Beaches and coves of Monte Argentario
Argentario is a large stone panettone that “falls” into the sea with very high cliffs. Rocky coves that house hidden beaches, easily accessible by sea but, with a little good will and good legs, they can also be reached from the mainland. From Giannella to Porto Santo Stefano there are beaches for everyone, including children. Then the accesses become more challenging. Bring the bare essentials, perhaps in a backpack and don’t forget what you need for snorkeling.
1 – Giannella
Giannella tombolo is located between the sea and the Ponente Lagoon. The beach is separated from the paved road by a dense Mediterranean scrub. Together with that of Feniglia it is one of the most easily accessible beaches. You will practically arrive by car 50 m from the sea. Numerous passages through the Mediterranean scrub will lead you to the beach. There is something for all tastes: residences, campsites, bathing establishments but also a lot of free beach. The parking spaces are all subject to charges. It is ideal for families with small children and for those who cannot swim. Light and fine sand, shallow and clear water.
Sheltered from the winds that blow from the south (practically the opposite of the Feniglia). For lovers of waterfront walks there are 8 uninterrupted kilometers, from the mouth of the Albegna river to the Argentario from which it is joined with the bridge over the Santa Liberata canal. The most romantic will not be able to miss the sunsets that from this beach, given its position, are unforgettable. On the lagoon side is the Casale Spagnolo, a WWF environmental education center. Worth a visit. Inside, school camps, conferences and courses are held. There are bird-watching huts that populate the lagoon and a “butterfly garden”. The Giannella beach in summer becomes the scene of quality water sports for the whole family. Immediately after the Argentario Village there is a sailing, windsurfing and catamaran school, dated 1980. Another historical sporting reality, the pride of the area, is the Gao Brinella that you will find immediately after “La Goletta” in the stretch of beach opposite. to the breakwater rocks. The aquatic courses and start to fin swimming are their daily bread that continues in the winter in the swimming pool of Porto S. Stefano. But not just swimming: gymnastics and games on the sand. And at the end of the course the “competition” of the little participants with a dinner and awarding of prizes to everyone. For years they have been producing national and international finswimming champions. If you have never seen monofin swimming, don’t miss this spectacular opportunity.
HOW TO GET
From the S.S. Aurelia, at the Albinia exit, follow the signs for Porto Santo Stefano. You’re practically on it.
2 – Bagni di Domiziano
Bagni di Domiziano are the first beach you will encounter when leaving the Giannella. So called due to the proximity of Villa Domizia, an ancient Roman villa whose ruins are visible immediately behind the tip on the left. For those of the place it is the Gerini beach (due to the Marquis Gerini, former owners of the house that stands nearby). Even if it is not visible from the road, it is easily accessed by walking down a short path. Small free sandy beach with shallow water. The only sore point is the parking, very small on the side of the road. It’s an “early morning” beach.
3 – Soda
Soda beach can be accessed directly from the provincial road. It has a small dock, a stretch of free beach and a bathing establishment with a restaurant attached. Small pebbles and crystal clear water. Good base for novice divers.
4 – Pozzarello
The beach of Pozzarello has direct access from the provincial road, a mooring pier and a bathing establishment with an adjoining restaurant. Pebbles and sand. A place very sheltered from the winds and the sea is almost always calm and clear.
5 – Bionda
At the end of the Pozzarello begins the tunnel of the former Argentario railway. After 200 meters, at the end of the three tunnels, you will find this pretty little beach La Bionda of pebbles and sand. The barrier of rocks means that the sea is always calm here. Access to the tunnel, which comes out at the port of Porto Santo Stefano, is allowed for cars only in winter. You can park at Pozzarello or Porto Santo Stefano by taking a nice walk.
6 – Cantoniera
You will get to the Cantoniera beach by continuing along the route of the former railway. Sand and small pebbles. There is a rental of sun beds and umbrellas. It is easily reachable on foot from Porto Santo Stefano and therefore very popular.
7 – Moletto
Moletto is located at the end of Via del Molo in Porto Santo Stefano. The beach is very small and half occupied by a bathhouse. Sand, rocks and a water polo “field” for sports enthusiasts.
8 – Caletta
Caletta takes its name from the hotel behind it. Like “Il Moletto” it has access from the town. Here you will find a bathing establishment, a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the sea and a diving center with guides for observing seahorses.
