Sovana: Picturesque Old Town & Etruscan Sites
The small village of Sovana in Italy is located in southern Tuscany, in the Maremma region, and is famous for its medieval old town, but also for its rich Etruscan heritage. The historical center of this beautiful tufa town is considered by connoisseurs to be a real insider’s tip in Tuscany and is well worth a visit. Strolling through the small center, you will discover romantic alleys, stop at scenic squares and visit picturesque churches. But also in the surroundings of Sovana there are many interesting things to discover! The Etruscan archaeological sites, the Vie Cave, the Saturnia Springs and famous towns like Pitigliano are just some of the most stunning attractions in the area.
In this travel guide, we have summarized all the important information and tips about Sovana, Italy. In addition, we show you amazing pictures, the most beautiful attractions and things to do, and give recommendations for accommodation.
General Information about Sovana
Situated on a tuff plateau above the Fiora River, Sovana is a small, romantic Tuscan village of about 150 inhabitants. The heart of Sovana is the historical center. In fact, the charming old town of the village consists of only three consecutive streets, called the Upper, Middle and Lower Streets. During a visit, one walks through a kind of open-air museum and marvels at the beautiful buildings and monuments made of tuff. Hardly a house here was built after the 14th century, which makes the village absolutely special!
The history of this town goes back to the Etruscan era, where you can still visit the remains of the Etruscan necropolis and the ancient trade routes, the so-called Vie Cave. Later, in the 4th century A.D., Sovana became a bishop’s see and then, in the Middle Ages, the main town of the county of Aldobrandeschi. Today, the center of Sovana is one of the most wonderful jewels of Tuscany, and has even been considered the most beautiful medieval town in Italy.
Things to Do in Sovana
In Sovana there are some interesting attractions to visit. The highlight is the beautiful historic town center, which impresses with its many medieval buildings. Here are the best things to do in the romantic village, summarized at a glance:
Piazza del Pretorio
The Piazza del Pretorio is certainly the most beautiful square and also the landmark of the charming town of Sovana. This forms the small romantic center with cozy cafés, good restaurants and a few cute stores that also sell traditional crafts and jewelry. Picturesque is also the Palazzetto dell’ Archivio, the former archive palace from the 13th century, which with its slender bell tower significantly shapes the townscape and is a popular photo motif.
Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore
A real jewel is the church Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore. It is located on the left side of the main square and dates back to as early as the 12th century. This historic building is particularly interesting inside, where there is a rare pre-Romanesque marble ciborium, an 8th century altarpiece that is unique in Tuscany. Also worth seeing are the beautiful frescoes of the church and the Roman tombstones with funerary inscriptions.
The Alleys of the Old Town
A real highlight in Sovana are the small, narrow stone alleys, which are located in the center of the historic old town. Lushly decorated with green plants and blooming flowers, these lead through the village and conjure up a picture-perfect ambience. In between you will always find a small cozy cafés and restaurants to linger, and to enjoy the beautiful buildings made of regional tuff stone.
Cathedral of Sovana
One of the most important attractions in Sovana is the imposing cathedral. This Romanesque cathedral was already built between the 9th and 11th centuries and is located at the top of the small medieval town. Rather unpretentious from the outside, one should definitely visit the interior of this church. Interesting are the massive cross-shaped columns, which form an impressive ambience. In addition, a tour of the church reveals many sculptures and at the altar there is an urn with the bones of S. Mamiliano, the patron saint of the village.
Fortress Rocca Aldobrandesca
Truly worth seeing is the Rocca Aldobrandesca, the ancient fortress located at the lower end of the city. This fortress was built as early as the 11th century and has been extended again and again over the years. In the past, it was even surrounded by a moat. Once it served for the defense of the city. Since the 17th century it has been left to decay, so today only a ruin can be visited.
The Archaeological Park, also called Parco Archeologico Città del Tufo, is certainly one of the most famous attractions in Sovana. This Etruscan necropolis is located only about 2 kilometers from the village. During a visit, you can explore a whole series of 2,500-year-old Etruscan tombs, which are built into the tufa. The center of attention is the Tomba Ildebranda, the tomb of Ildebrando, one of the most famous necropolises, which resembles a temple.
In the Archaeological Park, but also in the whole region, you can find the so-called Vie Cave, which are a real peculiarity in the area around Sovana. These are historical 2500 years-old hollow ways, which were cut into the rocks by the Etruscans. Some Vie Cave even have a depth of up to 20 meters. The purpose of these historic roads is still unclear, they could have been communication and supply routes, but also mystical places of worship.
Where to Stay in Sovana
In Sovana, but also in the surrounding area, there is a wide range of fantastic accommodations. From the well-kept winery, agritourism with pool to apartments and camping sites, you can find everything here. Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay Savona…It’s worth a look!
- Hotel in the Old Town: The Sovana Hotel & Resort is a wonderful accommodation in the old town. Here you can expect a romantic garden, a pool and a top breakfast.
- Agritourism with Pool: The Agriturismo San Giacomo delights its guests with very charming rooms and apartments, a beautiful garden and a quiet location.
- Lovely B&B: The PoggioBa is a charming accommodation, just 2 kilometers away. Guests love the delicious breakfast, the quiet location and the hospitality.
- B&B with View: The Agriturismo Poggio Monte Saturnia is beautifully situated in the hills of the Maremma and impresses with a beautiful pool and with certain seclusion.
Find the best accommodation in Sovana:
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