Talamone is a small seaside town, part of the Orbetello municipality, in the province of Grosseto.
It stands on a promontory, overlooking the Gulf of Argentario, on the southern border of the Maremma Natural Park.
It is a popular seaside resort with a spectacular bay, ideal for sports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing.
It was inhabited by the Etruscans; it became the scene of battles between the Gauls and the Romans; it was a medieval fiefdom of the Aldobrandeschi family; it was the place where Giuseppe Garibaldi and his troops landed in 1860 to stock up on weapons and water before continuing on to Sicily.
It is one of the entrances to the Maremma Natural Park, where you can see fallow and roe deer, wild boar, foxes and many other wild animals.
The area features typical Mediterranean vegetation and long sandy beaches bordered by pine forests.
What to see in Talamone
There are lots of monuments and places of historical, cultural and artistic interest.
Let’s take a look at the most important religious sites in Talamone:
- Church of Santa Maria Assunta: the town’s parish church. It was built in 1949, after the destruction of the 1944 bombing. It houses several valuable 17th-century works of art;
- Church of the Madonna delle Grazie: this small rural chapel dating back to the 17th century is situated near the Santa Francesca farm. It features a façade preceded by a portico with three rows of arches and a bell gable;
- Talamone Cemetery: a small, picturesque cemetery with several noteworthy chapels inside. One of the most prominent is the monumental Art Nouveau Vivarelli Mausoleum, designed by the architect, Lorenzo Porciatti.
Let’s take a look at the most important sites of military architecture in Talamone:
- Walls of Talamone: they form the town’s defensive system. The first city walls were built during the 13th century by the Aldobrandeschi counts. Numerous renovations have been carried out over the centuries. The last renovation took place in 2012. Of the ancient gateways to the village, only Porta Garibaldi remains;
- Faro di Talamone: a coastal lighthouse dating back to 1865, built to illuminate the town’s promontory. The current appearance is a result of the renovations in 1947;
- Torre delle Cannelle: the tower was built by the Medici in the second half of the 16th century on the border with the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It was renovated in the 18th century and decommissioned in the second half of the following century. It lies to the north of the town, on a promontory overlooking the sea, near Cala di Forno;
- Torre di Capo d’Uomo: the tower was built in the 16th century on an existing fortification, dating back to medieval times. It lies to the north of Talamone, within the Maremma Natural Park. It was used as a lookout.
Rocca Aldobrandesca in Talamone
The Rocca is one of the local symbols – an imposing fortress that dominates the entire town. It was built during the 13th century as a lookout and fortress. It was extended and renovated by the Sienese in the following century and modified in the 15th century. The Rocca became the assembly point for volunteers who embarked at Talamone for Garibaldi’s Expedition of the Thousand. It was damaged by bombing in 1944 and then, restored to its former glory. It has a rectangular layout with four towers at the corners. Three of these look very similar, while the North Tower is taller and more imposing.
Talamone’s town beaches
There are several beaches among the most beautiful natural locations in Talamone where you can relax and have fun. Some of them are located near the town centre while others are just a short distance away.
Let’s take a look at the most attractive ones:
- Free Cannone beach: right in the centre. It is a south-facing beach that is easy to reach but very small and rocky. It is very popular and the water is clear and very clean. It is always sheltered from the wind, with a view of the Monte Argentario Promontory and the Island of Giglio. The seabed is very enticing and a great place for snorkelling enthusiasts. It is easy to reach and just a short walk from the centre of Talamone;
- Bagno delle donne: the beach lies to the east of the old town centre but is still very central and easy to reach. The entire beach is occupied by the beach resort of the same name, with sun umbrellas and sunbeds. There are numerous slopes and steps for easy access to the sea. The landscape is beautiful and breath-taking, with views of the Rocca Aldobrandesca. It is a perfect beach for children because there are numerous areas of shallow water. But it is also excellent for diving enthusiasts with its very colourful and varied seabed;
- Spiaggia della Fertilia: this is a long free beach within the Gulf of Talamone, a short distance from Fonteblanda. A popular spot for kite surfing, windsurfing and water sports enthusiasts in general.
What to do in Talamone
Talamone is packed with places to visit and points of interest to discover.
Let’s take a look at the most interesting ones:
- Talamone Aquarium: it documents the plant and sea life in the lagoon area of the municipality of Orbetello. It was opened in 1998 in the former gym of the primary school in Via Nizza. It is divided into four exhibition halls based on water depth, salinity and temperature. The pools provide an insight into how the environment changes from an artificial sea channel such as the Fibbia, Nassa and Ansedonia, towards the most extreme areas of the lagoon, through a division by theme into five different environments: estuarine environment, marine lagoon environment, typical lagoon environment, continental lagoon environment, extreme lagoon environment. This is where you can observe fish such as sea bream, mullet, bass and eel.
The aquarium also houses the “Tartanet”, a veterinary clinic for the recovery and care of sea turtles.
There is also a Museum of Fishing and Lagoon Traditions at the Talamone Aquarium, with a display of the tools used by the lagoon fishermen, such as trawl nets, clam nets, “burchiella” boats, jon boats, fishing lights, spears, fishing nets, carts, and hand nets;
- Etruscan Temple of Talmonaccio: located on the Bengodi hill, on the eastern end of the bay of Talamone, it was built by the Etruscans in the 4th century BC in honour of the deity, Tinia. It was over 20 metres long, 12 metres wide and 4 metres high. You can now view the bases of some columns, the partial remains of the chamber, the ruins of the sacred area and the cistern on the left side. It was destroyed and set on fire in the 1st century BC during the conflicts between Sulla and Marius. The most beautiful and best preserved part, that has survived to present day, is the pediment, a terracotta ornamentation that was placed on the rear façade of the temple and depicted the myth of the Seven against Thebes. Oedipus, blind and in despair, is portrayed in the centre of the scene, beside Jocasta and her two dying sons, Polynices and Eteocles;
- Villa Romana: dating back to 100 AD, the imperial-owned villa at the heart of the interests of the Empire until at least the 6th century. The remains are visible from the area of the Church of Madonna delle Grazie. The site cannot currently be visited because it is fenced off;
- Maremma Natural Park: one of the entrances to the park, a vast protected area covering about 100 km2, can be found near Talamone. It is largely occupied by the Uccellina Mountains and includes various ecosystems, but there are also archaeological sites that provide valuable evidence of human presence since prehistoric times. It is a perfect location for hiking, biking or horseback riding, taking advantage of the many trails.