I am a happy Capalbio,
defended by a Sienese lion by which i am protected,
and by these first walls restored at own expense
and by the other walls which surround the first ones,
besides which the world had turned 10 years and 2 many times.
(Translation of the text on the Sienese Door by D’Annunzio)
Capalbio is a municipality situated at the very south of Tuscany. A small borough perched on a hill became important during the Renaissance period. It owns its name to the territory where it is situated because its name probably comes from the latin Caput Album due to the white alabaster quarries which can be found on this territory.
Many Italian Renaissance families are linked to the history of Capalbio among which Grosseto’s Aldobrandeschi and Orsini of the Sienese Republic. When Sienese troops were defeated by the Spanish, the last ones founded the State of the principals in the southern Maremma, Capalbio was assigned to the Medici and from that moment on the municipality suffered a deep economic and demographic crisis due to its distance from the administrative capital and to the problems connected to the little healthiness of the territory and malaria.
The Medici lost their sovereignty over the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1737 when it passed to the Habsburgs Lorraine but the situation in Maremma did not get better until the reclamation works which began at the end of 1800 and later in the fascist period.
The agricultural reform of the 50’s was maybe the first real push to the renovation of this territory which is located far from the most famous and known core of Tuscany.
In the XXth many artists and intellectuals stayed here among which Niki de Saint Phalle who gave his own house-museum, the Tarot Garden, to the municipality of Capalbio and guaranteed the access to it to as many people as possible.
Besides the Old city and the Fortress which testify to the history of this “Small Athens”, one cannot miss the Papal Customs along via Aurelia.