Castiglione della Pescaia
Castiglione della Pescaia
|Comune di Castiglione della Pescaia|
|Frazioni||Ampio, Buriano, Macchiascandona, Pian d'Alma, Pian di Rocca, Ponti di Badia, Punta Ala, Riva del Sole, Roccamare, Rocchette, Tirli, Vetulonia|
|• Mayor||Giancarlo Farnetani|
|• Total||209.28 km2 (80.80 sq mi)|
|Elevation||4 m (13 ft)|
(31 December 2017)
|• Density||35/km2 (90/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Patron saint||St. William of Aquitania|
|Saint day||2 May|
Castiglione della Pescaia (Italian pronunciation: [kastiʎˈʎoːne della peˈskaːja]), regionally simply abbreviated as Castiglione, is an ancient seaside town in the province of Grosseto, in Tuscany, central Italy. The modern city grew around a medieval 12th century fortress (Italian: castello) and a large fishery, from which it acquired its designation. Today Castiglione is a very popular tourist destination with attractions that include beaches, natural parks, biking trails, historical Etruscan archaeological sites, a panoramic mediaeval hamlet as well as the natural reserve Diaccia Botrona, a swampy humid environment of historical relevance whose endangered wildlife comprise pink flamingoes, mallards and ducks.
Despite Castiglione's popularity as a holiday destination, the town's natural surroundings - including the sea, marshes and pinewoods typical of the Maremma area - have been meticulously preserved and are today forming protected natural reserves. Notably, in 2015 Castiglione's sea was nominated as Italy's most beautiful by the national non-governmental environmentalist organisation Legambiente, which not only praised the town's seawater cleanliness but also its environmental efforts and efficient recycling.
Castiglione is the most visited seaside destination in Tuscany and it ranks fourth among the most visited cities in the region. In 2019, approximately 1.6 million tourists visited Castiglione reaching an historic record. The town is also one of the most visited in Italy.
Interestingly, Castiglione della Pescaia is home to the second most expensive street in Italy for property prices, with average values exceeding those of homes in every other Italian street except one, also in Tuscany.
Many notable figures have resided or reside in Castiglione and its comune. Among these are Golden Globe-winning actor Roger Moore, Oscar-winning actress Sophia Loren, Grammy-winning conductor Georg Solti, film producer Carlo Ponti, Formula One racing driver Alex Zanardi, authors Italo Calvino, Pietro Citati, and Carlo Fruttero, film director Giovanni Veronesi, banker Siegmund G. Warburg, and many others, including former Italian prime minister Romano Prodi, also former President of the European Commission, and former King of Spain Juan Carlos I.
Castiglione della Pescaia consists of a High City built on the hill that ends a chain of hills towards the sea, and of a Low City at the foot of the former, straddling the drainage canal and marina that form the central part of town.
Castiglione is located in the South-Western portion of Tuscany, with a view of the islands of Elba and Giglio, and of the promontory of Argentario. The hills that back the city slope into beaches that front the town in its entirety.
To the East of Castiglione is the rich floodplain of the Ombrone river. Nothing much remains of the ancient lake Prile that used to be Castiglione's lifeblood.
While Umbrians and Etruscans were most likely the first inhabitants of its location, Castiglione della Pescaia was first recorded under the name Salebrone in Roman times. The hill close to the coast proved to be an excellent location, as it dominated the sizable inland Prelius Lake, while the lake itself provided food (fish) and trading goods (salt).
In the Middle Ages, the city suffered from repeated pirate attacks and almost disappeared. It resurfaced in the 9th century AD under its current name, under joint protection of the Papacy and the Republic of Pisa.
The Pisans used Castiglione as a key element in their system of defence along the Tyrrhenian coast. They built first a single tower on top of the hill, later expanded that to three towers joined by a wall that became the nucleus of the citadel. The three towers of Castiglione dominate the city seal to this day.
In the 13th century, Castiglione became an independent comune. Meanwhile, the river Ombrone had started silting up Lake Prile, which soon became a lagoon. In this newformed lagoon, malaria mosquitoes took hold, weakening the population of Castiglione. The city requested protection from various powers (Siena, the Medici, Aragon) and finally became part of the Grand Dukedom of Tuscany under the dynasty of Lorraine.
The house of Lorraine started a series of projects that greatly enhanced the lives of Castiglionesi. The swamps were drained over decades, increasing the amount of arable land, as well as killing off the malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
After Tuscany became part of Italy in 1859, Castiglione became a comune in the province of Grosseto.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the area is the historical Etruscan centre of Vetulonia, which hosts an Etruscan museum with an adjacent well preserved archaeological site, encompassing ancient remains of the old inhabitants of Maremma. Furthermore, the hamlets of Punta Ala, Riva del Sole, Roccamare and Rocchette are beach resorts catering mostly tourists from Central and Northern Europe.
In the territory of Castiglione della Pescaia, the 1,000-hectare (2,500-acre) Natural Reserve of Diaccia Botrona (with 18th-century Casa Rossa Ximenes) is a designated wetland area of international interest, according to the Ramsar Convention.
The municipality is formed by the municipal seat of Castiglione della Pescaia and the villages (frazioni) and hamlets of Buriano, Pian d'Alma, Pian di Rocca, Punta Ala, Roccamare, Rocchette, Tirli and Vetulonia.
List of mayors
|Mayor||Term start||Term end||Party|
|Giancarlo Farnetani||1978||1990||Italian Communist Party|
|Dario Viti||1990||1992||Italian Communist Party/Democratic Party of the Left|
|Massimo Emiliani||1993||1996||Italian Radicals|
|Franco Roggiolani||1996||2001||Democratic Party of the Left/Democrats of the Left|
|Monica Faenzi||2001||2011||Forza Italia/The People of Freedom|
|Giancarlo Farnetani||2011||Incumbent||Democratic Party|
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