130 Km. Road Route
The hilly landscape of theMaremma that will be seen in this route will show its naturalscenery, filled with hills, forests, small towns, vast vineyardsand olive groves, and an abundance of culture, archaeology,traditions and history.
Scansano, widely knownfor the Morellino di Scansano, a red wine produced in this region,has well documented Etruscan and Roman settlements in its area.During the Middle Ages, numerous castles of great strategicimportance were built in the lands surrounding this town.
The Municipal ArchaeologicalMuseum outlines the history of the human settlements in the MiddleValley of the Albegna River through the materials and data found bysystematic archaeological research throughout the past thirtyyears. The route starts from the prehistoric period, arriving tothe more consistent testimonies of the Etruscan age: the archaicvillages and the fortified centre of Ghiaccio Forte, of theHellenistic age. Ghiaccio Forte (its ancient name is yet unknown)was founded in the IV century B.C. near the northern border of theVulci region, on the right side of the Albegna. The route continueswith the Roman age: some reconstructions and images of the Romanvilla situated near the Aia Nova farmstead are provided. The Vineand Wine Museum is not only addressed to inform on wines producedin the region, but also to promote the culture and traditions ofthe territory, keeping these product as its central theme. Themuseum tour is divided into different areas: historical, products,"the vine and wine cycle", traditions, information.
Saturnia boasts aterritory with findings dating back to the Bronze Age, up to thedevelopment of Etruscan settlements, as testified by the remains ofseveral necropolis dating back to the VIII century B.C. A firstwall circle was built by the Romans during the II century B.C., onpre-existing Etruscan defensive structures. The Aldobrandeschirestructured and expanded this primitive circle at the beginning ofthe XIII century, during the construction of the fortress.Subsequent changes have resulted in the disappearance of three ofthe four ancient gateways to the city: the only gateway left is thesouthern Porta Romana, with stone cladding and a round-archedgateway, aligned with the ancient Via Clodia, though the remains oftwo of the other entrances, Porta Fiorentina and Porta di FonteBuia can still be admired.
The recently reorganized museumhouses, in an abandoned school complex, the archaeologicalcollection of the Ciacci family, with interesting Etruscanfindings.
Saturnia is also known for itssulphurous waters, gushing out at a temperature of 37.5° C, makingthis town a prestigious spa resort.
Sovana, a picturesquevillage almost frozen in time, represents a rare jewel of medievaltown planning. From the 7th to the 3rd century B.C. it was athriving Etruscan centre. The Etruscan necropolis with theIldebranda tomb, built in the form of a Greek temple, is from thisperiod. Later on it became an important Roman city and, in thefirst centuries of Christianity, an Episcopal seat. The Museo diSan Mamiliano, which collects objects from the votive deposit foundat the entrance of Via Cava, also called il Cavone, is housed inPiazza del Pretorio. The most important piece of this collection isa small vase containing 498 gold coins, solid golden, found at adepth of more than two meters under the current floor.
Sorano: The firsthistorical records relating to the centre of Sorano date back tothe III century B.C., when the Roman conquest of Etruriastarted. The Etruscan phase of this town, as the fewarchaeological findings testify, was probably lived in the shadowof the nearby Sovana, a much more prosperous and influentialcity.
Città delTufo", on the lands of the municipality of Sorano, offers itsvisitors the chance to interact with practically intact landscapes,characterized by picturesque forms of tufaceous ridges divided bydeep valleys rich in vegetation. The park includes the Etruscannecropolis of Sovana and the cave dwellings of San Rocco andVitozza. Regarding the Etruscan phase of this region, the mostimportant centre is Sovana. The typical structures of this regionare the necropolis with monumental tombs such as the Ildebrandatomb (which owes its name to Ildebrando, Pope Gregory VII, born inSovana), and the tombs of Pola, Tifone, Sirena, as well as thenumerous semi-dice tombs, and the most recent finding: the tomb ofthe Winged Demons.
Pitigliano is located ona suggetive rocky promontory, bordered by green valleys, where therivers Lente and Meleta run. Its Etruscan name is unknown, perhapsit was the Statnes (or Staties), which in Roman times would becomethe prefecture of Statonia. The name Pitigliano seems to come fromthe gens Petilia, an important Roman family that named severalother locations. Its principal characteristic is the contrastbetween its Etruscan and Roman town map and its medieval town plan,in which Renaissance and Late Renassaince monuments find theirhome. The ancient Medicean aqueduct watches over the town, and thepalace of the Orsini family stands out among all its beautifulbuildings. This palace was built in the fourteenth century, and hasbeen renovated several times. Today it houses the Diocesan Museumand the Civic Archaeological Museum. A walk in the streets of theold town centre leads to the Cathedral, with a beautiful baroquefaçade and its mighty bell tower. In the old ghetto the remains ofthe synagogue and the Jewish Museum can be seen.
The vie Cave, on theoutskirts of Pitigliano, are trails carved in tuff rock, with wallswhich are often as high as twenty meters, some long about akilometre and wide about two or three meters. In some segments theyare roofed by the foliage of the trees, forming a green and shadygallery. The micro climate of these wet and dark environmentsallows mosses, lichens and ferns to proliferate. Evident signs ofdonkey hooves, having passed through these roads for centuries,used as means of transport for the men working in the farmlands,are visible on the ground.
Manciano, our next stop,is perched on a hill and defended by solid walls, dominating thesurrounding territory. The location, excellent for sightings,reveals the great strategic significance that the city had as anobservatory and lookout. The archaeological findings in theterritory of Manciano tell us that the valley of the Albegna hasbeen inhabited since prehistoric times. Of the innumerable smallsettlements of the region, the most significant, are thoseassociated to the necropolis of Marsiliana and Pian di Palma,identified presumably as the ancient Caletra. The city reached ahigh level of development, and weaved close relations with otherEtruscan centres such as Vulci, Roselle and Vetulonia. Followingthe Roman occupation, this region became praedium of the gensMancia, from which its name derives.
The museum of Manciano offers adidactic area showing the Fiora valley, but also displaying thetestimonies of the Middle and Superior Palaeolithic (Monte Amiata).The Neolithic findings come from Vacasio, Poggio Lucio (Pitigliano)and Poderi del Bufalo (Manciano). The Copper Age is documented byfindings from the Cave of the Sassi Neri (Capalbio), from thenecropolis of Poggialti Vallelunga, Coran and Poggio Formica(Pitigliano) and Le Calle, Lasconcino and Poggio Capanne(Manciano). Next are the materials from the excavation of thevillage of Scarceta (Manciano), which has been continuouslyinhabited from the Middle Bronze Age to the Final Bronze Age,providing fragments of Mycenaean pottery, bronzes of Montemerano,the hatchets from the Amiata and Sovana territories, and theceramic fragments from various localities in the Fiora valley. Alsofrom the Final Bronze Age are the trousseaux of the incinerationtombs of Cavallin del Bufalo and of the Bagnatoio, and the findingsfrom the villages of Le Sparne di Poggio Buco and from the Sorgentidi Nova.