It was the English archeologist S.J. Ainsley who discovered the tombs carved into the rock, which led to the Sovana archaeological area and the entire tufa district becoming among the main Etruscan sites in Tuscany. The Sovana area, not far from the Via Clodia, was identified in the area circumscribed by the key roads of the Via Aurelia and the Via Cassia, to which the internal territory connected with a set of streets and trails that followed the river Fiora. This is where our itinerary begins, a zone known for the distinctive Vie Cave, between Sorano and Pitigliano.
Next up is the village of San Martino, famous for its mineral deposits and mines, and Saturnia, whose main resource is spa tourism, developed in ancient times and now an important destination in Italy and internationally.
The route winds between the villages of Murci, Montorgiali and Istia d'Ombrone, where relics were found ascribable to an Etruscan settlement near Poggio Cavallo. Lastly, we come to the lost city of Roselle, formerly a strategic point for all of Central Etruria.
The itinerary leaves from the entrance to the Sovana Archaeological Park, with a visit to the monumental tombs, before continuing towards Poggio Prisca and arriving at the farm. Veer left to head down the provincial road Sovana - S.Martino sul Fiora. Upon reaching the street, turn right along 1 km of road, cross the bridge over the river Fiora. Opposite there’s a dirt track that cuts through the fields to reach 1.3 km away from San Martino. Continue right on to the road to reach the village of San Martino sul Fora.
From San Martino sul Fiora going down via Diaz, at the provincial road turn right towards Poggio Murella. Carry on along a small road until you reach the village and turn left near to the cemetery along a marked track, heading for Saturnia. At km 5 you’ll come across an Ancient Roman cistern. Continue for 3 km to reach the Terme di Saturnia. It’s where the Sentiero RET 006 trail begins, which takes you to the centre of Saturnia, through the Porta Romana gate, a section of the ancient via Clodia that is still intact.
From Saturnia carry on along the RET 006. Leave from the village square, heading behind the military police barracks and taking a dirt track that will lead to the Albegna River. Ford the river, keeping slightly left until you reach the other side. Continue along the dirt road that climbs up at km 4.7, as far as Podere Pian d'Artino inferiore. Carry on along the dirt track to reach the little bridge over the Fiascone Torrent. Continue along the rough road for over 9.5 km to reach Murci.
From the centre of Murci carry on until you reach the Wind Park, passing all the pylons to km 3.8. By the last pylon descend down a track for 100 metres to the dirt track. Turn left and continue for a further 1.8 km, then turn right by the sign indicating the track. Carry on for 3.1 km of farm road and, after a straight strech before a hairpin bend at km 8.75, veer right along a trail leading to the Senna ford. Before reaching the ford you’ll see a large oak tree. Cross the torrent at its narrowest point and take the track that rises up in front of you. After 2 km, passing through the renowned Biondi Santi vineyards, you arrive at Montepò Castle. From the castle follow the dirt track towards Bivio Montepò, turn left for 600m, then right. Continue for 3.3 km along a track that leads to Montorgiali. Head down towards the cemetery, crossing the Fosso dell'Inferno by the Devil’s Bridge, a Roman arched bridge, and climb up to Bivio Montorgiali.
In the Bivio car park take the farm track on the left towards Strada di Terra Nera. Continue to Podere Montarsicci and at km 3.5 turn right towards Guado del Maiano. At Km 6.2, ford the Maiano Torrent and a road begins in front of us. Carry on beside the torrent for 4 km until you reach the Strada Scansanese, 400 m from Istia d'Ombrone.
From Istia d'Ombrone town centre, take the provincial road “delle Conce” and continue over a series of crossroads, heading for the observatory. Turn right along the provincial road “delle Conce”, then left along strada del Quercione. Carry on along the road heading for the observatory as far as km 4.8. After 500 m turn left on to a track that, for 1.6 km, through fields and olive groves, leads to the ruins of Roselle, an important archaeological site.