The medieval hamlet of Manciano in province of Grosseto
The medieval hamlet of Manciano is located in a beautiful hilly area of the Tuscan Maremma in the province of Grosseto. The town is located on the top of a hill, at an altitude of 444 meters above sea level, from which it enjoys a beautiful 360° view that sweeps from Monte Amiata to the sea.
Numerous archaeological finds document that this area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The medieval village was built around an Aldobrandeschi fortress documented since the twelfth century. The fortress, located at the highest point of the village, was conquered by the Sienese in 1416 and in 1455 it became part of the possessions of the Orsini, counts of Pitigliano. With the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the fortifications of Magliano lost importance and the town became an agricultural center. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of Manciano distinguished themselves in the fight against the Nazi-fascists and for this reason the city was awarded the War Cross for military valor.
What to see in Manciano: guide to the visit
Once the historic center of Manciano was surrounded by a long circle of walls of which today some parts of the town remain. Of the eleven original towers, a couple can be found respectively located in via Trento and near Porta Fiorella. Embellished with the Aldobrandeschi coat of arms, the door is located on the north side of the town and it is from here that we begin our visit to the village.
Church of San Leonardo
Beyond the door, you immediately notice the bell tower of the church of San Leonardo which stands out over the surrounding roofs. The church dates back to the 14th-15th century but has been completely changed over the centuries and today only the bell tower has maintained the medieval style of its origins. Inside there is a baptismal font dating back to the fourteenth century and a painting by Paride Pascucci depicting San Leonardo (1894).
Museo di Preistoria e Protostoria della valle del Fiora
Two steps in number and you reach the Museo di Preistoria e Protostoria della valle del Fiora valley housed in the Nardelli palace in via Corsini. It is a very interesting museum because it documents the history and occupation of this territory from the Paleolithic to the Bronze Age. The entire museum itinerary is based on the one hand on the finds from the various archaeological sites in the area and on the other hand on the use of technological and multimedia tools used to involve the visitor more.
Rocca Aldobrandesca in Manciano
A few more steps and you reach the summit where the main building of Manciano is located: the Rocca Aldobrandesca. The current building dates back to 1424 and is the work of the Republic of Siena. Although remodeled over time, the imposing Aldobrandesque fortress of Manciano still has some of the typical characteristics of medieval castles: a high tower, walls with battlements and a solid shoe base.
Behind the fortress opens a beautiful square dedicated to Garibaldi. In the center of this square we find a monumental fountain built in 1913 by Vincenzo Rosignoli to celebrate the construction of the acquedotto del Fiora (aqueduct of Fiora).
What to see around Manciano
The area around Manciano is characterized by green hills scattered with small villages, castles and rural churches. The area is famous above all for the famous thermal baths of Saturnia which every year attract many visitors from all over the world. In addition to Saturnia there are other medieval villages to visit such as Montemerano, archaeological sites and natural areas. The sea is not that far away as Manciano is located about 35 kilometers from the coast. Among other things, there are several very beautiful places to relax by the sea or take a regenerating bath.
Saturnia thermal baths
The thermal baths of Saturnia are one of the main attractions in the surroundings of Manciano. Known since ancient times for their therapeutic properties, the thermal baths of Saturnia enjoy an international reputation above all thanks to the spectacular Cascate del Mulino. In addition to the thermal baths, the town is certainly worth a visit. Here too there is an Aldobrandesque fortress and a beautiful archaeological museum.
The small town of Montemerano is a real gem. Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Montemerano has well preserved its medieval historic center made up of twisted streets and small squares, all enclosed by the historic walls. Walking through its narrow streets you can admire delightful views between stone houses leaning against each other. To see the Romanesque church of San Giorgio which houses several works of art inside.
In the locality of Poggio Murella, about 14 km from Manciano, there are the remains of a large cistern from the Roman period (1st century BC) called Castellum Aquarum. The tank is a true engineering masterpiece and its dimensions are truly impressive: 36 meters long, 16 meters wide and 8 meters high. Divided into ten aisles with barrel vaults, this cistern was designed to hold up to 4000 cubic meters of water!
Other places near Manciano
Leaving the municipal area of Manciano, you can quickly reach various charming villages. The most famous is probably Pitigliano, but Sorano, Scansano and Magliano are also worth a visit. Going towards the coast we find Capalbio and the Argentario where you can enjoy a crystal clear sea and beautiful beaches.
Events in Manciano
The main events in Manciano are the Manciano street music festival, the Palio delle Botti, the Cantine Festival and the Oil Festival. The Manciano street music festival usually takes place in June or July over various evenings in which different groups and songwriters alternate. The last weekend of August is usually dedicated to the Palio delle Botti, which sees the Manciano districts challenge each other in a competition that consists in pushing barrels full of water along the streets of the center. The Festa delle Cantine in September and the Festa dell’olio in December are the right occasions to try the flavors of the territory.
How to get to Manciano
Manciano is located 55 kilometers away from Grosseto to which it is regularly connected by bus. It does not have a train station: the closest one is in Albinia.
Train and bus:by train till Albinia; from Albinia to Manciano bus line 41/P Tiemme
Bus: from Grosseto line 8/G Tiemme Grosseto
By car: from Florence (200 km) raccordo autostradale Firenze-Siena, then Tangenziale Ovest di Siena/SS674 and continue on SS223 till the Aurelia SS1 in direction of Rome; in the end SR74 till destination. From Roma (150 km) Aurelia till Montalto di Castro, then SP105 Strada Provinciale Campigliola and go to Manciano on Strada Provinciale Collacchia.