When you think of Tuscany, images of historic hill towns, vineyards with picturesque farmhouses and roads lined with cypress trees come to mind. However, when you look at the map (below) a large portion of this Italian region lies on the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Sea coasts.
When Nick and I returned to Tuscany in November, we decided to go even more off the proverbial beaten paths (did you see my previous post – Tuscany By Car: Off Season and Off The Beaten Bath?). Since we flew into Rome, the most SouthWestern area of Tuscany made sense as our first stop. That’s how I discovered the region of Maremma, as well as Monte Argentario and the fabulous resort: Argentario Golf Resort & Spa.
(Monte Argentario is on the map above, near the bottom center)
is a coastal area of Western central Italy, bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea. It includes much of South-Western Tuscany and part of Northern Lazio (central Italian region, the very center of which is Rome). Too much info? Sorry, couldn’t help it, I had to look it up myself and now I’m obligated to share my knowledge 🙂
Maremma is renowned for its nature, seafood-centered cuisine and its wine (Grosetto wines of IGT category of Maremma Toscana are typically the Bordeaux varieties along with native Sangiovese). However, being 3 1/2 months pregnant I couldn’t partake in (most of) seafood or any wine (aside from tiniest kitten-licks 🙂 ).
But we still had an amazing time and focused on regaining our energy from the previous 2 months of madness & stress (we sold our house, bought another one, remodeled, moved in and fully unpacked, all in the course of 7 weeks!). Anyway….
A former island, Monte Argentario is a promontory (I had to look up the term: it’s a point of high land that juts out into a large body of water) that is connected to mainland by 3 strips of land (which you can see on the map below). It is beautiful!!!!
OVERVIEW & LINKS:
– We stayed at Argentario Golf Resort & Spa (https://www.argentariogolfresortspa.it/en/), a gorgeous 5 star hotel in the center of the island
– We dined at Dama Dama restaurant at the resort
– We lunched (love it as a verb!) at La Locanda di Ansedonia & GRIGL”io nearby on the mainland
– For my videos, please see the Instagram Story Highlights under “Tuscany Nov 18”
ARGENTARIO GOLF RESORT & SPA
A beautiful island (oops, promontory!), freshest sea air, gorgeous grounds and architecture, lots of relaxing things to do… Nick and I loved our time at this beautiful place.
I am aware that for a person that doesn’t golf (me!) a luxurious golf resort seems like an odd choice, right? But, to be honest, I really wanted to experience relaxation on our cultural vacation. The words “luxury”, “resort” and “spa” were definitely more exciting to me that “golf”, yes! 🙂 But most people there (very few this time of the year) are quite keen on golfing.
Nick & I knew that after a 3 hour drive (thanks, Los Angeles traffic!) to the airport, long security lines at LAX, a 14 flight to Zurich, drastic time zone change, running around Zurich (see my post: 2 Nights in Zürich, Switzerland (and How To Make The Most Out of a Dreaded Layover), another early rise, a flight to Rome, getting the rental car followed by couple of hours to get to Tuscany we’d be ready to… RELAX!!!
And we did! Relax, that is. We took naps (such a luxury!) and got great night sleep both nights we were at the Argentario Resort. We hit golf balls at the driving range (for a former hockey player I absolutely suck at golf!), swam in the resort’s spectacular indoor swimming pool (in November it’s too cold to swim outside, as the average temps are around 40-50F), worked out at the gym, took long nighttime (the stars, wow!!!) and daytime walks, played billiards and ping pong (all free activities aside from a couple of euros for a basket of golf balls). We had an amazing dinner at the resort’s outstanding Dama Dama restaurant and an incredible daily breakfast with the freshest local produce.
Since it was raining a majority of our time there, our range of activities was a bit limited. So we mainly concentrated on relaxation and combating the jet lag! 🙂 There were very few people at the resort as November is off-season and rainy. The people that were there were Italians and visitors from Europe. We were told that very few Americans come there (which was kind of exciting to know we “discovered” this place!) 🙂
Take a look at the photo gallery. I added captions to most photos. Click on the first photo and then “next”!
DAMA DAMA RESTAURANT AT ARGENTARIO RESORT
Dining at the resort’s incredible restaurant, Dama Dama (which means fallow deer), was one of the best culinary experiences of my life. It really doesn’t get better than this: the locally-sourced food prepared with incredible care combined with upscale yet relaxed decor/atmosphere and attentive service. And while the dinner was provided for us (one of the perks of being a travel writer!), the Dama Dama prices are not high. The most expensive item on the menu was under 30 euros. In California they could (and would! and, sadly, do!) get away with charging 4 times as much for this type of an experience (possibly, more, considering this is a 5 star resort!).
So here is some food porn for you 🙂
We went here for lunch, it’s just a 15 minute drive from the resort. This restaurant is very much favored by the locals and came highly recommended by the staff at Argentario Resort. We loved La Locanda so much that on the way back to Rome FCO we stopped by to eat there again (it is conveniently located right off the main highway – formerly Via Aurelia, a 2,000 year old ancient Roman road!!!).
Nicola, the owner, truly cares about the quality of the food and experience, and it shows in every detail. So here is some more food porn for you 🙂
The verdict? Yes on going off the beaten path, yes on Maremma, yes on Argentario Golf Resort & Spa and La Locanda di Ansedonia! Yes on exploring at your own pace with a rental car, yes on off-season travel, yes on taking naps and getting rest!
While our Argentario Resort stay and dinner were complimentary, all views and photos are entirely my own. I stand by every word – as always.
Any comments and thoughts? What did I miss? What should I see next time in SouthWestern Tuscany (aside from visiting wineries)? Please let me know so I can mark it on GoogleMaps for future travels! Also.. if you find any typos, please let me know. I am obsessed with proper grammar and spelling but…. I type too damn fast and sometimes simply space out:)