Sovana

Sovana is so small, it's made up of only two streets, but hidden in those two streets are some of the most incredible historical treasures.

The second of the three Città del Tufo, Sovana can trace its origins back to between the 7th and 6th century BC and its history could inspire even those who never thought they'd take an interest.

During the Bronze Age, the Etruscans shaped Suana (Sovana) into an artistic and cultural city so inspiring that it was quickly taken over by the Romans, who used it as one of their territorial capitals.

The Sovana we know today was built in the Middle Ages under the extremely powerful Aldobrandeschi. They left their mark by erecting an impressive stone wall that once encircled the entire town.

While these walls remain standing in few places, the isolation Sovana felt during the Middle Ages hasn't left it and few residents live in the town today.

Unaffected by the changes brought by population growth or modernity, Sovana remains as it was when the Aldobrandeschi and Orsini Counts walked its streets.

I guess you could say it's almost a ghost town, but, this isn't really a problem for visitors. To be honest, it's more of a bonus.

There are few towns in the Maremma that have maintained both their history and original splendour like Sovana. The sand-coloured streets, battleworn, but effortlessly characteristic buildings and unassuming old centre are honest and simply beautiful.

Everything here is completely tourist-gimmick free.

If you have time, wander outside the borders of Sovana. Concealed in the rolling hills and forests of the nearby countryside are miles of ancient Etruscan 'Vie Cave' roads, necropolises, crumbling settlements and other archaeological sites that date back millennia.

Photo: Gabriele Tudico via Flickr

Sights

La Rocca

Originally built on the ruins of an ancient Etruscan wall, this fortress, in one form or another, has isolated Sovana from its enemies for more than 14 centuries.

Palazzo Pretorio

Crowned by the grand, sculpted crests of the various Captains of Justice, this palazzo was the centre of government from the 14th-16th century.

La Loggia del Capitano

Next door to the Palazzo Pretorio, the Loggia del Capitano was once the elegant and luxurious home of the equally grand Captains of Justice.

Palazzo Comunale

A beautiful building with the sort of charming country character you’ll only find in Sovana, with its reputation for fine, but modest architecture.

Chiesa di Santa Maria

Shifted from its original position to make way for the palazzo Bourbon del Monte, the Chiesa di Santa Maria is famous for its pre-Romanesque art.

Duomo

Right at the end of town, this Cathedral, dedicated to St Peter, sits at the feet of a Roman road that is said to lead all the way to Saturnia.

Museums

Archaeological Museum

Few museums in the Maremma capture the history of the territory like this one and none of them outside of Grosseto have such an extraordinary collection.

Parco Archeologico

Part nature park/part ancient city, this outdoor museum is so vast that it takes days to explore. Let’s just say it starts with the ancient Etruscan Vie Cave roads.

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