The smallest of the Tufa cities, Sovana is as beautiful and pristine as a movie set, but all the more enchanting because it’s real.
This tiny town flourished as a haven for artists, poets and the religious – Sovana gave birth the Maremma’s only pope – Pope Gregory VII.
It’s a rare treat to walk the streets of Sovana where not even a flower is out of place and each house bears its own lovely hand-painted house number.
Sovana’s fortress was built on the ruins of an Etruscan wall.
Today it’s little more than ruin, but it has protected Sovana in one way or another for more than nine centuries and is still impressive despite its ruined state.
Piazza del Pretorio
Sovana’s main square is a plethora of beautiful buildings. The Palazzo Pretorio bears the coats of arms of the town’s various Captains of Justice, while next door, the Loggia del Capitano was once their luxurious residence.
Now the building hosts a small and free museum that is but a taste of the nearby Parco Archeologico “Città del Tufo”.
Continuing around the square is the Palazzo Comunale, which was once the town hall and is now a lovely building with a clock that does and doesn’t work depending on who you ask.
Chiesa di Santa Maria
This unassuming church is a jewel of pre-Romanesque art. Inside you’ll find the one-of-a-kind tabernacle, carved entirely out of white stone and bearing floral and animal motifs that will enchant you for hours.
Keep an eye out for the Roman tombstone at the back that were, at last look, being used as pot plant holders.
There is something to be said about having your own Pope. Pope Gregory gifted Sovana this spectacular religious building.
The beauty is not in paintings or frescos.
The interior is actually classically Romanesque and austere, but the carving on the columns and exterior portal are exquisite.
You could spend days admiring the Bible scenes carved on the columns that support the cathedral.