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The Rocca Aldobrandesca di Talamone fortress

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A frazione of the comune of Orbetello - Grosseto Province

L'Assedio del 1946

The continuous struggles between the Barberini family (protected by France) and Pope Innocent X (supported by Spain and by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand II) led the French Cardinal Mazarin to set up a fleet with the aim of invading the ports of Tuscany and the Royal Presidia. Spaniards. The goal was to create good military bases and then aim for the conquest of the Kingdom of Naples, and begin the submission of the Spanish enemy.

Mazarin had full confidence in this expedition, knowing full well that Philip IV, King of Spain, and his Viceroy in Naples kept the Garrisons in a state of complete abandonment, with a few malnourished soldiers and scarcely stocked with ammunition. siege The Spanish Government, having become aware of the enemy plans, had appointed Don Rodrigo Ponze of Leon, Duke of Arcos, Viceroy of Naples, who promptly began preparations to avert the attack, sending soldiers, ammunition and food to Orbetello by means of galleys, Tartars and brigantines entrusted to General Don Carlo Della Gatta, who in the months preceding the siege had supplied and organized the army, and also organized the fleets of Sicily and Sardinia.



The attack of the French troops was sudden; the naval fleet led by prince Tommaso di Savoia cast anchors at the mouth of the Albegna river, putting the garrisons that were stationed there on the run, and conquering Porto Santo Stefano and Talamone. General Della Gatta concentrated all available forces in Orbetello, also arming civilians, priests and friars and supplies and ammunition were evacuated from Porto Ercole; always from Porto Ercole, ships and soldiers arrived who had managed to overcome the barrier of the French.

On 13 June off the Argentario, a great naval battle began between the French and Spanish fleets. In Orbetello the fight became more and more bloody: in one of the many clashes the son of Commander Della Gatta died, and his body still rests in the church of San Francesco. Meanwhile the Marquis Carocciolo, appointed commander of all the Spanish and Neapolitan forces of the Presidi, managed to force the defenses in Feniglia and to join Ansedonia with the other soldiers, bringing in reinforcements more than 9000 men. Faced with the renewed strength of the Spanish troops, the French withdrew and the troops led by Prince Tommaso di Savoia returned to France and Piedmont.

Feste di Maggio

It is said that on 12 May about four centuries ago a farmer, while plowing the land, saw the oxen suddenly stop and, realizing that something was blocking the plow, he began to dig. From the clods he emerged a skull, at the sight of which the oxen knelt. The skull was immediately believed to be a relic of San Biagio, patron saint of Orbetello, and carried in procession on a cart pulled by oxen. Every year, during the May Feasts, which always begin on the 15th of the month, the finding of the relic is remembered, with the ritual of the kiss of the head and the procession with the butteri.

Also in Orbetello, the Eel Festival and the Corsa dei Barchini take place, which today takes place on the last Sunday of July. It is a race dating back to 1768, born during the celebrations for the marriage between Ferdinand IV, King of Naples and the Two Sicilies and Maria Carolina, Archduchess of Austria; the fishermen of Orbetello still challenge each other with oars on the waters of the Lagoon, each crew combined with one of the five districts:

Piazza d'Armi, Stazione, Neghelli, Porto and Duomo. In the previous decades, during the holidays, the Fair of Goods and Livestock took place in Piazza Cavallotti; in Piazza del Duomo was held the Exhibition of horses, purebred foals and mules, attended by the Military Commission of comeback of the nearby, and still active, Army Cavalry Department based in Grosseto.

I Bagnetti

The "Politeama e Bagni Iris" bathhouse was built at the end of the last century near the Spanish Mill on the Eastern Lagoon, built entirely of wood on stilts. Called by the Orbetellans simply "I Bagnetti", it represented a remarkable cultural season for the Lagoon, thanks above all to the Theater and the Café, which with the cabins were housed by the establishment. During the bathing season, many were the customers who crowded it, both for the beaches and for the prose and operetta companies that performed at the Bagni.

Molino Spagnolo

Five of the nine mills that stood at the beginning of the dam were built by the Sienese in the sixteenth century: the only one left is known as the "Spanish mill", since about a century later the Spanish government took care of the restructuring, and the consolidation of the whole complex. Some of the mills were demolished, and made way for villas and an arena, "Arena Etruria", which remained open until 1956/57, inside which films, theatricals and outdoor dances were produced.

I Briganti

The territory consisting mainly of Mediterranean scrub favored, in the second half of the last century, the birth of the Brigandage phenomenon, transforming the Orbetello and Capalbiese countryside into the unconstrained kingdom of men who "went into hiding" to escape prison and earthly justice. In that period, many were those who left their lives to become "king of the bush": out of necessity, out of intolerance and rebellion against the new "Master State".

Sad and cruel men, courageous and inflexible, who had behind them stories of misery and hopeless work, of oppressions and injustices suffered, to escape from which they saw only one way: Biagini, Fioravanti, Stoppa, Ansuini, Menichetti, Ranucci and Albertini the best known.

