The area is characterised by hills with limestone outcrops, including Monte Calvo (a biodiversity hot-spot), and on the hills there are traces of mining activity, which in the 20th century made Gavorrano one of the most important pyrite mines in Europe. Gavorrano is the headquarters of the Metalliferous Hills Park (member of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network under the name of Tuscan Mining Geopark) and part of its huge mining heritage is now converted into culturally usable spaces: The Mining Museum in Gavorrano is a museum in a gallery and the guided tour introduces visitors to the life of a miner through a multimedia display; the Teatro delle Rocce (Theatre of the Rocks), housed in one of the limestone quarries serving the mine, is “one of the twenty most beautiful places in Italy to listen to music” (source www. rockit it); the Ravi Marchi Mine is an industrial archaeology site, with an open-air museum; the visit follows the itinerary of pyrite from the extraction pit to its final processing.
Medieval castles are now the villages that adorn this beautiful Tuscan landscape:
Gavorrano, mentioned in 1184, retains its medieval structure. The Church of San Giuliano houses a marble statue of a Madonna and Child by Giovanni d’Agostino (1336);
Ravi is a delightful spiral-shaped castle on the eastern ridge of Bald Mountain;
The historic centre of Giuncarico still retains vestiges of its medieval past.
Caldana is distinguished by its fortified Renaissance architectural structure, the work of the Austini family of Siena. Here is San Biagio, the most beautiful 16th-century church in the Maremma. Near the village are quarries of “Red Marble£”, exploited since Roman times and used in Florence at the Specola and in Siena in the Duomo.
The Etruscan Necropolis of San Germano, consisting of tumulus tombs, located along an important route in the territory of the ancient Etruscan city of Vetulonia, is worth visiting. The nearby Rocca di Frassinello winery (designed by Renzo Piano) houses the Rocca di Frassinello Etruscan Documentation Centre, where the finds are displayed.
Finally, the fascinating and mysterious Castel di Pietra, situated on a mighty hill in the north-eastern part of the territory, which is indissolubly linked to the events of the famous Pia de’ Tolomei, recounted by Dante in Canto V of the Purgatory.