Despite the vaunted position of Tuscany in the popular imagination, the Maremma remains one of the least visited regions of Italy.

  • Words Laura Rysman
  • Photography Andy Massaccesi


  • Words Laura Rysman
  • Photography Andy Massaccesi

In the southernmost stretch of Tuscany, known as the Maremma, wilderness still reigns. Beyond the manicured columns of cypress trees and pristine Renaissance villas that constitute the international image of this region, civilization exists in isolated clusters—the woodlands and marshes between them intimidatingly dense, and long considered inhospitable for all but the most tenacious souls. Where the wilderness meets the sea, rugged grasslands nourish the native Maremmana breed of broad-chested, lyre-horned cows, a species today protected by law, and guarded, in a tradition dating back to the ancient agriculture of the Etruscans, by Maremma’s own cowboys—the handful of working horsemen known as butteri.

“Tradition keeps this work alive,” says Stefano Pavin, head buttero at the...

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