None of them, however, achieved the extraordinary fame of Domenico Tiburzi, the best-known brigand of the Tuscan and Lazio Maremma, also known as Domenichino or Re di Lamone, and defined by various scholars "The Robin Hood of the Maremma", for the many actions he performed in defense of the poor people. He was born in 1836 in the province of Viterbo, and at the age of 33 he was sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Court of Civitavecchia for killing the guard of the Marquis Guglielmi who had surprised him with a bundle of grass on his shoulder.

After 3 years of imprisonment, Tiburzi escaped from prison with his companion, Domenico Biagini, and both went into hiding. His career, which lasted over twenty years, is tainted by numerous crimes. Hated and loved, cursed and blessed, the legend of him is part of the history of the Maremma in those post-Unitary years. There are many stories that surround the person of him, many of them real, others built around his mysterious character. Among the many, the one that caused the most sensation was when, having had a refuge built in the middle of the bush, as soon as the work was finished, he killed the author of the artifact for fear of some tip-off, and sent the money for the finished work to the widow. His adventure ended in 1896 in Capalbio, during a fire conflict with the Royal Carabinieri.

But also about the end of him another truth is told: that night of November 24, 1896, Tiburzi and his companion Fioravanti fired madly at the Carabinieri and the dogs who had discovered their refuge. During the shooting, Tiburzi was wounded in the leg, while Fioravanti managed to disappear into the scrub; now hunted by the Carabinieri, the King of Lamone did not give up, but aimed his rifle at his head and fired.

The Brigante's body was then buried in the shadow of a small cypress tree, half outside and half inside the cemetery. Tiburzi's is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most told and handed down story of brigands in the whole Maremma: in the collective imagination of young people, the image of him is still very strong.

His presence as a strong man, "King of the Scrub and of the Road", is part of the historical heritage of the new generations, who do not see in him the ruthless bandit who rob and kill, but the lonely and impetuous, elusive romantic hero who he knows pain, but not tiredness, nor fear, which flees and rebels against the master state. His story did not die with him, on that night more than a century ago; the legend of him was born at the very moment in which he fell under the blows of that State from which he fled, and still lives, through the stories that the Maremma oral tradition is handed down from generation to generation, between truth and myth.

Talamone

Coming from Aurelia, you reach the junction for Talamone: you go along the new, panoramic overpass, and you almost seem to glide over the wide gulf. From this first "observatory" you can enjoy, as if it were a welcome, a splendid panorama of the town and the port: it is of little importance whether you arrive in the evening or during the day, since either the sparkling shimmer of the sea or a skilful artificial lighting make it unforgettable this first meeting. As is immediately evident by looking at its profiles, Talamone is a small town perched on a promontory overlooking the sea pursued by the Uccellina Mountains. Here the serene and uncontaminated nature of the Maremma Natural Park, made of Mediterranean scrub and wild animals, finds the right balance with the surrounding sea: the gulf, and consequently the port, represent an excellent and peaceful natural landing place, ideal for boating.

This has been the case since the times of the Etruscans and Romans, and subsequently of the Sienese in the 15th century, who appreciated this place as a safe starting point for their ships. Today it is the ideal place for any nautical activity: the regular, strong and continuous wind makes it particularly suitable for sailing and windsurfing. A native of Talamone was Bartolomeo Peretti (d.1543), admiral of Pope Paul III Farnese, who here made a base for his naval battles in defense of the coastal territory from the incursions of the ferocious corsair Khair ad Din, a cruel Ottoman admiral, who kidnapped along the coast the graceful Margherita de 'Marsili of la Bella Marsilia.

After a short journey (approx. 4 km), you reach the inhabited area of ​​Talamone: the old town is enclosed within the walls, dominated by the square Rocca. Around and to the north, towards the hill, leaning against it and sloping down to the port, the new buildings surround the large number of moored boats which, slightly, sway and propagate the clink of the halyards against the masts in the air. It is advisable to take a walk along the walls inside the old town: views and glimpses of the coves and cliffs follow one another until you reach the belvedere near the lighthouse.

From here it is possible to appreciate a stupendous panorama that in the clear days of the north wind allows you to wander, embracing with your gaze from left to right, the Argentario promontory, the Argentarola island, the Giglio island and in front of you, on clearer days and more easily at sunset, the profile of the island of Montecristo and even the mountains above Bastia of far away Corsica.

Scrolling further to the right you can see two islets, one of which has a lighthouse, called Formiche di Grosseto, and even further, in succession, the Island of Elba, the coast of Punta Ala, of Castiglione della Pescaia: one hundred and eighty degrees absolutely unique and unforgettable, especially at sunset. At the top of the town stands the austere Rocca, built in the fifteenth century by the Sienese Republic on a project by the architect Lorenzo Di Pietro known as il Vecchietta (1412 - 1480).

Externally without openings, the building shows inside a valuable and simple architecture with a central courtyard, rooms obtained in the towers and various connecting corridors. Already almost completely restored, it will be used as an exhibition center dedicated to the historical - naturalistic aspects of the area. Descending into the village, you will pass into Piazza Garibaldi, so named because General Garibaldi landed here in search of armaments, who stayed there in 1860 during the expedition of the Thousand, as a plaque placed on the walls of a house recalls.

