The next day, feast on coffee and cornetti (Italian croissants) and hop in the car bright and early for a trip ‘entroterra’ (inland).
First stop, Sovana. Boasting less than 500 permanent residents, Sovana is so small, its supermarket is a little van that putters into town once a week. But Sovana is also the birthplace of Pope Gregory VII (1010-1085) and its streets are filled with amazing medieval palazzos and perfectly preserved homes carved from the iconic rock that is their namesake: tufa. This porous brown stone was also used to build the hauntingly beautiful Duomo (entry with a donation). Keep an eye out for the columns inside. They’re carved with mythical creatures and scenes from the Bible.
Back on the road, we’re headed for nearby Sorano. Much bigger than Sovana, it’s the perfect place for lunch and a stroll through its streets, peeking into the artisan workshops and boutiques. This part of Tuscany is famous for its ceramics, in particular, the black Bucchero pottery that was used by the area’s first inhabitants, the pre-Roman civilization known as the Etruscans.
Make a beeline for Sorano’s fortress. Guided tours are available at the tourist office most days and will take you underground to explore the labyrinth of tunnels. This is one of Italy’s finest examples of Renaissance military architecture and was never conquered.
Your last stop is Pitigliano. Time your visit with sunset and you will be rewarded with the most romantic view of the weekend. Pitigliano’s buildings are carved from the same tufa rock as the cliff that supports it. In the waning sunlight, the lines between manmade and natural blur and the town looks as if it’s suspended in air.