Discovering the Colline Metallifere National Park is a journey through the geological and mining history of an ancient territory, from the Etruscans to the 20th-century miners.

Massa Marittima and the Colline Metallifere Grossetane National Park represent one of the most fascinating and evocative locations in Tuscany.
Massa Marittima is a town that maintains its medieval appearance, with cobbled streets and numerous historical monuments, including the Cathedral of San Cerbone and the Palazzo Comunale.

The Colline Metallifere Grossetane, on the other hand, is a mountain range of natural and archaeological interest, where it is possible to admire a great variety of flora and fauna. You will also discover archaeological sites of great historical value, such as the ancient mercury mines and the ruins of Etruscan cities.
The National Park offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, horse riding or mountain biking, or simply enjoying the unspoiled nature. In addition, the park hosts various activities for visitors of all ages, like workshops for children, guided hikes, and lessons on the ecology of the area.

Here are five experiences not to be missed out on between Massa Marittima and the Colline Metallifere National Park.

Colline Metallifere Grossetane National Park

Geyser at the National Park of Colline Metallifere Grossetane
Italy Tuscany Sasso Pisano, the geothermal park with fumaroles and pools of mud and thermal water

We are in the Colline Metallifere Grossetane National Park, a set of fascinating landscapes with wooded hills, geysers, lakes, and tunnels carved into the ground.

It is a park that enables us to go back to the past to discover the mines and discover the area of the metal-bearing hills. On the inside, different aspects of history are retraced.
You can explore the mines through a multi-thematic itinerary involving industrial archaeology, natural and environmental aspects, and the architecture of castles and villages.

The National Park covers over one thousand square kilometers and surrounds seven towns: Follonica, Gavorrano, Massa Marittima, Monterotondo Marittimo, Montieri, Roccastrada, and Scarlino.
Each of these has a ‘Gateway‘ to the Park with a starting point for itineraries, guided tours, and various activities. If you are looking for adventure you can go cycling and trekking, horse riding and climbing, quad biking, canoeing, and kayaking.

You can begin your journey from the ‘gateway’ to the spectacular medieval town of Massa Marittima. The Tourist Office is full of information on itineraries, accommodation, and rentals.

1. Cycling in the National Park

Women cycling in Massa Marittima and its National Park
Cycling Tuscany, Italy.

The National Park offers numerous possibilities for cycling enthusiasts. One of the most beautiful routes is Via Francigena, which runs through the park from Massa Marittima to Monterotondo Marittimo. The route is about 25 km long and unwinds through woods, vineyards, and ancient mercury mines.

Another very suggestive itinerary is the Sentiero dei Tre Rifugi (Three Mountain Huts Trail).
It is a circular route of about 30 km that starts in Montieri and crosses the park, passing by three shelters. The trail features panoramic sceneries, including beech forests, alpine meadows, and volcanic lakes.

Finally, more experienced cyclists can tackle the climb to Monte Arsenti, the highest point in the park (about 1,000 meters above sea level). It may seem but the panoramic view of southern Tuscany is worth the effort.

2. Discovering mines on horseback

mines of Massa Marittima
Picture by Canva Pro

The National Parkdelle Colline Metallifere Grossetane provides many trails for horseback riding. These lead through forests, alpine meadows, and ancient Roman roads, allowing visitors to admire the beauty of the area and the variety of local flora and fauna.
You will live a unique experience immersed in nature, enjoying a suggestive atmosphere and a feeling of both freedom and adventure.

The park includes several mercury mines, such as the famous Montevecchio Mine. On a horseback excursion, you can visit the mines and learn about the history of mining in the area, admiring the ancient excavations and the beautiful natural surroundings.

3. Climbing in the heart of the forest

Climbing at Poggio al Montone
Picture by Canva Pro

Not far from Massa Marittima, in the heart of the woods, stands the small cliff of Poggio al Montone, which rises to 330 meters. This volcanic rock wall, thanks to its geological conformation and panoramic position, represents one of the best areas for sports climbing in the area.
The wall offers numerous routes of varying difficulty, suitable for both beginners and more experienced climbers. There are 25 bolted routes, some also suitable for those trying it for the first time. The length varies from 10 to 20 m.

The position of the cliff guarantees a spectacular panoramic view of the city and the surrounding hills. Thanks to the presence of a climbing school, you can participate in climbing and rock courses, learning basic techniques and improving one’s skills.
The cliff of Poggio al Montone is therefore a must-see for those who want to experience a unique adventure in contact with nature.

4. Admire the Historical Center of Massa Marittima

Old town of Massa Marittima
Old town of Massa Marittima

Finally, visitors can immerse themselves in the ancient beauty of the village of Massa Marittima, a small jewel to explore not far from the coast. The historic center is rich in monuments and attractions.
One of the places not to be missed is the Cathedral of San Cerbone, or the Duomo of Massa Marittima, an important example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Built on a steep and wide staircase, you will notice that the façade is a blend of styles, while inside it recalls a more austere Romanesque style.

Another unmissable attraction is Piazza Garibaldi, the heart of the city, which offers a spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Here is also the Palazzo Comunale, a medieval building that houses the Archaeological Museum and the Pinacoteca. Another very interesting attraction is the Museum of Sacred Art, which houses a collection of paintings and religious sculptures of remarkable value.

5. Immerse yourself in the blue of the Maremma Coast

Beach of Cala Violina
Picture by Francescomusico83, via Wikimedia

The Maremma coast is characterized by long sandy beaches, ideal for spending a day at the beach.
Cala Violina is located inside the Diaccia Botrona Nature Reserve and it is certainly one of the most spectacular. The beach is characterized by crystal-clear waters and fine white sand, which produces a particular sound when stepped on.

Another popular beach is that of Follonica, located a few kilometers from the Colline Metallifere Grossetane park. It features a crystal-clear sea, ideal for swimming and water sports.
Finally, the beach of Castiglione della Pescaia is another destination that you cannot miss, thanks to its panoramic position and crystal-clear waters.

Overall, Massa Marittima and its surrounding area offer a diverse range of outdoor activities, from exploring historic landmarks and museums to immersing oneself in the stunning natural beauty of the Maremma region.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking adventure or simply looking to relax and unwind, this part of Tuscany has something for everyone!

Cover image via Canva PRO

Author: Mariateresa Campanale

Hi, I’m Mariateresa and I’m 21. I’m studying Modern Languages in Trento, but I was born in Altamura, know as the city of bread in Apulia. I really enjoy going on adventures when I have the chance to, both in Italy and in foreign countries. I spend my leisure time mostly by reading classic novels that really make me daydream.
More posts by Mariateresa Campanale →

This entry was posted in travel stories and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.