Then we arrive in Piazza IV Novembre, a small and silent sitting room where you can stop for a moment of relaxation, but also a splendid terrace overlooking the underlying harbor, which dominates from the top of the walls. In addition to the walk, along the piers and up to the head of the large breakwater, at the root of which the remains of the ancient Sienese port are clearly visible, it is advisable to make the excursion inside the Maremma Natural Park.

Two itineraries depart from Talamone, T1 and T2, which allow you to fully savor the somewhat wild nature of these places. From the port you go up the road towards the hill, at the top of which, after a short walk, there is a spectacular observation point overlooking the sea, which in ancient times was the site of a signaling and sighting system: the traffic light. From here it is possible to dominate the land and the sea with a single glance. Continuing, you can follow the T1 itinerary of the Park which rejoins with the other one until it brings you back to the entrance of the town: the tour allows you to enjoy, in the various seasons, the smells and colors of the Mediterranean scrub, here particularly thick, rich in oaks, holm oaks, pines, ornelli, scopigni and with rare examples of rovella. In addition to a remarkable variety of plants, it will be possible to come across wild rabbits, badgers, porcupines, wild boars, fallow deer and roe deer.

Don't forget to be quiet and keep the camera paused, ready for use. A more complete visit of the Maremma Park can be made by going to Alberese from where other interesting itineraries of the lowland areas start, kingdom of the cowboys and Maremma oxen with large and very long horns. Really not to be missed, strongly recommended, is the sea excursion along the jagged and suggestive coast. By sailing you will understand why the water here is so clean and transparent: the scrub literally drops down to the water, even throwing itself into the sea, and no settlement is present along miles and miles of coastline.

The succession of ever new and different coves will push you further north until you reach the Cannelle, dominated by an ancient tower and so called due to the presence of a copious source of fresh water in the sea. Further on you arrive at the Frontone: rocks overlooking the sea in which several interesting and suggestive caves invite you to enter, while above, on the rocks beaten by the saltiness, some species of rare plants live, including the fern and the dwarf palm, and the herring gull nests. After passing the tip, we finally reach Cala il Forno: a small, sheltered and discreet gulf where the most uncontaminated Maremma melts into the sea in an enchantment of one hundred and one hundred colors and smells.

Ansedonia

The rocky promontory of Ansedonia with its 114 meters of height dominates a large part of the Silver Coast. It connects Monte Argentario with the mainland by means of the Feniglia tombolo. Its history is inextricably linked to that of the City of Cosa: the ancient Roman colony whose remains, also visible from the sea, were brought to light during an excavation campaign. We certainly know that after having conquered the territory of Vulci, the Romans founded Cosa around the third century BC: everything concerning the eras prior to this date still remains shrouded in an aura of mystery.

The area probably already hosted a small Etruscan center, from which the new conquerors drew the manpower necessary to build the city. Subsequently, the proximity to the capital and the strategic position for those times made Cosa and its port located at the foot of the hill an important commercial center. The inhabited center, located on the top of the hill, was surrounded by an imposing wall on which 17 towers rose, arranged in such a way as to be able to easily control a vast stretch of sea, thus ensuring a timely defense action. The city was accessed through three doors: "Porta Marina", "Porta Romana", "Porta Fiorentina".

On the right of the latter stood a large building intended for the storage of food and products of various kinds. Further on was the house known as "Quintinio Fulvio" (1st century BC); on its foundations an Antiquarium was built, at the behest of the American Academy, in which the finds that came to light during the excavations are kept. Continuing north-east, you entered the Baths and from these you entered the Forum, passing under an arch with three arches.

Many of the community's political, religious and commercial activities were concentrated here; in fact there were many shops, a basilica, the comitium, the temple dedicated to the goddess Concordia and the prison. From the Forum, the sacred way led to the area where the buildings of the actual worship were located, such as the Temple consecrated to the Goddess Mater Matuta and the imposing Capitolium, built in 150 BC.

Cosa's splendor faded suddenly in 71 BC, when it was first sacked and then set on fire. It remained uninhabited for about half a century and only during the rule of Augustus did it experience a new period of prosperity. In fact, the population soon began to concentrate in the area below the port and the few who remained were killed or fled during the invasion of Alaric's Visigoths. Subsequently the city, now semi-destroyed, served only as a refuge for pirates and bandits of all kinds, while the new settlement north of the port took the name of Sub Cosa.

La Tagliata

At the foot of the eastern slope of the Ansedonia hill, where the port of Cosa stood, lies the Tagliata beach, which owes its name to the marvelous work of Roman hydraulic engineering created to improve the ebb and flow of water from the port, in order to avoid the cover-up. For this purpose it had to serve before a landslide rendered it useless, due to a natural fissure in a rock known as the Queen's Spacco. In the surrounding area you can still see the remains of the concrete piers and the ruins of a Roman villa which must have been of considerable size, if some parts are even found near the Torre di Giacomo Puccini, built around 1500.