Renowned for its Etruscan roots and the quality of its wine production, Scansano is the perfect place to discover ancient civilisations alongside some of Tuscany’s finest wines. Scansano’s two fascinating museums provide in-depth insights into these two defining aspects of the town’s history. Nestled amongst atmospheric hills in Maremma, a large area of southern Tuscany known for its rich and varied landscapes and ancient roots, Scansano occupies a striking, hill-top position. Whilst this area has been inhabited since antiquity, by Etruscans and then by the Romans, the town of Scansano itself is thought to have been built in the 13th century and offers a remarkable insight into the evolution over time of this unique corner of Tuscany.
A key stop on one of the three renowned Maremma wine routes, the town of Scansano has long been associated with the production of some of the finest Tuscan wines. It principally owes its fame to the production of the Morellino di Scansano DOCG red wine, which, to wine connoisseurs, is considered one of the best expressions of the Sangiovese, the principle red grape of the Tuscan region. Scansano’s favourable climate of warm days and cool, breezy nights is the key to the wine’s notable softness and tannins. The Morellino di Scansano is such an integral part of the town’s cultural heritage that it even has its own festival at the end of September, Festa dell’Uva. This festival marks the culmination of a month’s worth of wine-themed celebrations and tastings, during which some of Scansano’s oldest and most distinguished wine cellars are open to the public.
The Wine and Vine Museum is also a must-see for those interested in the wine production that has given this area its identity for years. It takes you on a fascinating journey into the history and culture of wine-making traditions in this area, and is well worth a visit. The museum explores the relationship between wine and the characteristics of the land, techniques of wine production, as well as the key characteristics of the six DOC wines grown around Scansano.
Whilst the name of Scansano is inseparable from its wine-making heritage, the town also has a fascinating ancient history that is undoubtedly worth exploring. The Ghiaccio Forte, thought to have been built in the fourth century B.C either as a refuge from Etruscans fleeing the Romans or as a home for the area’s wine producers, is located just outside Scansano on the SS322. The best-preserved section of the ancient city is the 1km long city wall, which, at 4 metres thick, was seemingly much stronger than other Etruscan city walls found in Maremma. Within the city are the remains of a small temple known as the Tempio di Divinità Agreste. Ancient votive offerings, including statues of warriors and animals and various ceramic artefacts unearthed from the temple, are now on display at the Archeological Museum. Located in the 15th century Palazzo Pretorio, the museum takes visitors on a fascinating journey from the prehistoric era to Etruscan and Roman civilisations in the Valle dell’Albegna, and houses detailed reconstructions and images of the Roman Villa which used to stand near the Aia Nova farm.