GROSSETO, FROM SMALL FIEF TO MAJOR CITY

This history of the city is also characterised by the continuous conflict first with Siena and then with the Medici family.

History

The archaeological findings recovered to date show that the first traces of a small settlement in the area where Grosseto stands today date back to the Etruscan era. However, the name of the city appears for the first time in a parchment dating back to 803 AD, where there is documentation of a settlement “in loco Grossito”, which later appears as a fief of the Aldobrandeschi family from Lucca. They transformed the city from castle into a fief and subsequently into a Civitas, until Siena began its expansion into this part of the Maremma. The first pacts of allegiance were stipulated in order to pacify the revolts and battles between the two parties, until complete subjugation to Siena took place between 1334 and 1336. The progressive decline of the city was also accompanied by frequent raids and depredation of the area, among which we should recall the incursion in 1447 by the Neapolitan troops of King Alfonso of Aragon and the expedition of the mercenary troops of Jacopo Piccinino in 1455. Siennese rule waned definitively in 1559, when the territories of Siena were included within the Grand Duchy of Tuscany under Cosimo I de Medici, following the armed intervention of Emperor Charles V. Medici rule lasted until 1735; two years later, following the treaty of Vienna, which marked the end of the Polish war of succession, the Lorraine was taken away from Duke Francis Stephen and as compensation he was allocated the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. At the end of the 18th century the history of Grosseto is bound to the French Revolution, Napoleonic rule and the restoration which saw the Lorraine family returned to the throne. Finally, following the plebiscite of 15 May 1860, the destiny of the city became linked to the unification of Italy.

The city and its monuments

Our trip through the Tuscan city starts from Piazza Fratelli Rosselli, where we find the Palazzo del Governo and the post office building; between Via Borghi and Viale Matteotti there is the  Ludovico Quaroni complex of buildings. We then reach Corso Carducci, considered the main road of the historic centre, from Porta Nuova. Continuing our excursion we arrive at the Duomo, constructed between 1294 and 1302 and restored several times; the Archaeology and Art Museum  situated in Piazza Baccarini contains numerous archaeological and prehistoric findings from the province of Grosseto, along with paintings by the Siennese school dating back to between the 13th  and 17th centuries, wooden statues, pottery and coins. Finally, the church of San Francesco is worth visiting: constructed in Gothic style, it dates back to the 13th century and has been renovated several times. Inside there are 14th century frescoes by the most important artists of the time.

The geographical area

Off the coast of Grosseto we find the island of Giglio, which like the other six islands in the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago, offers a wealth of typically Mediterranean flora and fauna:  exploring the footpaths crossing the island brings tourists into contact with a world of fragrances, sounds and colours which one might have thought had disappeared. The island, thanks to the variety of the geographical area, is the ideal destination both for those seeking a relaxing holiday in contact with nature and for those looking for sun, sea and fashionable life. On the Tyrrhenian sea we find the town of Follonica, known for its metallurgical, paper and chemical industries. In the last few years the town has seen considerable development as a seaside resort and offers a wide range of facilities for the most demanding clientele. Castiglione della Pescaia, a well-established port in the Etruscan and Roman era, is still considered an important fishing centre and a famous seaside resort. In addition to the island of Giglio, mentioned earlier, the province of Grosseto also includes the island of Giannutri; small but picturesque, it is possible to cross it completely in a couple of hours, making it the ideal place for spending a pleasant relaxing day, walking along the cliffs amidst the Mediterranean bush, while flocks of seagulls fly over the sea. Finally, Saturnia, an ancient Etruscan and Roman spa, is today a quiet peaceful tourist resort which exploits the nearby sulphurous thermal waters.