Sovana in Maremma: a tiny town with a big history
Sovana in Maremma is a small village that has an ancient history, documented by the many archaeological remains in the area.
Etruscan town before and roman then (from the 3rd century B.C), Sovana in the 5th century is documented as an episcopal seat. The decline of the town began during the 14th century, when the family Orsini took control over it.
The village currently runs along a primary road, consisting of via del Pretorio and via di Mezzo (via del Duomo). This path has in the remains of the Rocca aldobrandesca and in the Cathedral its start and its end.
Things to do in Sovana
Coming from the other hamlets of the Area del Tufo, Pitigliano and Sorano, we have to take the Strada Provinciale Sovana (SP22) that leads us directly behind the Rocca degli Aldobrandeschi, located in the east side of the village. Our visit starts from this fortress.
The fortress was probably built around the year 1000, then it was rebuilt after the 1300 and restored between the 15th and the 16th century. All this works did not prevent the subsequent abandonment and decay. Today the castle, even if ruined, still retains some of the old walls.
In front of the fortress starts the main road of the village, via del Pretorio. This is a nice street with a fund composed of bricks laid in a herringbone pattern. After a short walk we arrive in the main square: piazza del Pretorio.
This small square has the most interesting buildings of the centre. On the right, the Palazzo Pretorio is well recognizable by the presence in front of the coat of arms of the various captains of justice, and commissioners senesi. Inside the place there are the center of documentation of the Sovana’s territory and the Archaeological museum. On the side of the palace there is a pretty lodge called Loggetta del Capitano.
On the right side of the square stand two churches interspersed by late renaissance Palazzo Bourbon del Monte. The first church, on the left of the palace, is the early christian origin Church of San Mamiliano. This church, after some interesting archaeological excavations, today hosts the Museum of San Mamiliano that exposes the finds from the site as the exceptional treasure composed by 498 gold coin from the 5th century.
Polo Museale di Sovana – Museum of San Mamiliano
March: saturday-sunday 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-19.00
April: september: every day 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-19.00
October: every day 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-18.00
November: saturday-sunday 10.00-13.00 and 14.00-17.00
Closed on wednesday (except on holidays and august)
Tickets: 2 euro
The second one is the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Built in romanesque style between the 12th and the 13th century, the church has a plan with three naves. Inside there are two frescoes from the first years of the 16th century and an interesting ciborium dated between the 8th ad the 9th century.
At the end of the square stands the beautiful Palazzo dell’Archivio. This characteristic building, built during the 12 century as city hall, has in its facede a clock and a small bell tower. The main road splits at the sides of the building in via Rodolfo Siviero (via di Sotto) on the left and via Duomo (via di Mezzo) on the right. These two roads continue almost parallel untill they rejoin near the Cathedral.
Now a little curiosity, if you decide to take via del Duomo, at the number 47 you will find the house of Pope Gregorio VII.
The Concattedrale di San Pietro (Cathedral of Sovana) is located in the western side of the village, in an isolated position. It’s an interesting building founded during the eighth century but rebuilt in romanesque forms during the twelfth and the thirteenth century.
What to visit around Sovana
The Etruscan Necropolis of Sovana is located just outside the village and is part of the Parco Archeologico “Città del Tufo”. The park is comped by many tombs and etruscan paths.
Among the etruscan paths, we recommend the “vie cave” that offers some interesting walks into the nature.
Parco Archeologico “Città del Tufo” – Archaeological Area of Sovana
March: saturday-sunday 10.00-19.00
April-september: every day 10.00-19.00
October: every day 10.00-18.00
November: saturday-sunday 10.00-17.00
Tickets: 5 euro
For more informations, please consult the official web site of the archaeological park.