What to see around Manciano

The most beautiful towns in Italy of Pitigliano, Sovana and Montemerano, Capalbio, the Argentario and Monte Amiata

MANCIANO

Manciano is located in the province of Grosseto in southern Tuscany. An old saying goes like this: “Manciano from the beautiful sign, den of thieves and spy of the Maremma”. The beautiful sign represents the Municipality that has the open hand as its symbol. Burrow of thieves, because the area where it stands was the hideout of the most bloodthirsty brigands like Tiburzi, Fioravanti and Biagini. Spy of the Maremma because it rises on top of a hill from where the eye can span 360 °. Moreover, the town is in the ideal position for those who need the Terme di Saturnia or to see the Mulino waterfalls: a natural spectacle unique in the world! Perfect for visiting the medieval villages of Montemerano and Capalbio and the tuff cities of Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana, the Vulci park, the Etruscan necropolis and the cave streets. For those who love the sea there is Mount Argentario, marina of Capalbio and Talamone. In a short time you will also reach the lakes of Bolsena, the Uccellina Park and Monte Amiata.

Manciano is a typical village of medieval origin that still shows signs of ancient dominations. Precisely for this reason, there are many things to see in the village: the Rocca Aldobrandesca, which was built by the homonymous family that ruled over the territory; the Cassero Senese (the current seat of the municipality). Furthermore, it is worth visiting the Clock Tower, built under the dominion of the Republic of Siena. Very interesting is the church of San Leonardo, built in the medieval period in Romanesque-Gothic style and restored at a later date. Finally, the Piazza Garibaldi fountain, designed by Pietro Aldi to celebrate the opening of the Fiora Aqueduct. Worthy of note, outside the city walls, is the church of the Santissima Annunziata.

MONTEMERANO

The medieval village was built in the 13th century by the Aldobrandeschi in the highest part of the hill. In the XIV century it passed under the dominion of the Basques, and then to Orvieto. During the fifteenth century it was conquered by Siena that made it an impenetrable fortress. After the fall of the Republic of Siena (1555-59), the center became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until the plebiscite which decreed its annexation to the nascent Kingdom of Italy. The medieval village of Montemerano on August 24th 2014 was officially declared one of “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy”. Built on the highest part of the hill surrounded by the Maremma countryside, along the road that from Manciano leads to Saturnia is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages of the Tuscan Maremma.

The historic center of Montemerano is characterized by stone houses and stairs adorned with plant pots, flowers that create splashes of color against the stone and a maze of medieval alleys that lead to small squares, until they cross an arch and enter the Piazza del Castello, certainly the most beautiful square in Montemerano and the heart of the village. The Church of San Giorgio is also very beautiful, a jewel of Romanesque art that houses an exceptional collection of Renaissance works of art including the famous “Madonna della Gattaiola”.

SATURNIA

The Mulino Waterfalls, one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany, are located 2 km from the village of Saturnia. The water that gives rise to the falls comes from a volcanic crater, then flows along a natural stream (the Gorello) for about 500 meters, where a drop creates the rapids that graze an ancient mill and form a series of natural pools dug into the travertine rocks creating “a natural spectacle unique in the world”. Entrance to the falls is free and in August it is possible to swim even at night. The free spas are frequented by many tourists because the thermal waters of these waterfalls have a constant temperature of 37.5 ° C and remarkable therapeutic and healing properties. They are effective for treating various skin problems, cardiovascular diseases of the parts and respiratory systems, lower blood pressure, purify the liver, help digestion and respiration.

In the historic center of the village of Saturnia there is much to see: first of all the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, built in the Middle Ages and completely restored in the early 1900s; the Rocca Aldobrandesca, built in the 12th century and the Ciacci castle built, inside, in the fascist era; The Panciatichi-Ximenes palace, dating back to the Renaissance; The Archaeological Museum, where are the finds discovered in the nearby Etruscan Necropolis; the Castellum Aquarum, from the Roman period, used as a rainwater cistern; La Cinta Muraria and La Porta Romana. Outside the town there is the Necropolis of Puntone, rich in tombs and testimonies of the Etruscan past of Saturnia.

PITIGLIANO

Pitigliano rises in the province of Grosseto, in the southern part of Tuscany, on the border with Lazio. Those coming from Manciano, traveling along the SS 74 Maremmana and arriving there for the first time, will suddenly find themselves facing an extraordinary show that will leave you speechless: overhanging medieval houses and towers, ravines and caves dug out of the tufa, very high rock walls that dominate the valley bottom where the Lente, Meleta and Prochio rivers flow. Many things deserve to be seen in Pitigliano. The first one that will jump to you as soon as you arrive are the giant arches of the Medici Aqueduct. Walking along it on the left you will arrive at Palazzo Orsini of Aldobrandesca origin and, continuing inside, in via Zuccarelli you will find the Jewish Ghetto. Finally just outside the walls, you can visit the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie.

