar caccitore at Agriturismo il Duchesco. La spiaggia e la dolce vita all rolled into one!

Know Before You Go

  • Maremma National Park is most easily accessible by car, though the nearest airports are Rome and Pisa. The train runs to Grosseto and then the local bus company RAMA takes visitors the remaining 15 minute drive to the Alberese Visitor Center.
  • The Maremma National Park entrance ticket is €10 per adult and €5 per child ages 6 – 14. Dogs are not permitted within the park due to the wildlife.
  • The A4 Cala di Forno trail is only open from September – April.
  • There are no services within the park once leaving the Alberese Visitor Center, so pack a lunch or snacks and be sure to carry plenty of water. Water is sold at the Alberese Visitor Center, along with local organic products like salami, wine, honey, and cheese. Credit cards are accepted.
  • Bring mosquito repellant. Malaria hasn’t been a concern for a long time, but the Asian Tiger mosquitoes are particularly aggressive during the daytime.

  • View Larger Map

Jennifer Dombrowski

Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter who is based in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and communications strategist and is an award-winning travel writer. She is also a travel correspondent on Traveling on the American Forces Radio Network. Jdomb's Travels was named one of the top travel blogs to watch by the Huffington Post and has been featured by top publications such as CNN, Buzzfeed , and The Telegraph. Her iPhoneograpy has also been featured on publications such as USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Google+

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  1. Devlin @ Marginal Boundaries

    Nothing like a nice secluded beach. No hotels, bars, people, haha the anti-socialites dream! I kid, it’s nice to have places like these that you can make your own even if only for a few hours.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I’m definitely not a fan of the commercialized beaches. It makes if hard to enjoy when they are just packed with sun beds and annoying vendors.

    [Reply]

  2. Stef

    Oh my god! I have to go back to Italy and see more of this beautiful country :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Isn’t this such a pretty part of Tuscany? And totally off the tourist path!

    [Reply]

  3. Angela Turner

    Beautiful!! The animals are so pretty. I am sort of scared of wild animals but I love to see them too.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    The wildlife in the park is all protected, so it isn’t aggressive. We saw everything from a safe distance, with the exception of the curious little fox that came right up to us.

    [Reply]

  4. Nicole

    Oh my goodness, look at how close that little fox got to you. He looks so curious!!!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    He was VERY curious! He got within a few feet of me, but was still skittish. I thought they were just adorable!

    [Reply]

  5. Katherine Belarminio

    That fox is so cute! I think I would have had a hard time remembering it was a wild animal and not trying to get it to come over so I could pet it.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    The fox were all so cute! Not going to lie – I wanted to bring one home!

    [Reply]

  6. Derek

    Exactly the type of beaches that I like! Thanks for sharing :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Us too! We’re not fans of commercialized, over-crowded beaches.

    [Reply]

  7. Jessica

    This area looks beautiful! It’s so special when you’re actually able to catch a glimpse of the unique wildlife in an area – lucky you! I looked for wild boars a lot when we were in Italy, but I mostly just heard them rooting around at night.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Bummer you didn’t get to see one! We’ve been living in Italy for over 4 years now and we don’t honestly see much wildlife. So we were pretty excited to see the boar!

    [Reply]

  8. Dariece @GoatsOnTheRoad

    Great post guys! Isn’t it nice when you find unspoiled beaches? This looks great. I love the fox too, so cute! Thanks for the tips, if (when) we get to Italy, we’ll have to check it out.

    Cheers :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    The fox were really cute and the beach was beautiful! We loved all the driftwood too. It was all just very picturesque.

    [Reply]

  9. Ali

    Looks gorgeous! And the fox is so cute!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I was just so tickled to see all the fox!

    [Reply]

  10. Cathy Sweeney

    I like all of your descriptions and photos of the beaches, but the ones that really grabbed me were of the driftwood. They made me think about the piece of driftwood that I picked up when I was about 10 yrs old on a Sonoma County, California beach. I still have it. It has the shape of Italy — complete with the heel. No wonder I’m so in love with Italy — it was meant to be.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    That sounds beautiful Cathy! You’ll have to share a photo of it!

    [Reply]

  11. Heather

    It’s amazing that so much unspoiled coastal land exits in Italy! And those foxes are so pretty!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Isn’t it? It stretches for 26 kilometers, so it’s not a small area by any means. I wish more of Italy’s coast still looked like this.

    [Reply]

  12. Cheryl Howard

    Definitely a hidden and not to mention lovely place! Especially with all that wild life. :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I’ve seen more wildlife in the last few weeks than the first 4 years I’ve lived in Italy! Apparently you just have to know where to find it!

    [Reply]

  13. Dale

    I’ve been to my fair share of Italian beaches, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen nature up close and so personal when I’m just in my shorts…

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Right?! If I hadn’t seen it myself, I might not believe this stretch of beach is in Italy!

    [Reply]

  14. Miles Holmes

    It’s almost impossible to find a secluded beach in Europe these days, so this is such a great tip. I was lucky enough to visit Sardinia (just a hop over the water from Maremma). It’s possible to find a few quieter beaches on the eastern side of the island, but nothing like the one you found here.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    We haven’t been to Sardinia yet, but it’s on our list. Good to know there are still some more secluded beaches left there as well!

    [Reply]

  15. Penny Sadler

    I’ve heard about Maremma before, but haven’t made it there yet. Great photo story. Nice to know there are still some places where one can “get away from it all,” in Italy.

    [Reply]

  16. Annie@GreenTravelReviews

    Such a beautiful place and I love the pictures of the fox ! (Especially the one were he hides behind a couple of strands of grass ;-D Thanks for sharing this gem with us

    [Reply]

  17. Lori

    These look like amazing places for walking! Good to know for when I’ll be in that part of Italy;)

    [Reply]

  1. 14 Places to Go in 2014 - Jdomb's Travels

    […] Maremma is Italy’s final frontier with unspoilt beaches so untouched and wild that red fox roam their […]

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