If you’re spending time at Saturnia Hot Springs, don’t miss a stop in one of the most charming small villages in Tuscany – Montemerano.
Montemerano is listed as one of the Borghi Più Belli d’Italia (Most Beautiful Villages in Italy), and if you’ve come all the way Maremma, park your car and take a quick wander into the center.
My husband and I recently stopped in for a snack and wander during our latest Tuscany road trip, and we were surprised and happy to have Montemerano’s picturesque Piazza del Castello all to ourselves!
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Where Exactly Is Montemerano?
Montemerano is a small medieval village in the hills of Maremma, in Southern Tuscany. It’s not far from the Tuscany – Lazio border, and it’s about 50 kilometers (1 hour driving) from the nearest major city, Grosseto.
Who Should Visit Montemerano
Stop for a visit to Montemerano if:
- you’re driving in the area on your Tuscany road trip
- you’ve spent time at the hot springs in Saturnia and want to check out a nearby small village
- you’re staying at a hotel or B&B in Saturnia and want to dine at a two Michelin-star restaurant (there are only 38 two-star restaurants in all of Italy)
When To Visit Montemerano
Montemerano can be visited year-round, but I think it’s most enjoyable from late-spring (when flowers are blooming) through the summer and fall. Winter in Montemerano is very quiet.
It’s a nice stop for a morning coffee or for aperitivo or a meal.
Things to See & Do in Montemerano
Not much! Don’t come here for museums or sites to ‘check off your list.’ Still, it makes for a delightful 1-2 hour stop (or more if you’re dining in town).
Porta La Buca
This small entrance into the city was probably built in the 1500s when the residents of Montemerano felt less worried about being attacked – they let their guard (and their walls) down a bit. It’s a nice way to enter the village.
Piazza del Castello
I think this is one of Italy’s loveliest piazzas. It’s not grand or showy – it’s small, quiet, and you can feel the history in the walls of the building surrounding the piazza. It’s car free and the perfect place to just sit on a bench and take in the square.
Good To Know: There’s a water fountain in the piazza.
Chiesa di San Giorgio
This little church that sits next to Porta Grossetana (aka Porta San Giorgio) is home to a unique painting – the Madonna della Gattaiola, which was likely a door. It’s now framed as a painting and if you look at it, you’ll notice a small hole in the lower right. Local legend says it was used as a pet door to let cats enter and keep mice out of the church. The word gattaiola means ‘cat flap’ in Italian. Also take a look at the church’s frescoes (St. George and the Dragon, the Last Judgement) and the golden altar.
Good To Know: The oldest part of Montemerano’s walls (from the 13th century) are just inside Porta Grossetana.
If you need a merenda (snack), stop at this forno for freshly-baked products or buy homemade packaged biscotti to bring home as a souvenir or gift.
See views of the Maremma countryside and olive groves, take photos of the windows with flowers and the stone buildings, and enjoy your stroll through the narrow alleys and streets around town.
A meal at Ristorante Caino is the main reason many people decide to visit Montemerano. Reservations required.
Helpful Tip: If you haven’t reserved, you can also try Caino’s sister restaurant, the more casual Il Giardino di Caino.
Festival of St. George and the Dragon
If you happen to be in the area around the 25th of April, make plans to visit Montemerano during the Festa di San Giorgio, which celebrates the village’s patron saint. In the multi-day festival, locals dress up in medieval costumes, there’s music and a procession, and a competition between the neighborhoods of the village.
What to See & Do Near Montemerano
Saturnia Hot Springs – One of our favorite hot springs in Tuscany, and you can visit multiple locations – the free Cascate del Mulino (the one in all of the Instagram and travel guide photos), Terme di Saturnia, and the thermal pools at the Terme di Saturnia Natural SPA & Golf Resort. If you decide to visit Saturnia, be sure to read our Helpful Tips for Visiting the Saturnia Hot Springs.
Pitigliano – Visit this picturesque town perched dramatically on top of the tufa hills.
Capalbio – If you loved Montemerano, you’ll enjoy seeing the medieval village of Capalbio, not far from the sea. Just a few kilometers from town, you’ll find the quirky Giardino dei Tarocchi, an outdoor art park full of colorful and creative installations by artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
Southern Tuscan Scenery – Southern Tuscany is full of postcard-perfect landscapes. Head out into the hills for views of rolling hills, olive groves, cypress-lined drives, and sheep!
Eating in Montemerano
For such a small village, there are quite a few places to eat. Here are three very different styles of restaurants.
Ristorante Caino, one of Tuscany’s Michelin-starred restaurants, makes its home in tiny Montemerano. Caino has received two stars for its ‘country cooking.’
Helpful Tip: If you’re a wine lover, be sure to make an appointment for a tasting and/or visit of Caino’s jewel of an underground wine cellar.
Giardino di Caino, owned by the same family that runs Caino, offers the same quality as its Michelin-starred restaurant, but with more casual dishes and atmosphere.
Osteria dal Moro, on the eastern edge of the village, offers classic Maremma-style cooking with incredible views from its outdoor terrace. This is the place to go for an evening aperitivo and to sample dishes like handmade pici pasta or cinghiale alla Maremma (a slow-cooked wild boar dish). Via Giovanni Conti, 3. +39 0564.602574
Like with restaurants, Montemerano has quite a few B&Bs and small hotels, both in the village center and in the surrounding countryside.
As lovely as Montemerano is, you may want to stay in nearby Saturnia (if you want to spend time at the hot springs) or
But, if you’d like to experience village life in Tuscany, you can check out:
Locanda Caino – Part of the Caino ‘family,’ this small B&B has a few rooms above the restaurant, all decorated in a simple style with antique furniture. So, you can dine at Caino and only have to walk up the stairs to bed!
La Casa del Castello – This apartment is a great pick if you’re visiting with kids and want to make Montemerano your base. There are multiple bedrooms and you can cook in the kitchen. It has an incredible view of the Piazza del Castello.
Good To Know: There are also plenty of agriturismi (farm stays)just outside of the village.
Good To Know: Like most Tuscan villages, Montemerano is very quiet during the late fall, winter, and early spring. Many restaurants, hotels, and shops (not that there are many of them) will close during the low season.
Montemerano with Kids
If you’re in the area with kids, Montemerano is an easy stop – parking is easy and just steps from town. You can also park near the playground and stop there first. After, let your little ones enter town through Porta La Buca and check out Piazza del Castello.
Kids will also enjoy finding the hole for the cats in the painting in Chiesa di San Giorgio.
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly place to eat in Montemerano, Mastro Titta (just outside the center) is a great option for casual kid-favorites like piazza and pasta. Indoor or outdoor seating.
How to Get to Montemerano
You’ll want to have your own car in the Maremma area of Tuscany, including for your stop in Montemerano. The nearest ‘main’ road to Montemerano is the SR74, but if you plan on visiting the village, you’re likely already in the area on the smaller country roads. It’s under ten minutes driving from Saturnia to Montemerano.
You can park in the blue spaces (pay in the machine and display your ticket on your dashboard) around town, including in the small lot at Porta del Ponte (aka Porta del Rosario). I like to park in the pay across the street from Porta San Giorgio because you can enter town through Porta La Buca. And, if you’ve got kids with you, it’s just across the street from the playground.
I hope you enjoy your visit to this picturesque, hilltop medieval village!