Pitigliano, following the restrictions due to the Papal Bulls of the Papal States, hosted the Jews since the end of the fifteenth century and became for them an important center of refuge in central Italy. Over the years, the small Jewish community occupied the southern part of the country, today’s Via Zuccarelli (Il Ghetto) where the Synagogue, the unleavened bread oven, the school, the cellar dug out of the tuff where kosher wine was produced, were built. kasher butcher, purification bath for women and dry cleaners. The development of the Jewish community, thanks to its economic and cultural vitality and above all to the peaceful coexistence between Jews and Christians, characterized the “Little Jerusalem” for over five centuries. The White of Pitigliano – The favorable climate and soil conditions have favored in this area the development of the viticulture that produced the “Bianco di Pitigliano” one of the highest quality Italian white wines that it received in 1966 the first DOC recognized in Italy.

SOVANA

Sovana is one of the countries of the so-called “Area dei Tufi”, located in the south of Tuscany in the province of Grosseto in the municipality of Sorano. It was an important Etruscan center, a medieval, Renaissance and episcopal center. In about 1020, Ildebrando Aldobrandeschi di Soana was born in Sovana and became famous in history as Pope Gregory VII in the town still has his birthplace. Inherited from the Orsini family in 1293 it was sacked and devastated by the Sienese in 1410. With the definitive fall of the Republic of Siena it was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany under the control of the Medici. The village is part of the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy promoted by the National Association of Italian Municipalities.

Those who are fond of history, art and nature must come to Sovana because in its historic center it will discover monuments of great value such as: the Cathedral in Romanesque style, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul; The Rocca Aldobrandesca, built in the 11th century and restored by the Sienese and the Medici; the Bishop’s Palace, seat and residence of the bishops, dating back to the medieval period; the ruins of San Mamiliano, the oldest church in the town; the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, dating back to the 13th century; the Palace of the Archive and the Palazzo Pretorio, dating back to 1200; the Loggia (or Loggetta) of the Captain; the Renaissance Palazzo Bourbon del Monte. Also noteworthy is the archaeological area of Sovana with its necropolis and Etruscan tombs, among which Poggio Felceto stands out with its monumental Ildebranda Tomb and the Via Cava called “il Cavone”.

SORANO

The village of Sorano is located in the province of Grosseto in the south of the Tuscan Maremma in the area called “Area dei Tufi”. The country is perched in a unique and suggestive way on a steep tuff rock at the foot of Mount Amiata and presents various ups and downs. The historic center is characterized by a network of alleys, courtyards, arches, portals with raised ashlars, external staircases, loggias and cellars dug into the tuff where in the past the locals performed the various phases of the harvest. Soranese wineries are unique in Italy and it would be advisable to create routes to improve their use. Among those made available to the public, we recommend the Locanda Aldobrandeschi cellars. The other cellars of the Borgo are private and are open to the public only on the occasion of the “Festa delle Cantine” event organized by an association of Sorano.

Those arriving in Sorano will immediately realize that among the alleys, courtyards and endless staircases of the historic center there are many buildings to see. First of all, the imposing Aldobrandesca fortress (which later became the Orsini fortress) built by the homonymous family in 1172, inherited from the Orsini at the end of 1200 and enlarged by Niccolò Orsini IV in 1552; The Masso Leopoldino or old fortress built in the medieval period and renovated by the Lorraine; the Palazzo Comitale, the first residence of the Counts Orsini; the two ancient entrance doors to the village: the Porta dei Merli and the Arco del Ferrini; the Romanesque collegiate church of San Nicolò, dating back to the Middle Ages; the Jewish ghetto, established by the Medici in 1619. the medieval Pieve di Santa Maria dell’Aquila located near one of the springs of the Terme di Sorano and built during the Aldobrandesque government.

CAPALBIO

Capalbio is located in the province of Grosseto in the southernmost part of Tuscany. For the environmental context and the historical and cultural relevance, achieved in the Renaissance period, it has been nicknamed “the little Athens”. The municipality has been awarded several times with the “five sails” for the uniqueness of its territory and with the first place in the “Blue Guide” of “Legambiente Touring Club” for the care and management of beaches, landscape and environment surrounding. Visiting the town will make you experience beautiful sensations, walking through the alleys will make you feel immersed in the Middle Ages, walking between the two levels of the walls – thanks to its position on top of a hill – will allow you to wander, with your eyes, from the countryside to the sea. The name Capalbio derives from Caput Album or Campus Albus, due to the white alabasters that characterize it.

The historical center of Capalbio is accessed by a double-arched door, the Porta Senese. Walking along via Collacchioni you will reach the Aldobrandesca fortress with the Palazzo Collacchioni, built in 1900, where Puccini used to play the piano in his stays in the village. To visit in the main square the church of San Nicola which dates back to the XII-XIII century, more inland in the village you will find the Arco Santo with a marble effigy of the emperor Hadrian. A separate quote for Piazza Magenta: an enchanting little square in the historic center of Capalbio, from where you can access the ancient walkways of the walls, used by the patrol to defend the city. In the locality of Garavicchio, near Pescia Fiorentina, you can visit the artistic park of the “Giardino dei Tarocchi”, created by Niki de Saint Phalle, well known internationally and the pride of the Maremma.