Crafts in Maremma: the Maremma, land of butteri and... lavender!
The Maremma, together with Chianti, Val d'Orcia and Valdelsa, is one of the most characteristic and iconic landscapes of Tuscany. Grosseto is particularly fascinating, including the Ombrone Valley, extending from the Gulf of Follonica to the mouth of the Chiarone. The villages of Maremma are a real charm and Capalbio is undoubtedly one of these, the "Little Athens" that preserves an ancient history and important works of art. But what characterizes this land are mainly the vast lands dotted with hills, crossed by horses and cows that roam free or herds led by cowboys. What about the lavender fields, as spectacular as the expanses of sunflowers in other areas of Tuscany. This is the most authentic and intimate face of the Maremma, to be discovered perhaps during the holidays in Capalbio.
The Maremma of the butteri
If today they are mainly folk figures linked to the Maremma traditions, in the past the butteri were fundamental characters to guide entire herds of horses and cows Maremma. The term buttero comes from butoros, a Latin word: in fact, butteri have always been considered the best tamers in Italy. They worked from dawn until dusk, riding with their anti-rain pastrani and with wide pitched hats: they slept in improvised solutions, in huts built with broom branches, eating a frugal meal made of chicory and bread. Their affirmation occurs, also internationally, in 1890 when the "Wild West Show" arrives in Italy, a folkloric traveling circus clearly inspired by the character of Buffalo Bill. The cowboys, led by Augusto Imperiali, challenged the same American cowboys, behaving very well, representing since then the wildest face of Italy. If in the Alberese Farm, about 40 km from Capalbio and located in the heart of the lush Uccellina Park, work actively four butteri, in general these charming characters perform at local fairs and events. They stage games of balance on horseback, livestock markings, wild rides and fantastic gallop choreography. Among the events in Capalbio that have the butteri as protagonists there is the "Tournament of the Butteri" that takes place in the middle of summer: many VIPs go to Capalbio on these occasions, perfect to experience the most authentic and true Maremma atmosphere. It is certainly also the right occasion to visit the same Capalbio, a medieval village surrounded by a double wall and dominated by the size of the Rocca Aldobrandesca: it is a fortress, complete with a crenellated tower next to which is the Palazzo Collacchioni, Inside it is kept the piano played by the composer Giacomo Puccini. In front of the fortress stands the beautiful Pieve di San Nicola dating back to the twelfth century and decorated with elegant Renaissance frescoes.
Lavender in Maremma: fields around Capalbio and processing
Many bind lavender exclusively to Provence, in France, ignoring that even in Tuscany there are lavender fields that have little to envy those of France. The Maremma itself, thanks to its excellent climatic conditions and the presence of calcareous and stony soils, has developed over time an important tradition in the biological cultivation of lavender, both of the Officinale and the Lavandino variety. Lavender is attributed to a series of beneficial properties, by virtue of its analgesic, antiseptic, bactericidal, antiemetic and antinevralgic: the same unmistakable scent of lavender, which many will remember what came out of the old trunks of grandmothers. It is widely used in aromatherapy, helping to relax and ward off anxiety. Just go to one of the many lavender fields in Maremma, usually located to the south to avoid the frost and encourage the rapid drying of the land, to make a real sensory experience: Intoxicating scents, the violet color that stretches for hundreds of meters and the absolute silence, interrupted only by the buzz of a few bees, for which lavender plants are vital. In Maremma, lavender produces a series of useful products both at home and for the body: for example, lavender essential oil, soaps, cosmetic products, scented bags for laundry or crafts. How not to mention the food products based on lavender, such as relaxing herbal teas or honey, also used in the preparation of some dishes that have become part of the traditional Tuscan cuisine. Among the activities to do in Capalbio there are absolutely trips to discover the lavender fields of the Maremma, starting with those of Gavorrano, where there is the Lavanda di Maremma farm that organically cultivates lavender, making on site handmade products. Beautiful are also the lavender fields in Sorano and those of Civitella Marittima, where the lavender fields lie almost as far as the eye can see, with butterflies and fluttering bees that help make the atmosphere even more enchanting. Organic lavender is also cultivated in Marina di Grosseto, with fields with maritime pines and domestic pines in the background of the historic Pineta del Tombolo.
Hotels Valle del Buttero
Just outside the historic center of Capalbio is the Hotel Valle del Buttero, a small jewel surrounded by the Maremma nature that stands out for the friendliness and attention to detail made available to guests. The rooms, the elegant suites and the two-room apartments are complete with every comfort and the courtesy set, consisting of local olive oil products, is the symbol of hospitality of the Hotel Valle del Buttero. The fitness area responds to the needs of those who do not want to give up keeping fit even on vacation while breakfast gives the sweetest awakening: the desserts, from tarts to cakes and jams, are homemade with products strictly in Km0, enhancing the territory even more. The Hotel Valle del Buttero is the home where everyone would like to stay during an unforgettable holiday in Maremma.