Rocca Aldobrandesca - Sovana

1. The Keep, on the right remnants of the 'Rocca gate', ancient access to the hamlet.
2. The internal front of the Rocca.


Sovana lies at the center of the part of Tuscany known as ' the Etruscan zone of the tuff's', easily reachable with the SS2 Cassia crossing first the Orcia Valley and the zone of the Mount Amiata then.


Already known in Etruscan and Roman age, from the 6th century center of primary importance of the zone as Episcopalian seat, Sovana was conquered by the Longobard in the years 592-605 and became the most important power center of the zone.

It can seems strange but, despite the relief that the place has always had above all to institutional level, but the history and the evolution of the city  is unknown until the 12th century, due to the lack of documentation.

In the Middle Age we find Sovana as a castle inserted in the territory of the Aldobrandeschi family. In this period was erected the fortress, that overlook, as a sentinel, the urban inhabited area, and of all the other numerous public buildings and churches.

This fortunate period of maximum shine for Sovana was due to the fact that Ildebrando of Soana, born here,  became Pope, as Gregorio VII°, in the year 1073.

The importance of Sovana decreased more and more and when, in the 14th century, the control of the zone passed to the family of the Orsini, these preferred to assemble their affairs on the new strengthened settlements of Sorano and Pitigliano.

The economic crisis and the prostration for the 'malaria' brought to a notable decrease of the population and the frequent wars between the Orsini and the Senese Republic for the control of the castle didn't help Sovana to rise up again.

The following centuries didn't even serve to reverse the tendency: in 1833 the country counted only 64 inhabitants! Today, although object of numerous restorations, the country also appears solitary and partially abandoned, it counts less than 500 inhabitants.

The remnants of the medieval period  let us understand the great prosperity that Sovana reached under the control of the counts Aldobrandeschi.

From the summit of a cliff of tuff, set to the vertex of the inhabited area, rise the mighty ruins of the Rocca Aldobrandesca, erected in the 12-13th centuries on the place of the previous small Etruscan and Roman fortifications, that the perimeter of the walls seems tracings perfectly.

The reddish mass of the fortification has the aspect that was given it after the 1572 restoration, when new ramparts was added to the walled enclosure. Because of the historical events that saw Sovana always at the border of the economic and social development of the zone, already during the years of 17th century begun the dismantlement of the Fortress. Today still stand a tower and a line of walls, partly still endowed machicoulis in stone, besides the gate of access. The surrounding zone is rich of stupendous Etruscan graves dug in the tuff.


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