9 – Cacciarella
Exit Porto Santo Stefano and take the panoramic road. After the Torre di Lividonia you arrive at La Caciarella beach: very small, made up of sand and positioned between two cliffs. There are no bathing establishments. It is not for those with small children. Excellent base for snorkeling, here the seabed is beautiful. It can be reached from two entrances, one easier, after Villa Miragiglio, which leads to the sea in 20 minutes along a path that runs along the low Mediterranean scrub, the other, after about 500 meters, shorter but much steeper and more demanding. On the cliff to the east is the Grotta del Turco, the entrance is a bit hidden, but the inside of the cave is very large. A local legend tells that Santostefanese fishermen managed to hide here with the whole boat, thus escaping the capture of the Saracen pirates who after a long chase saw the fishermen disappear among the rocks and were unable to locate the access to the cave. Here, on a depth of 15 meters, the statue of Christ the Redeemer was placed, indicated by a plaque affixed to the rocks on the surface.
10 – Cala Grande
Continue for the panoramic view, after the Buozzi bend you can admire it from above. It is the cove most frequented by boats because it is very sheltered. You will find access to it in the middle of the next straight, where a path descends quite steeply. It is about 500 meters long and after the first 100 meters you pass over what was an ancient ditch called del Cauto. After crossing the scrub made up of tall holm oaks you will begin to see the clear waters of this cove. The route is not very demanding, but not suitable for those with small children. There are three beaches in this cove and they are made up of pebbles. The seabed is great for snorkeling. There are no bathing establishments.
11 – Cala del Gesso
To reach Cala del Gesso, take the panoramic road again until you reach km 5.9, immediately after Cala Moresca (which we have not mentioned because it has private access or can be reached by sea). On the right take the Via dei Pionieri. At the end of the descent you will find a gate with a pedestrian crossing, go down the paved path that ends with a short but steep staircase. Comfortable shoes! The path is tiring, but Cala del Gesso is one of the most beautiful coves in the Argentario. The beach is made up of very small and smooth pebbles. Opposite is the islet of Argentarola, one of the favorite destinations for divers thanks to the presence of a submerged cave full of stalactites and stalagmites.
12 – Cala del Bove
Cala del Bove is located about a kilometer ahead of Cala del Gesso. The path that leads to the sea is about 700 meters long and not very accessible. The cove has no beach but only rocks, even if they are very smooth. Not recommended for those with children. Perfect for snorkelling and for those who want to enjoy the crystal clear sea in peace: little frequented compared to other coves.
13 – Cala Piccola
To reach Cala Piccola, follow the signs for the “Torre di Cala Piccola” hotel. It is a small pebble beach. Access to the bathing establishment is reserved for hotel guests and members of the Cala Piccola Consortium. A few hundred meters offshore, in front of the beach, there is the “scoglio del corallo”, a shoal that rises almost to the surface from a depth of about 45 meters. It is one of the most beautiful diving spots in the Argentario. After Cala Piccola there are other beautiful beaches that can only be reached by sea: Capo d’Uomo, Acqua Appesa, Cala dell’Olio and the Sassi Verdi.
14 – Mar Morto
Arrived at “Maddalena” take the road on the left. The downhill stretch that leads here is truly fantastic, a breathtaking view. Continue for another 4 kilometers or so. On the right you will find a pedestrian path that easily leads to the sea through the low scrub. The name Mar Morto derives from the natural pool created by the natural barrier of the rocks where the sea is always calm. On this side of the coast the sun beats down even harder. Gear up, especially if you have children. There are no establishments, only recently there has been a rental of umbrellas. On the right is the Isola Rossa which protects it from the winds. In the middle of the bay, on the rocky ridge, gushes a fresh water source rich in iron and minerals.
15 – Cannelle
Continue for about another kilometer, you will arrive at an automatic gate next to which there is the pedestrian crossing, after an easy walk of 150 meters you will arrive at the pebble beach. On the left side of the bay there is the Spanish tower of the Cannelle, now completely restored but not open to visitors as it is a private residence. There is a bathhouse but accessible only to members of the residence. Walking on the rocks, on the right, you will come to a pristine stretch of sea that is the habitat of many sea creatures. Continuing on the rocks you will return to the Dead Sea, not if you have small children. Also in this stretch of coast there are beaches that can only be reached by sea: La Ciana, Cala Piazzoni and Le Filicaie.
