Sovana is a golden stone hill town surrounded by green woods and gently rolling hills in southern Tuscany. Sitting on a tufa ridge above the Fiora River, the Maremma area is a fascinating mix of open landscapes, timeless towns, olive groves, and unique geology. Because of its volcanic history, there are hot springs scattered about the region. It is linked to neighboring towns, Sorano and Pitigliano, and is close to Manciano as well as Lago di Bolsena. Sovana is just a few miles from where Lazio borders Tuscany.
The Etruscans inhabited this area many millennia ago, leaving behind some interesting necropoli just outside town. It was developed in the Middle Ages when it was the domain of the powerful Aldobrandeschi family, who built the castle. The Rocca Aldobrandesca still stands, at least in part, with walls and a tower still dominating the hilltop. Just below it are enormous tufa blocks that formed a wall built by the Etruscans.
Sovana is tiny but tucked within its compact historic center is a lot of charm and atmosphere. It is authentic, still maintaining its Old World structure, making it a delightful place to visit and wander, to see what it was like centuries ago. There are some restaurants and shops in the narrow lanes. Piazza del Pretorio is the center of civic life, as it has been since the Middle Ages. You'll see the Palazzo Pretorio, once the seat of the ruling class, the Palazzo Archivio, and Palazzo Bourbon del Monte, where there is a nice museum. Set apart is the town's Duomo, with an arched ceiling crypt below it, striped columns and an octagonal cupola capping it. It is simple but the decorations of plants and animals painted inside are whimsical.
Sovana is a good jumping-off point for the Vie Cave, the Rock Paths of Tuscany that were once Etruscan "streets" connecting towns of the area.
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