Sovana is reborn
For a long period of time, the splendid, medieval Sovana – one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, in the province of Grosseto – was “an ancient and once flourishing city, but now nothing but a pile of ruins and rubble that signal dumbfounded passersby where it used to be.”
The definition, taken from a mid-1800s “chorographic dictionary”, leads to a merciless description: “Its solid walls, fortifications, and doors are a pile of ruins; its wide and beautiful streets deserted; most of its buildings have crumbled. In the filthy and unsafe houses that are still standing, unhappy families of highlanders seek refuge from extreme poverty.”
The town’s long decline started around the 16th century with an outbreak of the plague that lasted until the 1900s. It brought the important Etruscan village to its knees, making the Roman town hall and Aldobrandeschi castle mere vestiges of what had been a county capital, and the place of birth of Pope Gregory VII…
In the 1900s, Sovana was reborn. And today it lives to tell visitors the story of its ancient splendor.