Orbetello is a small coastal town in the center of the Laguna di Ponente in the province of Grosseto. The city is famous for its beaches, but there are enough points of interest to entertain cultural tourists as well.
Orbetello travel guide
Tourist information: Piazza della Repubblica, 1, 58015 Orbetello. Phone: 0564 860447. opening hours: From 10:00 till 12:00 and from 16:00 till 18:00;
Town hall: Piazza del Plebiscito, 1 – 58015 Orbetello. Phone: +39 0564 861111.
Railway station: The main railway station of the city is called Orbetello-Monte Argentario. There are buses (Tiemme) from the station to the city center and to the ports of the Monte Argentario area.
In the center of Orbetello, 5th and 6th century BC Etruscan ruins have been found.
From the station, you can follow a walking/biking path along the lagoon. This path takes you all the way to the historical center. With some luck , you get to see the pink flamingos that spend a good deal of the year here.
Attractions along the way are the former Polveriere Guzman, now seat of the Archaeological Museum, and the Mill in the middle of the lagoon.
The main street is the Corso Italia. The main square is the Piazza della Repubblica, with the Cathedral and the ex-Umberto I Barracks. The latter houses the Pro Loco tourist office, but also the Frontone di Talamone, one of the most famous attractions in the city.
Orbetello has the following suburbs (frazioni): Albinia, Ansedonia, Fonteblanda, Giannella, Quattro Strade, San Donato and Talamone.
Nowadays, the economy, besides the more traditional agriculture and fishing, is mostlydependent on tourism.
Ansedonia is home to the ruins of the ancient Roman colony of Cosa. The Tagliata Etrusca was a primitive feat of engineering by which its inhabitants managed to stop the port from silting up.
A brief history of Orbetello
Both Orbetello itself, and the suburbs of Talamone and Ansedonia, already existed before the arrival of the Romans.
In the 12th century, having turned into a pirate den, Ansedonia was conquered by Pietro Farnese. In 1330, the army of Siena destroyed the settlement.
In the meantime, Talamone became property of the Abbey of San Salvatore on Mount Amiata. Later it was also annexed to Siena.
In 1296, Orbetello, till then property of the Abbazia delle Tre Fontane in Rome, was given to the Aldobrandeschi family.
After this, ownership changed fairly rapidly, from the Orsini family (1414) to the House of Aragon (1557), to the Austrians (1708), to the Bourbons (1736) and finally to the Grand Duchy of Lorraine (1815).
During the reign of the House of Aragon, the ancient Etruscan walls were strengthened.
How to get to Orbetello by car
Orbetello is located along the SS1 (otherwise known as Via Aurelia) and the SS74 Maremmana.