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Photo ©Filippo Brancoli
A walk through the Vie Cave, from Pitigliano to Sovana
Discovering the tuff civilizations

In the area around Pitigliano, a strong bond has existed between man and stone for thousands of years. Towns built on high plains of tuff, delicately placed on cliff sides overlooking the surrounding valleys, long underground paths carved into the rocks, hundreds of caves and burial sites. This is the scene that awaits visitors.

Two events shaped the unmistakable appearance of this territory. The first is connected to the volcanic activity in the area on the border between Tuscany and Lazio around 600,000 years ago: the eruptions formed the tuff rocks that characterize this place.

This particular area was also home to a second event with far-reaching effects, that is, the foundation around the 10th-9th centuries BCE, toward the end of the Bronze Age, of the Etruscan civilization, one of the most complex and mysterious ancient cultures.

It was the Etruscans who established the strict bond with this land, building their houses atop of the tuff cliffs. Within the tender heart of the lava rock, they dug out cities for the dead, necropolises that would mark their legacy for centuries, eternal places of memory and mystery. Just as mysterious are their “vie cave,” gigantic gashes cut through the tuff, some 20 or more metres deep, and whose original purpose remains unknown even today.

directions_walk 10.2 km
Duration: 4 hours
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trip_origin Etruscans
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