Sovana, Sorano e Pitigliano
Symbol representing the cities of Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano is tufa rock, an element that has always characterized the area; the whole area is of volcanic origin and is indented by huge tufa spurs carved by numerous storage cave, once inhabited and still used as warehouses or shelter for agricultural tools. Tufa is linked to the history of this part of the Maremma hills; over time, this rock has allowed the ancient prehistoric populations, Etruscan and medieval to exploit and shape the territory with cemeteries, roads, columbaria and more. Existing events village homes made close to each other and built with tufa give the feeling of being at one with the rocky cliffs.
Sovana has a charming village atmosphere frozen in time and is a rare jewel of medieval town planning. This famous Etruscan-Roman town is part of the municipality of Sorano, a little known corner of Maremma that remained for a long time away from the main roads. Thanks to this splendid isolation, the territory of Tufi is today a unique place in the world so that in 2003 the village of Sovana was listed as one of the “most beautiful villages in Italy”. Numerous Vie Cave – special paths carved into the tufa by the Etruscans – start from the village and headed for the most important archaeological sites in the area, like the Etruscan necropolis of Sovana, certainly the richest of the Maremma, with many various types of tombs, including the most important Sirena, Hildebrand, Silenus, Pula and Typhon.
Inhabited since ancient times, Sorano is characterized by impressive rock settlements, villages and medieval fortifications arose near important Etruscan-Roman centers. What immediately strikes the traveler who arrives in Sorano is the feeling of being in a place trapped in time. The pristine natural environment, with high walls of tufa surrounded by ancient trees, the soft sound of the river Lente, the tranquility and beauty of the landscapes, the culture of hospitality, catering and typical products and the value of cultural heritage this land is an area of high environmental and cultural value. The City of Sorano has obtained, in 2004, the “Orange flag”: the mark of a quality tourism environment of the Italian Touring Club, which is awarded to resorts that meet particular criteria related to the development of quality tourism. In 2004, the World Found Monument, prestigious American Cultural Foundation, pointed Le Vie Cave as assets of global interest to be protected. A treasure remained unchanged for centuries is the Archaeological Park “Città del Tufo”. The purpose of the park is to optimize the use of a number of sites of great archaeological, historical and naturalistic found in the territories of Sorana, Sovana and Vitozza (San Quirico), the so-called areas of tufa. Although the most important testimonies concerning the Etruscan period (with the necropolis sovanesi that are articulated in the hills outside the village) are part of the Park and numerous important remains of late ancient and medieval like castles, churches, forts and numerous cliff dwellings.
In Pitigliano there is a small medieval quarter known as La Piccola Gerusalemme (little Jerusalem) for the historical presence of a Jewish community, a stroll through the narrow streets, with many small workshops, immersed in the colors of the tufa and the smell of fireplaces… Here it seems that life runs in a different rhythm. Pitigliano is blissfully non-touristy town, with only about 25,000 visitors a year. With its railings, tiled roofs and ceramic multi-level buildings perched on layers of red volcanic tufa, Pitigliano resembles a sparkling half-pint Holy City. Every street and alley culminates in spectacular views of hills dotted with olive trees, chestnuts, oaks and pines. The area is dotted with tunnels and caves carved into the tufa stone, called Vie Cave.