If you want a place where you can go back to simpler times and relax, breathe in the fresh air of nature while enjoying the ambiance of a medieval hill town, this town is for you. Campagnatico occupies a ridge in the Maremma area of Tuscany, and has that much-desired Old World appeal, with a slow pace but plenty to do (if you want to!) There's plenty of la dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing) too, if you want to just take a break from rushing around, sit in the piazza, meander the lanes, and savor the local foods.

The town of Campagnatico is lovely, with medieval towers, castles, churches and parts of its ancient protective walls intact. The walls were once studded with watch towers all around it, mindful of the city-states wars that often flared up in those times. It's a cute place, with pleasant amber-hued stone constructions. The town is also desirable as being "suspended between the sea and the mountains" so you can enjoy it all - the gentle hills, the peaks, the seacoast, from one place.

The heart of town is Piazza Garibaldi. At least, that is where the town hall and de-consecrated church of Sant'Antonio Abate are located. The Romanesque structure is the oldest church in town, now hosting special events and private parties. From Piazza Garibaldi, a few steps on the street leads up to the Piazza Dante, with its pair of cafes and dolce vita ambiance.

The Rocca is at the top of town, part of a former stronghold castle belonging to the Aldobrandeschi family. As you can imagine, there are sweeping views over the countryside from up there. Called the Castello Aldobrandeschi, it is dated to the 8th century, and while it is in ruins is still intriguing with part of its tall square tower standing. Neraby, Castello Montorsaio is a13th century structure on a wooded hill, that was passed among noble famlies in the frazione of Montorsaio. It had double-walled protection with an unassuming door in Piazza della Cisterna. In Stertignano hamlet, another medieval castle that is in ruins shows the outline of the stone walls.

At the highest point of Campgnatico is the church of San Giovanni Battista, dating back to the 13th century. It's bi-chrome facade is typical of country Tuscany Romanesque, and there are some lovely paintings inside.

The church of Santa Maria is at the gateway of town and was built around 1000 AD. It held noteworthy frescoes of the life of Mary that are now kept in the San Giovanni church. The town's oldest church is the simple chapel dedicated to Sant'Antonio Abate in the main piazza.

What to do?

Well the area's wine is something that draws visitors. The Vino Montecucco rosso is a heady blend of sangiovese, ciliegiolo, trebbiano, and vermentino, creating a ruby red vintage. The white is a straw-hued with a delicate nose of fruits and flowers, from vermentino grapes.

For the outdoorsy types, there is loads of hiking and biking on the area's trails and country lanes. The Valle dell'Ombrone takes in a large territory of hills and pretty towns, well worth exploring. Nearby, Scansano is a noted wine town, the hot springs of Saturnia are well worth a soak, the Maremma park and coast are the town's doorstep, and cities like Grosseto, Siena, Montalcino, and Orvieto are in reach, as are many, many lovely smaller towns and the beauty of Lake Bolsena.

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