Sovana – the unmissable sights of a tiny but beautiful town
Located in southern Tuscany, Sovana is only a short distance from Pitigliano. Visiting the town will leave a lasting impression on you. It’s one of the tufa area towns and a very intriguing and magical place to visit in the Maremma.
Sovana has kept all its historical charm from ancient times. Visiting this picturesque location deserves at least a few hours, if not half a day. You can leave your car in the paid-for car park, which is close to the main square. Then enjoy a stroll around the town to explore. Amazingly, even though perched on a hilltop, the town itself is on level ground. This is ideal if you don’t want a lot of uphill and downhill walking, as is so common on many of Tuscany’s hilly towns and villages.
With several cafes, restaurants and gift shops to explore, Sovana is steeped in history. You’ll notice the Piazza del Pretoria when strolling up from the car park. It is, in fact, the main square. With red brick paving, it’s home to the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Loggia del Capitano and the Palazzo del Archive. Also, to the right is the Palazzo Pretorio di Sovana, built in the 13th century. One of its facades depicts nine stone coats of arms of the captains and the commissioners who once served the town. Having gone through some changes over the centuries, this is now a home to the archaeological museum, with exhibits from the Ildebranda Tomb, the most famous tomb in the entire Sovana necropolis, discovered in 1924.
Don’t miss a visit to the Rocca Aldobrandesca, which may have been built over a fortress that once stood in Etruscan or Roman times. What you see today dates back to a renovation in 1572. However, it was taken down during the 17th century and now you can only see part of the walls, the tower and a portal. This fabulous former fortress in a reddish brown colour once held an excellent defensive position on the hilltop. It even had underground passages for soldiers. Unfortunately, it lost its importance in the 17th century, hence its ruined state today. However, you can still get a good idea of the architectural skills that went into the construction of the fortress.
The Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore is stunning on the inside, with a rare 9th century ciborium, one of the oldest remaining in the whole of Tuscany. The church also contains some amazing 15th century frescoes.
Another must-see feature is the Duomo of Sovana, with its tranquil and mystical setting. In the left nave by the altar stands a relic known as “the San Mamiliano urn”. Further features include a crypt with six columns, frescoes and wonderful stone arches and columns. These depict an array of figures, including a knight, peacocks and a double-tailed siren. These are typical of churches from the early Medieval times. Another relic truly worth seeing here is the chest from the 15th century, originally containing the remains of San Mamiliano.
As one of Itly’s most beautiful villages, you really shouldn’t miss the magic of Sovana while spending time in Tuscany. It will be an unforgettable highlight of your travels.
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