Grosseto is the biggest city in the Maremma, an area of southern Tuscany that is just 14 kilometres from the Tyrrhenian Sea. The town dates to the Early Middle Ages, and it later grew in importance before becoming one of the most prominent cities in Tuscany. Between the 12th and 15th centuries, Siena, Florence and the Spanish ruled Grosseto, but it was under the Medici family that the city was transformed into a fortress. In 1574, defensive walls began to be built, which are still well-maintained today, and the area was drained and road networks installed. Following the Lorraine takeover, Grosseto continued to flourish. Today, Grosseto is a beautiful city surrounded by a green plain, and by walking along its streets and observing its monuments, you can witness 12 centuries of history.
A trip to Grosseto would not be complete without visiting the fortified walls. The hexagonal 16th-century wall, overshadowed by the impressive Medici Fortress, was built in 1574 and replaced the ones from the 12–14th centuries. Once intended to defend the city, they now form a pleasant tree-lined walk used as a public park.
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is a Roman Catholic church completed in the Romanesque style, home to an abundant collection of artwork. Its construction began at the end of the 13th century and was finished in the 15th century. It has a Latin cross plan, a distinctive façade with alternating layers of white and black marble, a bell tower built in 1402 on the left side and another on the right side that looks out on to piazza Dante; the square characterized by a Roman column topped with a Corinthian capital, used in medieval times to post public notices.
Piazza Dante is the main square in Grosseto and home to the Canapone monument, a sculpture completed in 1846 by the artist Luigi Magi, which depicts the Grand Duke Leopold II of Lorraine crushing the head of a snake, representative of the malaria that blighted the population of Maremma.
Palazzo Aldobrandeschi is medieval in origin, but was almost entirely rebuilt in the early 19th century, meaning that the offices of the Province of Grosseto are neo-Gothic in style.
The Church of San Francesco is situated in the piazza of the same name and dates to the Middle Ages. It was originally a Benedictine church, before being taken over later by Franciscans, and has undergone several restorations over the centuries. Inside, art lovers will delight in seeing the famous Crucifix by Duccio di Boninsegna. Another church worth seeing is the Church of San Pietro; the oldest religious building in Grosseto, it was a originally a plebeian church and can be found along the old consular road.
The Museum of Maremma Archaeology and Art deserves a visit due to the important paintings and archaeological finds that can be found inside. It’s one of the most important collections of Etruscan artefacts and occupies three floors of the former court building in the centre of Grosseto. The exhibition route is divided into five sections, containing Etruscan cinerary urns and pottery, an exhibition dedicated to the ancient town of Roselle, archaeology in the Grosseto area, sacred art and medieval archaeology in the Maremma and Grosseto.