Until a few years ago the panoramic road, although becoming unpaved, continued, allowing the circumnavigation of the Argentario. Now, immediately after the Cannelle, a landslide prevents its passage. The next beaches described can be reached from Porto Ercole and therefore we will tell you about them in reverse.
19 – Viste (recently RIVA DEL MARCHESE)
Leave the town of Porto Ercole, after the sharp bend, at the top of the slope on the left you will find a small refreshment bar. Leave your car here and walk along the path that descends for 200 meters. The Riva del Marquis beach is made up of sand and rocks. One part is free and one is equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas on the lawn (Riva del Marchese). Right in front of you is the turtle-shaped island, easily accessible by good swimmers. The mighty Spanish fortress overlooks the beach.
swimmers. The mighty Spanish fortress overlooks the beach.
18 – Spiaggia lunga
Continue on the panoramic, in 10 minutes you will arrive at the junction for Forte Stella. Right in front you will find the entrance to the very steep path that leads to the beach. Halfway through the route you cannot help but stop to admire the landscape below, as well as to catch your breath. Pebbly beach and well sheltered from the summer breezes. For those who do not want to face the descent there is a boat service from Porto Ercole to here. But walking is another matter entirely. The magical Forte Stella overlooks the beach.
17 – Sbarcatello
Just 50 meters from the path to the long beach is the entrance to the Sbarcatello area. Leave the car and continue on foot from the pedestrian crossing. Clear water and stony bottom.
16 – Acqua Dolce
The last stretch of the panorama swoops down: to the right the entrance to the Hotel “Il Pellicano”, to the left the path that leads to fresh water. Leave your car in the car park and after 200 meters you will find the sandy and pebble beach. Keep in mind that on this side of the Argentario, the summer sun sets behind the mountain before anywhere else. At 6 pm he doesn’t arrive anymore.
20 – Feniglia
Feniglia beach is located right next to the Duna Protection Reserve. It is a paradise for lovers of shore trekking: 6 kilometers of fine sand, most of which are far from bathing establishments which, moreover, occupy only a small portion at both ends: Ansedonia on one side and Porto Ercole on the other. The clear and shallow water makes it the ideal beach for those with small children and for those who cannot swim. If you are willing to walk 3 or 4 kilometers you will arrive in the less frequented part. It is really worth it. The large trunks carried by the storms seem to be artfully arranged making it even more “wild”. Exposed completely to the south, it is sheltered from the north and mistral winds. Exactly the opposite of the Giannella beach. Behind it, the pine forest of the Reserve will allow you to cool off on the hottest days… and beyond. In fact, it may happen that unlikely visitors venture to the beach from the scrubland
CURIOSITIES OF THE PHENILLA BEACH
The death of Michelangelo Merisi known as Caravaggio is defined as one of the great thrillers in the history of art. Until a few years ago there was the belief that he died on the Feniglia beach (where a stele commemorates the event). According to tradition, Caravaggio, struck by a very high fever, fell on the sand and was later recovered by some locals. Instead, in 2001 in the registers of the parish of Sant’Erasmo in Porto Ercole, in a book of accounts of 1656, the death certificate of Caravaggio is found which quotes verbatim “On July 18, 1609 in the hospital of S. Maria Ausiliatrice morse Michel Angelo Merisi da Caravaggio painter for illness “.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are two entrances to the Feniglia beach:
- The first can be found on the Aurelia state road: at the first Ansedonia exit if you come from Orbetello or at the second if you come from Capalbio;
- The other entrance is accessible from the Argentario. Leaving the Orbetello Dam, take the road to Porto Ercole and take the first left. The entrance is well signposted.
The entrance to the Feniglia Beach can also be reached from the cycle path that starts from the Orbetello Scalo station and continues up to the Feniglia, along the entire Ponente Lagoon: a path in close contact with the aquatic birds that live here undisturbed all year round.
One thing to do in Maremma on windy days, before deciding on which beach to spend the day, is to check where the wind is blowing from. Being able to choose … is the privilege of those who come here on holiday.