The town of Sovana is renowned for its artistic and architectural heritage which includes an important Etruscan necropolis and beautiful Medieval and Renaissance edifices. The present day historical center dates back to the Middle ages and developed under the reign of the Aldobrandeschi family to whom we can attribute the magnificent castle built in the year 1000.
During the Middle Ages, Sovana acquired the status of municipality and witnessed the birth of Ildebrando of Sovana who was to become Pope Gregory the VII in 1073. From the end of the third century , Sovana, along with the towns of Sorano and Pitigliano, became property of the prominent Orsini family until central Italy was conquered by the Sienese in the fifteen century. With the fall of the Republic of Siena in the mid sixteenth century, Sovana passed on to the hands of the Medici family who incorporated the area in the Granducato of Tuscany.
The town is located in close proximity of a pre-existing Etruscan Necropolis which is comprised of about a hundred monumental tombs. Of particular importance is the spectacular Tomba Ildebrando. The Ildebrando tomb, discovered in 1924, dates back to the second century BC and is considered the most important monument of the necropolis, if not the most important Etruscan monument excavated to date. The tomb obviously has no connection with the 11th century Pontific, but the archeologist do not know the identity of its owner and thus thought to name this impressive tomb after Sovana’s most illustrious citizen.
Pitigliano is a hilltop town situated in the province of Grosseto. It is one of the most beautiful and interesting towns of Tuscany due to its particular location, entirely built upon a tufa rock formation, and for the variety of its artistic and architectural features. One can in fact admire numerous monuments that date from the Middle ages through to the 18th century.
Founded by the Romans, Pitigliano saw the subsequent reigns of the Aldobrandeschi , Orsini and Medici Families similarly to the nearby town of Sovana. The architectural characteristics of the Orsini Palace and the Cathedral of Pietro e Paolo exemplify this Political development. The first, originally a 1st century convent, is now an palace which boasts elegant interiors with renaissance features, whilst the later, built in the Middle Ages, now has a late baroque façade and contains artworks dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Pitigliano is also known as “little Jerusalem” due to the presence of a synagogue and of a significant Jewish community which has always benefited of an excellent integration with the local population. The beautiful Synagogue dates to the 16th century and is enclosed in the picturesque Jewish Ghetto.