Capalbio and its history
The municipal area of Capalbio extends into the extreme edge of the Tuscan Maremma, ranging from the coast to the hills. The first document that mentions Capalbio is the Bolla Leonino Carolingia of 805, with which Charlemagne donated the territory to the Abbey of the Tre Fontane, reaching the domain of the Aldobrandeschi and then of the Orsini in the 13th century.
In 1416 Capalbio passed to the Republic of Siena, which led to them experiencing a period of prosperity and renewal.
In 1532 it was occupied by the troops of Charles V, only to be freed with the help of the French. With the fall of the Republic of Siena, the territory was assigned to Cosimo dei Medici, thus a slow decline began, also due to the spread of malaria. The passage to the Lorraines marked the loss of autonomy with the aggregation to Manciano and, in 1842, to Orbetello, to then be annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. The nineteenth century remains in many ways one of the most singular periods, linked to the epic of the brigands, from which legendary names and episodes echo, one above all that of Domenico Tiburzi, killed in 1896 in mysterious circumstances and just as mysteriously buried. The following period was characterized by large estates and a slow recovery to then move on to the Agrarian Reform of the 1950s and the consequent repopulation, until the recovery of administrative autonomy in 1960. From a predominantly agricultural economy it passed to a decidedly more tourist address and tertiary, being able to enjoy a natural heritage preserved over time. Great impulse, in this sector, that obtained from a by now consolidated national fame derived from the various excellent acquaintances of politicians, intellectuals, journalists and show business personalities, who retreat more and more often in the historic center and in the Capalbiese countryside by virtue of the beauty and quiet privacy of the places. The historic center of Capalbio maintains its medieval town planning unaltered: the Porta Senese, the Camminamento di Ronda, the Pieve di San Nicola with valuable frescoes from the Umbrian and Sienese school of the ‘400, the Oratory of Providence with a Madonna and Child surrounded by Santi attributed to Pinturicchio, the Aldobrandesca Tower from which you can enjoy a unique panorama and the Castle, the subject of a long and splendid restoration work, which houses the Fortepiano Conrad Graf, an almost unique instrument on which Giacomo Puccini composed.
WHAT TO VISIT IN CAPALBIO
The Tarot Garden
A few kilometers from Capalbio, in the locality of Garavicchio, near Pescia Fiorentina, it is possible to visit the Tarot Garden, a splendid artistic park created by the Franco-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The Garden is populated with statues inspired by the figures of the major arcana of the tarot. By the artist’s will, guided tours are not carried out to leave free interpretation to visitors. Following the inspiration he had during the visit to Antoni Gaudí’s Parque Guell in Barcelona, then reinforced by the visit to the Bomarzo Garden, Niki began the construction of his Garden in 1979, identifying it in the magical and spiritual dream of his life. The artist has dedicated herself to the construction of the twenty-two imposing figures in steel and concrete covered with glass, mirrors and colored ceramics, for more than seventeen years, flanked, as well as by various specialized workers, by a team of famous names in the art contemporary and above all by her husband Jean Tinguely who created the metal structures of the enormous sculptures and integrated some of them with his mécaniques, self-propelled assemblies of mechanical elements in iron. The Garden was only finished in 1996. The following year Niki set up the “Il Giardino dei Tarocchi” Foundation, whose purpose is to preserve and maintain the work created by the sculptress. On May 15, 1998 the Tarot Garden was opened to the public.
Lake of Burano
Also not to be missed is, given its naturalistic value, the Burano Lake Reserve, established in 1980 and managed by the WWF. Lake Burano is one of the most famous WWF Oases, located between the sea and the mainland, near the town of Capalbio Scalo, where you can spot rare marsh birds and where fresh and salt water fish live together. The Torre di Buranaccio, built around the middle of the sixteenth century, watches over the lake and was the southernmost defensive outpost of the State of the Presidi, on the border with the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Papal State.