Tuscany is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Known for its enchanting landscapes, its fantastic and genuine food and beautiful towns as Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Siena.
Podere Santa Pia is an enchanting Tuscan farmhouse, nestled in the vineyards and olive groves of the rolling Maremma hills. This privileged location offers a spectacular vista over the charming medieval town of Cinigiano and the entire Ombrone Valley. It is the perfect place for your relaxing holiday with your friends and family. The property consists of 4 large bedrooms furnished in a classic Tuscan style and 2 bathroom with shower, a big full-equipment kitchen with a fireplace and a big living room and dining room. With its original kitchen and the wood burning pizza oven, Podere Santa Pia offers an upbeat atmosphere. The farmhouse has been renovated and provided with all modern comforts (satellite TV, Wi-Fi Internet access, washing machine, dishwasher, and so on), with an eye to preserve the typical and charming elements of these rural lodgings. There you have, then, cosy and warm rooms with traditional terracotta-tiled floors, stone walls and wood-beamed ceilings. And the kitchen, furnished for pleasant meals with traditional Tuscan dishes (bread soup or "ribollita", tomato soup, "fettunta", Florentine-style steak, stewed wild boar, cinta senese cured meat, and other Tuscan specialities).
The impressive garden (9000 square mt.) allows you to enjoy a relaxing holiday and is perfect for taking time out and lounging about while sipping on a glass of local wines, Montecucco DOC and Brunello DOC.
Sitting in the garden, one can enjoy our dawns and dusks, with their jubilee of colours ranging from dark yellow to pink, orange and red. In this scenario, it is often possible to observe the flight of pheasants, falcons and buzzards, great tits, chaffinches and sparrows.
This is an enchanting place far from noise, ideal to regenerate body and mind, where one has the opportunity enjoy pleasant walks or rides on mountain bike. The summer breeze that caresses Podere Santa Pia guarantees "cool" holidays even in the hottest weather.
Tuscan farmhouses | Podere Santa Pia
The Tuff Area is named after tufo, a volcanic, porous rock commonly used as a building material. The tuff has been carved over the centuries to build houses, cellars, tombs or used to make "tufi", big square bricks which are typical of the villages and towns of this area of the hills of the Maremma.
The major centres of this area, which has still not experienced mass tourism, are Pitigliano, Sorano and Manciano. The perfectly preserved necropolises in Sovana and Poggio al Buco, the vie cave (amazing roads carved in tuff that pass through the woods), and medieval villages like Magliano in Toscana contribute to make this area one of the most beautiful in Tuscany. It also boasts naturalistic treasures such as the hot springs and spas of Saturnia, and the hills of the river Fiora, which supplies water to the vast majority of the Maremman villages and towns.
There are many historical buildings of great artistic and achitectural value, such as the Cassero Senese in Manciano, the Orsini Fortress in Sorano and the one in Pitigliano, the Aldobrandeschi castle and the Cathedral in Sovana, home city of Pope Gregory VII (1073). Another remarkable building is the Synagogue of Pitigliano from the 16th century: it has been recently restored and it stands as a reminder of the strong ties between the Maremma and the Jewish people.
Constructed on a spur of tufa below the imposing Orisini castle, Pitigliano appears to the visitor like a scene from a fable, rising on a rocky cliff of savage beauty surrounded by deep valleys. The houses are constructed at the top of sheer tufa cliffs that make the construction of defensive walls superfluous. There are characteristic grottos and Etruscan tombs excavated from the high tufa walls, some of which are used today as cellars for the preservation of wine.
Entering the city on foot, you immediately find yourself before the Fortezza Orsini, which has preserved its original 16th-century appearance. Inside, you will find the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, which we recommend visiting because it will allow you to see the sumptuous interiors of the palazzo. Also of interest are the 18th century Cathedral and Church of Santa Maria, but Pitigliano's magic is best savored by walking along the old streets and, especially, visiting the famous Jewish Quarter. Since the 16th century, Pitigliano has been the home of a thriving Jewish community; today, you can visit the Synagogue, cemetery, library and the oven where unleavened bread was baked. The Synagogue dates from 1598 and was renovated in the middle of the 18th century. A renovation in 1995 rediscovered its ancient classic expression. The ritual Torciata di San Giuseppe takes place in Pitigliano every 19 March.
Like much of the Maremma, Montemerano was shaped by the powerful Aldobrandeschi, who are responsible for the town we see today. The Chiesa di San Giorgio epitomises the incredible, but concealed beauty of Montemerano.
Built in 1400, the Chiesa della Madonna del Cavalluzzo sits just outside of Montemerano and boasts charming views of the countryside, looking out onto Monte Amiata and surrounded by gentle hills and wide valleys. Inside a single room is adorned with an 18th century altar, which is framed by a fresco depicting the Madonna and Child with two angels kneeling and San Rocco. San Rocco, as well as being the patron saint against the plague, is also an important saint to the Montemeranese and is celebrated in this chapel on August 16.
Beside the altar, are fragments of a frescoes of San Biagio vescovo, recognisable by his distinctive iron comb.
Historically, Manciano’s rich heritage began in the Middle Ages under the control of the noble Aldobrandeschi family, before passing to the Orsini Counts, rulers of nearby Pitigliano.
Like all of Maremma’s cities, Manciano continued to change hands, going from the Orsini Counts to the Republic of Siena, then to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and then to the famed Florentines- the Medici.
The city walls of Manciano. Enveloping the oldest part of the town in their stone embrace, the city walls or Cinta Muraria have been carefully conserved over the centuries and are crowned by four impressive watch towers.
