Montalto di Castro
Montalto di Castro is a compact walled hill town in the province of Viterbo, just a couple kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea. It is just a few minutes from the border with Tuscany, enjoying the atmosphere of the classic hill towns set amidst the gentle landscape of the Maremma. It's seaside sister is Montalto Marina, just 2 kilometers away, where the perfectly preserved old square watchtower, Torre di Montalto, still guards the beach. The beaches are sandy and expansive here, with lots of room so they don't feel crowded. There are free beaches and those with concessions that rent umbrellas and chairs. Backed by green woods, the coast is often left in a natural state, making it even more alluring.
The town of Montalto di Castro is small, with only about 8,000 inhabitants, yet the modern part below the walled old center has loads of shops, cafes, and services, offering everything for daily life and more. There are some restaurants and pizzerias, and noted pastry shop, as well. The historic center is a picture postcard type medieval town, still walled and dominated by its ages-old castle. The Castello Guglielmi was built in the 15th century and belonged to the powerful Orsini family. The ancient Roman road, the Via Aurelia, passes right by the town.
There is a interesting site nearby, the Parco Naturalistico Archeologico di Vulci, a combination nature park and archeological site that has Etruscan ruins and a museum highlighting the artifacts and history of these ancient peopel. This is the heart of the ancient Etruscan world, with other important centers close by - Tarquinia, Tuscania, Sovana and Saturnia (which also has impressive hot springs to enjoy). Rome is only an hour away.
Its mild climate and strategic location make this a good home-base for exploring Lazio and Tuscany while enjoying the wide-open beaches of this coastline.
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