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Golf holidays - Argentario & Maremma
One of Tuscany's best kept secrets is Maremma in the southwest of the province with its dense forests bordering long sandy beaches. Just off the coast is the small island of Argentario that is joined to the mainland by two narrow isthmi. This island is nearly all National Park so largely unbesmirched by human hand. Indeed, apart from the small marina at Porto Ercole and the larger town and port of San Stefano, Argentario is pretty much all trees and the occasional very secluded villa.
The climate in this part of Italy is basically hot. In the Summer months temperatures can soar into the 40s (too hot for most golfers!); in Spring and Autumn the weather is just perfect for golf with temperatures around the mid-20s and gentle sea-breezes; the Winter should not be discounted though as they rarely see the single figure end of the thermometer, although the Bermuda grasses on the courses will take on their dormant beigy-brown colour.
The golf courses of Argentario & Maremma
By far the best two courses in the area are the two at Argentario and Saturnia. This makes Argentario the ideal place to stay if you are looking for a quiet few days of warm golf, fine food and a little sightseeing.
On your way to or from Saturnia you should take the detour to the hill-top citadel of Pitigliano - an amazing sight and a perfect little town for strolling.
Punta Ala & Il Pelagone
There are another two golf courses to the north of Maremma: the original 1960s course at Punta Ala and the more recent addition at the Il Pelagone resort.
Punta Ala itself is quite a strange place. An enclave dedicated to sun worshipping with no real centre, just a few hotels, a scattering of villas and a road system that makes Milton Keynes look straightforward! Holidaymakers come here for the huge sandy beaches and appear to spend their whole day on the sun-loungers. And the Golf Hotel Punta Ala is nowhere near the Golf Club by the way!
Nearby is the Pelagone resort which has been very well built by an Austrian tour company: rooms are large and all the facilities are good. It does however focus almost exclusively on the Austrian and German market so all the guests and staff are German: possibly not what you would be expecting on an Italian golf holiday?!?
Getting to Argentario & Maremma
The Maremma region of Italy is most easily reached from the Roman airports, from where it is under two hours to reach Argentario (unless you stop for a game en-route at Le Querce for example).
You can also fly to Pisa and drive down the coast from there which should take about two hours also (unless you get sidetracked by the scenery!).
Being close to so many other Italian attractions, many people use a visit to Maremma as part of a longer holiday, combining it with a golf holiday in Tuscany, a visit to Rome or a few days languishing beside the seaside.
Maremma - what to see and do
Around Maremma the main attractions are the coastal towns like Castiglione del Peschaia with its medieval fortifications above the new town and the beaches. This is a good dining spot if you are passing through.
The main town in the region is Grossetto, which has a concentrated 'centro storico' comprising a large piazza with the cathedral and town hall buildings: worthy of a stroll.
Inland, and close to Saturnia Golf Club is Pitigliano, a classic hill-top town, built as only the Italians could. Nearby is Sovanna, another ancient town much smaller than Pitigliano whose highlight is the 13th Century church which is beautifully preserved.