Nature and walks in southern Tuscany
Monday 2 – Sunday 8 May 2022
Monday 2 May
After meeting at Fiumicino airport, we travelled to Monti della Tolfa for a short walk and plant hunting, and saw Pyrus spinosa, beautiful Cercis siliquastrum, a field of asphodels, Cynara cardunculus (wild artichoke), amazing clay grasslands and heard the sound of the nightingale.
Our excellent guide, Prof Goffredo Filibeck of Tuscia University
Cercis siliquastrum stands out in the vista
Fields of asphodels
Mixed clay grasslands
Tuesday 3 May
The second day in Maremma started on the south-west slopes of Monte Argentario, was followed by a substantial lunch at a brilliant family-run restaurant and an afternoon on Gianella beach, where we looked at psammophytic flora, and had a walk through woodland of Quercus suber and Pinus pinea.
Cytinus ruber, parasitic on cistus
Walking to the ruins on the top of Capo d’Omo promontory
Anthemis maritima and Juniperus macrocarpa on Giannella beach
Wednesday 4 May
It was a glorious day on Giglio Island, arriving at the picturesque Giglio Porto by ferry, then hiking along the main granite ridge with wonderful views, cistus shrubland, colourful annuals and spectacular orchids. The weather was kind, and the shared picnic lunch was much appreciated and enjoyed by all.
Giglio Porto was just like a postcard
It was a day of incredible views
Muscari comosum / Leopoldia comosa
A designer couldn’t have improved on nature
Anacamptis papilionacea pale form
Back to Giglio Castello
Thursday 6 May
There was some rain today in Maremma, so the long walk planned was changed to a shorter walk in the Maremma National Park in Alberese, followed by a wander through an interesting species-rich grassland after lunch.
The umbrella pines (Pinus pinea) were certainly doing their job today
Paliurus-spina-christi with its beautiful seed pods
Beautiful colour splashes
Three stages of Trifolium stellatum
Friday 6 May
Today we left Porto Santo Stefano, travelling inland for the latter part of our trip. On the way we visited Pitigliano and its tuff rock tracks and catacombs, lunched at an agriturismo (a farm which also receives guests) and walked by Etruscan ruins near the half-abandoned village of Sovana.
The extraordinary sight of Pitigliano
The Vie Cave are gigantic ancient corridors around Pitigliano, Sovana and Sorano, carved into the tuff by the Etruscans
Etruscan necropolis of San Giuseppe, Sorano
Entrance to Sovana village
Hildebrand’s tomb, the most famous Etruscan tomb in the Sovana necropolis
Statue carved from tuff at Agriturismo Aia del Tufo
Saturday 7 May
The last day of the tour was spent walking in the Monte Penna nature reserve and then some free time to explore the village of Sovana.
Mossy woodland in Monte Penna nature reserve
Delicious food at Agriturismo Il Cornacchino today
STOP it said, so we did, and were very glad to find a huge range of interesting plants on one grass verge
It was an excellent and well organised tour with a fantastic mix of wild scenery, walking, eating, good company, great guidance and of course, the stars of the show, the plants!
Text and images by Lesley Jones