Route: Pitigliano to Sovana

Area: Italy, Tuscany

Date of walk: 7th October 2019

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 6.0 miles

Ascent: 700 feet

Weather: Sunshine and blue skies

We decided to venture south for today’s walk, having read about the improbable town of Pitigliano which is in the Grosseto region of Tuscany. Our first sight of the town was memorable – it is perched on the top of a vertical cliff of volcanic tuff, and appears to have been carved out of it. Pitigliano has a rich and ancient history dating back to Etruscan times, and is worth a visit in its own right

Having wandered around the town and its old Jewish quarter we set off on our linear journey to Sovana, having previously checked that we’d be able to catch the local bus back to the start

A short distance after leaving the town we joined the famous Vie Cave, the “sunken roads” carved out by the Etruscans during the Bronze age. They are on the world heritage watch list of endangered monuments because of their fragility, as the rock is soft and easily eroded. The purpose of these roads, some of which are cut into the rock to a depth of 20 metres or more, is still unknown

Our route took us along the Via Cava Poggio Cani and, a little later on, the Via Cava San Giuseppe. It felt as though we were walking in another world. Eventually we emerged into the real world and followed a country lane with good views back over Pitigliano. After leaving the lane and following the course of an ancient rock road we descended into woodland via another fascinating and atmospheric via cava

We then joined the road and followed it for a short distance to our destination, the small and very attractive village of Sovana, which has a single main street. We sauntered around here for a while, enjoyed refreshments at a local restaurant, and then caught the bus back to the start. It had been a fascinating walk steeped in history

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