A splendour of the Renaissance, the Chiesa della Santissima Annuziata is simple but striking. Inside you will find paintings by master painter and local icon Paride Pascucci.
Scansano has a long history, built, according to the most historians, in the 13th century as another of the Aldobrandeschi‘s strongholds. From afar, the town sort of looks like it’s tumbling down the hill it sits on. The old, slanted houses in the town centre are painted striking colours, some yellow, some a faded orange and some a startling salmon pink and they all fit together to give Scansano a rugged and rustic but all the same charming atmosphere. Scansano is known worldwide not as a town but as a type of wine, more preciously known as the Morellino di Scansano. It is celebrated as one of Italy’s premier wines and was even mentioned in Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.
Morellino di Scansano: As a wine, the Morellino di Scansano is made from 85% Sangiovese grapes, that are allowed to fully ripen with high sugar levels for a rich fruity flavour and solid structure. It’s reasonably priced, isn’t strong and has notes of black cherry and berries. It achieved DOC status in 1978 and was upgraded to DOCG in 1997.
Not technically in Scansano but in nearby Poggioferro, this Franciscan convent is famous because many believe San Bernardino preached here on a stone pulpit in 1422. The convent itself was built in the 13th century but has undergone so many renovations that its church and adjacent monastry adhere more to 18th and 19th century stylistic elements. The convent is now private property but the church is still part of the parish and can be visited.
The Castle of Montepò, built by the noble Roberto Sergardi from Siena in the first half of the 14th century is 7 Km from Scansano.
Montepò is a strengthened farm, or castle – enclosure, which during the years has been object of extensions that have given it the present rectangular plant provided with 4 towers, one for each corner.
The access to the wide inner courtyard is situated on the south-west side and it was protected, in the past centuries, by the dominating "caditoia a camino" and by two "balestriere" (two loop–holes for shooting arrows with the crossbows) that are situated on the two towers on the sides of the entry.
The Castle of Montepò, recently restored, is a private property.
The small ancient town of Sovana ideally preserves its ancient architectonical features. It is a little more than a quiet long street flanked by medieval mansions, which runs from the imposing Rocca Aldobrandesca (a fortress from the 12th century) and the remains of the Etruscan walls, passing by the wide and charming Piazza Pretorio -where stands the beautiful Romanesque Church of Santa Maria Maggiore (14th century), which houses an exclusive white marble canopy from the 9th century, covering the High Altar, and several fine 15th frescoes - to the western- end of the village where is located the superb Romanesque Cathedral of Santi Pietro e Paolo, rebuilt in the 12th century on the ruins of a former 7th century church.
The Duomo. Dedicated to St. Peter and Paul, its construction dates back to the year 1000, on ruins of an even older sacred building. The church is breathtaking with a stunning example of Romanesque art and is home to precious painting, a crypt which holds the remains of St. Mamiliamo, a baptismal font and a beautifully made stoup.
The Church of St. Mamiliano: built in the first part of the Middle Ages on a pre-existing building of Etruscan origins, the church represents one of the most precious religious locations in the town. During some reconstructive work archeologists found 500 currency notes which were made back in the 5th century A.D.
Church of St. Maria Maggiore: built during the 13th century, the building has a Romanesque-gothic style and inside there is a pre-Romanesque tabernacle and some splendid frescoes.
In spite of its minute dimension, Sovana is considered one of the most singular and fascinating spots in southern Tuscany.
The village, former an important Etruscan settlement, became a municipium when the Romans conquered it.
In the 5th century the tiny town turns into a Bishopric. In the 10th century was designated seat of the county ruled until the end of the 13th by the Lords of Soana, a branch of the Aldobrandeschi family. Ildebrando di Soana was born there around 1020. He became Pope in April 1073 with the name of Gregory VII, being one of the most cultured and reforming popes of the Middle Ages Church. He died in Salerno (Campania), on May 25th, 1085, being buried in its Cathedral. Pope Gregory VII was canonized in 1606.
In 1293 Sovana passed into the power of the Count Romano di Gentile Orsini. That ancient Roman dynasty administrated the county until 1410, when it was occupied by the Republic of Siena. In 1608 Sovana was integrated in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
The main sites in the area of the Archaeology Park of the “Città del Tufo” are the Necropoli of Sovana, the Rupestrian Settlement of Vitozza, the Rupestrian Complex of San Rocco and the Orsini Castle Museum.
The village is constructed from dark tufa and is one piece with the rock on which it rises, dominated by a high fortress that time has made to resemble a natural peak. Of Etruscan, and later Roman, origin, it was a possession of the Aldobrandeschi and then, from 1312 on, of the Orsini, who gave it its current appearance and build the walls and mighty fortress that made it one of the strongest defenses of the Earldom of Pitigliano.
The best thing is to walk along its narrow lanes observing the structure of the houses until you come to the Fortezza Orsini an impregnable fortification that, by following its underground walkways, also provides an understanding of many aspects of renaissance military life. In town, you can also visit the Church of San Nicola and "il Cortilone," a huge granary built by the Orsini in 1554.
There is a lovely excursion from Sorano to Vitozza, in the hamlet of San Quirico, one of the largest rock settlements in central Italy, with over 200 grottoes that were inhabited from prehistory until the Middle Ages. Along the path that runs along the site, you can see the remains of three fortresses, the Church of Sant'Angelo and an important Roman "columbarium," all in an uncontaminated environment.
From Sorano to Vitozza | Download pdf
Sorano and the rock settlement of Vitozza | The necropolis of San Rocco | Download pdf
From Pitigliano to Sovana along the vie cave | Download pdf