Tuscany is undoubtedly one of the most popular regions of Italy. Year after year, tourists flock to its famous attractions. Few people are aware, however, of the munificent charms that lie – often undisturbed – in the nooks and crannies of this breathtaking landscape.
On the road to the secluded town of Pitigliano in the province of Grosseto, make sure you divert from your trail to visit the shadowy and haunting Vie Cave. Literally translated as ‘sunken roads’, this cave comprises a network of narrow pathways which, thousands of years ago, were carved from the stone by a band of Etruscans. There is an overwhelming and palpable aura of mystery which clings to this cave. This is partly down to the spooky carvings which ornament the 25 metre-high walls, and partly because no-one really knows how, or indeed why, these ancient pathways were created. Did it make up part of an ancient burial ground? Was it an underground hideaway? Why not visit the Vie Cave and formulate your own opinion?
Just off the Tuscan coast, Pianosa is one of the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Like the Vie Cave, this island also has an unmistakably ghostly feel to it. There are many abandoned buildings on the island, as, many years ago, it was used as a prison to isolate the most heinous and dangerous criminals in Italy from society. Nowadays, along with the other islands which make up the archipelago, Pianosa, in light of its eerie beauty and diverse array of wildlife, is a designated National Park.
Bagno Vignoni is a must-visit destination for anyone who is interested in the rich history of Tuscany. A far cry from many of today’s villas in Tuscany with their ultra-modern conveniences, Bagno Vignoni is underpinned with Italian cultural traditions of old: atmospheric taverns from the 16th century; huge rolling vineyards and olive groves; thermal waters spewing from a deep underground volcano; and, last but not least, a group of relaxing thermal baths.