Parco archeologico  "Città del Tufo"

The “Città del Tufo” Archaeology and Mining Park Sovana

The Sovana Necropolis in Sorano

Etruscan tombs peep out everywhere in Sovana, dug into the tufo slopes that surround the town. Many of them can be reached following the mysterious “quarried” or “cut” paths: enormous, narrow corridors also cut deep into the tufo rock, perhaps sacred paths for religious rites. If you embark upon the path that goes off from the San Martino sul Fiora provincial road at the entrance to the town of Sovana, once you have passed the Folonia stream at the point where it forms a pretty little waterfall, you get to the Tomba della Sirena (3rd-2nd century BC): decorating the pediment of the façade is a mermaid enveloping two young boys in her coils. If you continue on the “San Sebastiano” quarried path, you feel smaller and smaller next to the walls towering over 25 m, like Gulliver in the land of giants; and among the ferns and the moss, you will come across a Palaeo-Christian rock oratory.
 The “Cavone” is another fascinating gorge. Again looking upwards, you can see how the road has gradually got lower and lower. At the top of the walls you find Etruscan tombs, while halfway up there are medieval niches. On one of the walls time has not cancelled an Etruscan inscription and a hooked cross, the Etruscan symbol of life. Not far away, in the Poggio Felceto necropolis, you can visit the most famous tomb in the whole area, Tomba Ildebranda (3rd-2nd century BC), which bears the name of the area’s most illustrious citizen, Pope Gregory VII (his birth name was Ildebrando di Sovana). It is one of the most beautiful examples of a temple tomb.
 
Hewn totally out of the tufo, it is divided into two parts: the funerary monument and the burial chamber. Due to the brittleness of the rock, many architectural elements have been lost, but thanks to the fragments found during the excavations it has been possible to make an accurate re- construction: two flights of stairs led up to a high podium, where twelve columns held up a frieze decorated with pictures of animals, plants and humans. A long corridor, the dromos, leads to the cross- shaped burial chamber situated under the monument.

When leaving the town of Sovana from Porta della Rocca on the opposite side of the valley, and going up to the left, you find other tombs, the most famous of which is the Tomba del Sileno. This tomb has two peculiarities: it is the only circular niche tomb in the area; and, though the last to be discovered, in 1963, it was miraculously intact, with all the funerary items, urns and cinerary remains. These are just some of the tombs that are dotted about the territory of Sovana: there are a great many, in a range of different architectural styles, including the “dovecots”, small cells hewn into the tufo, probably used to house the cinerary urns.

Opening times
From easter to october every day from 10.00 a.m. to 13.00 p.m. and from 15.00 p.m. to 19.00 p.m. from November to january, open on saturdays, sundays and public holidays. opening hours are subject to changes. It is advisable to view the website: www.leviecave.it .The Park includes the Orsini Fortress in Sorano that houses the Medieval and Renaissance Museum (where evocative underground passages can be visited) and the rock settlement of San Rocco.

Tour route
There is an easy trail: 5h, 3 km.

Useful Information
Trekking gear is recommended. Please respect the regulations in force for archaeological parks.

How to get there
From Florence: A1 motorway, Orvieto exit; then follow the signs for Castel Giorgio, San Lorenzo Nuovo, Pitigliano, Sovana.
- From Rome via Viterbo: follow the signs for Lago di Bolsena; then follow the signs for Valentano, Pitigliano, Sovana.
- From Rome via Aurelia: SS 1 road Montalto di Castro exit; follow the signs for Canino then for Valentano, Pitigliano, Sovana.
- From Genoa via Grosseto: SS 1 road Albinia exit; then follow the signs for Manciano, Pitigliano, Sovana.

Information
Parco Archeologico “Città del Tufo” Tel. +39 0564 614074/633767 • Fax +39 0564 617924

City of Sorano Tel. +39 0564 633023 • Fax +39 0564 633033 www.leviecave.it info@leviecave.it

Pro Loco Sorano Tel./fax +39 0564 633099

Apt Maremma Tel. +39 0564 462611 Fax +39 0564 454606 www.lamaremma.infoinfo@lamaremma.info

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