The Maremma

A short historical-geographical account

This geographic zone includes the Tyrrhenian coastal plain of the Versilia allAgro pontino, and more precisely the plain of Pisa, that of Grosseto, the western slopes of the Agro Romano and other minor coastal and flood plains. It has a complex extension of about five thousand square kilometres and a maximum sea depth of about forty kilometres. For the different historical events and for the different traditions it is divided into three parts. The Maremma Pisa-Livorno (or northern) that gravitates around Cecina and extends to the extreme southern slopes of the Livornese hills (Rosignano) until San Vincenzo. The Maremma grossetana that coincides roughly with the province of Grosseto and is limited northwards and eastwards by mountains (the most notable being Monte Amiata). The Maremma lazial includes the territory that extends from Cerveteri to Tarquinia closed in the south by the Monti of Tolfa. The Maremma territory has known through the course of millenni environmental transformations that have brought about the near total destruction of the characteristic countryside of marshes, ponds, bogs, hemmed in for long tracts of the coast by a high barrier of dunes, the so-called Tomboli that prevents the water from ebbing into the sea. The first reclamation works where done by the Etruscans who founded Tarquinia, Populonia, Ansedonia, Vetulonia and where continued in Roman times, when important hydraulic works permitted economic prosperity and the populating of some swampy land near to the coast. With the fall of the Roman Empire the widespread large estates, the abandonment of the countryside and malaria determined the phenomenon of the reappearnce of the marshes of the Marmemma that continued until 1826 when Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany performed reclamation works deviating the water from the rivers Cornia, Pacone and Ombrone. After the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy these works were followed very slowly; in our century they were taken up by the initiative of a national organisation of servicemen and after the last war by the Maremma Corporation that, particularly in Grossetano, also proceeded a new agricultural organisation (assigning farm land - hill houses and infrastructure).