Sovana: Picturesque Old Town & Etruscan Sites
The small village of Sovana is located in southern Tuscany, in the Maremma region, and is famous for its medieval old town, but also for its rich Etruscan heritage. Especially the historic center of this pretty tuff town is considered by connoisseurs to be a real insider tip of southern Tuscany. But there are also many interesting things to do in the surroundings of Sovana! The Etruscan archaeological sites, the Vie Caves, the Saturnia Springs and famous cities like Pitigliano are just a few of the attractions in the area close to Sovana.
In this travel guide we have summarized all important information & tips about Sovana in Italy. We also show you beautiful pictures, the best things to do and provide you with recommendations for fantastic accommodations.
General information about Sovana
Sovana is beautifully situated on a tufa plateau above the river Fiora and, with about 150 inhabitants, it’s a tiny medieval village in Tuscany. The history of this village dates back to the Etruscan era and nearby there are remains of the Etruscan necropolis and the former trade routes (Vie Cave). Later, in the 4th century A.D. Sovana became a bishop’s see and then, in the Middle Ages, the capital of the county of Aldobrandeschi.
Today, the center of Sovana is a pretty jewel of Tuscany, which has even been declared to be one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Italy.
Things to do in Sovana
The heart and at the same time the main attraction of Sovana is the medieval old town. During a visit you will stroll through some kind of open-air museum and marvel at beautiful medieval buildings and the lovely attractions. Hardly a house has been built here after the 14th century!
Piazza del Pretorio
The most beautiful square and also the symbol of the town is the Piazza del Pretorio. Here you will find the small center with cozy cafés, fantastic restaurants and a few cute stores that also sell traditional handicrafts and jewelry. Picturesque is also the Palazzetto dell’ Archivio, the former archival palace from the 13th century, which, with its slender bell tower, essentially shapes the townscape.
Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore
On the left side of the main square there is the small church Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore from the 12th century. This historical attraction is especially interesting on the inside, where there is a marble – ciborium (altar construction) from the 8th century. The beautiful frescoes of the church are also worth seeing.
The alleys of the old town
Other highlights in Sovana are the small and narrow stone alleys, which lead through the village and are lavishly decorated with green plants and flowers. In between you will always find a small cozy café to linger and enjoy the charming buildings made of regional tuff stone.
Cathedral of Sovana
Another important thing to see in Sovana is the imposing cathedral. This Romanesque cathedral was built between the 9th and 11th century and is located at the top of the small medieval town. From the outside rather pompous, you should definitely visit the interior of this church.
Fortress Rocca Aldobrandesca
Also worth seeing in Sovana is the Rocca Aldobrandesca, the old fortress located at the lower end of the city. Built in the 11th century, it once served to defend the city. Since the 17th century, it was left to decay; only a ruin can be visited today.
One of the most famous attractions is certainly the Etruscan necropolis of Sovana, located about 2 kilometers outside the town. In this archaeological park you can explore a whole series of 2,500-year-old Etruscan tombs, fortified with tufa stone. The main attraction here 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 entire region around Sovana, you can find the so-called Vie Cave, which is a unique thing of the area. These are historical hollow paths carved into the rocks by the Etruscans. Some Vie Caves even have a depth of up to 20 meters. The purpose of these historical roads is still unclear; they could have been communication and supply routes or 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 top accommodations in Savona…It’s worth a look!
- Hotel in the Old Town: The Sovana Hotel & Resort is the best address in the middle of the old town. A beautiful hotel with romantic garden, nice pool and great breakfast awaits you.
- Agritourism with Pool: The Agriturismo San Giacomo delights its guests with very charming rooms and apartments. In addition to that, it offers a beautiful garden and a quiet location.
- 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:
More Places to visit in Tuscany:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Meaning that if you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.