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12 Jan

CANA – An undiscovered Maremma’s gem


We discovered Cana casually, and it was a gorgeous appearance!

The road finishes there, no possibility to proceed! And this makes the village so habitable, at human-scale. Childs play in the main square like 50 years ago! Only when the bus coming from Grosseto arrives (twice per day), this tranquillity is broken and you can feel yourself in a certain way in contact with the civilisation!

One of our houses is in Cana, in this unspoiled part of Maremma, a medieval village similar to a ship facing the sea of the gulf of Grosseto!

Cana is part of the municipality of Roccalbegna, in the province of Grosseto. The village of Cana is located about 20 km west of the provincial capital.

The town was built in the Middle Ages on a hill overlooking the valley of the river Trasubbie. During the thirteenth century it was controlled first by the Aldobrandeschi, who built the fortress, and then by the Senese family of the Tolomei. At the end of the fourteenth century the town became part of the Republic of Siena. A century later it was approved an autonomous status for the population that remained in force even after the annexation to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the mid-sixteenth century; its repeal came only in the late eighteenth century, when the village of Cana was incorporated into the municipality of Cinigiano, before moving permanently to Roccalbegna.

There are many monuments and places to visit here:

  • Church of St. Martin, the parish church of the village, is mentioned in 1276. It was almost completely rebuilt in the twentieth century modern, except for the bell tower.
  • Church of Our Lady of Consolation, built during the Renaissance as rural chapel outside the town, is preceded by a porch false; in the past he kept a sixteenth-century painting of the Virgin of Consolation that was later placed in the modern church in the country.

Civil architecture

  • Tank Medici, fine cistern built in the early seventeenth century, collected rainwater to be distributed to the villagers.

Then there is an amazing military architecture:

  • The Aldobrandesca Rocca, an ancient medieval fortified complex that makes up the core of the country, was also called the Dog Rock. There remain the fortress, the Palace of Justice and the House of the Great Khan, once home to the town hall.
  • Walls of Cana, defensive structure of the middle Ages. There remain some parts.
  • Farm fortified Castagnolo Castagnolo located in town, with its mysterious “Buca di Pietro Pinca”, it is an example of a 1000-year-old castle transformed into a Tuscan farmhouse with barn underground and rural church dedicated to San Pellegrino with traces of ancient cemetery attached to it.

Generally, the entire village offer incredible views! Walking in the narrow, steep alleys, you can discover unexpected foreshortenings of the country around and, from the west part of the historic canter, the sea. At the top of the castle a little square literally makes you fly! It seems to be suspended, ready to fly like an eagle! There is a little bench in this square, and at the sunset if you seat there you can feel yourself like in an other world. Very romantic also if you seat there with your partner! During the summer, the local social association organize public dinners, ‘apericena’ and other events both in the main square and/or in the castle’terrace. Staying in the village it seems to take part of a big family. All the people know each other. Also at the bar or at the grocery you have a relax experience. You are there not only to buy your food or have a coffee but it is an occasion to speak with the inhabitants. It is marvellous, if you think to our stressed and fast lifestyle in out towns!

The products you can find in the shops are locally produced and their quality is amazing! There is a little, clean butcher’s shop where you can buy unique quality meat. There are two little supermarkets for all your necessities. And, recently, a German family, has opened an incredible high quality restaurant (osteria)/pizzeria: “DA-NOI-A-CANA”, really an unexpected gem here in Maremma. We stayed many and many times during the restoration works of the “Garden House” and during the last summer, dining in their amazing terrace! The entrance is through a little gate on the road, under the sign “Osteria Da Noi a Cana”. Then, going down an iron staircase you arrive at the outdoor terrace of the osteria where the owners, Yvonne and Helmut, welcome you! But even if the property is German, the kitchen is typically “maremmana”, managed by the chef Monalda and Francesca. It seems to enter in a star gate… from the middle age, old style life of the village you find a contemporary, international ‘way of doing’, but saving the traditional quality of Maremma kitchen. The food is freshly prepared and served as large, healthy appetite portions, at really reasonable prices. AND, very unusual for an inland osteria, you can eat fresh fish, arriving fresh every day from Porto Santo Stefano, a fishermen village of Argentario. There is also an outdoor bar that serves Birra Bavarese (beer). Perfect for al fresco summer dining, where Yvonne and Helmut organize also live music.

So, you will enjoy this hamlet, staying at our house.