Take a jumper, regardless of the time of year you visit:
even in August the vie Cave (hollow ways) work as a giant natural fridge.
For this reason walking through these giant impressive tunnels through
the tuffaceous rocks, you can come across insects and plants that are
completely anomalous for Maremma latitude and temperatures.
The atmosphere slides silent and mysterious inside these tunnels up
to twenty meters deep, where the sun almost never reaches and where
silence is so deafening that you might often find yourself turning round
suddenly, convinced you heard something but finding nothing except for
the fascinating and unfathomable mystery of the past. This is the mystery
that will always and inevitably accompany the people of the Etruscans.
They were the ones to inhabit these lands, in the deepest Maremma, almost
in Lazio, and they are possibly more mysterious than the others. In
this triangle out of time, surrounded by the juicy medieval centre of
Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana, an enormous spider web of underground
tunnels, some recently brought to the light, some still hidden, probably
forever, in the entrails of the earth. The Hollow ways were built and
excavated among the rocks by the ancient Etruscans to be able to move
from one centre to the other. To avoid long and tortuous trails but
also for defence and not to be seen by the invaders.
A long these Hollow ways there are also rests of possible
villages and ancient necropolises, so much so that the most romantic
and legendary hypothesis sees these underground passages as sacred roads
that connected the dwellings of the living with those of the dead, in
connection with the legend of the God Tages, who suddenly appeared from
the furrow cut by a farmers plough.
To visit the Hollow Ways you just need to choose, you can go along the
Provinciale 22, 11 kilometres from Sorano you will find the most famous
and simplest to take: Cavone, winding in the depth of the tuffaceous
rock showing unequivocal signs of the past (If you see a swastika marked
they are not war remains, but, once more, an effigy left centuries ago
by the scalpel of an Etruscan). Following the Provinciale 22 further
you can encounter some other Vie Cave, such as the San Rocco and San
Sebastiano ones, by many considered the most impressive.
Next to the Cavone you will not miss the Ildebranda Tomb. Dating bakc
to the III-II century BC it has no connection, of course, with the great
Pontiff Gregorio VII (whose birth name was Ildebrando da Sovana). However,
as they knew nothing of the figure who had this imposing and «bizarre»
grave, discoverers decided to dedicate its name to Sovanas most
illustrious citizen. The grave is made up of two well-distinct parts:
the Sepulchral Room and the Funerary Monument, both entirely excavated
in the tuffaceous walls, although some of its architectonic elements
Only through some decorative fragments found during the excavations,
and with confronting to the front of the temple of Talomone, experts
were able to return to a fairly realistic reconstruction of the work,
constructed following the example of a Greek temple. The whole of the
monument was covered by polychrome stuccoes following the decorative
art of the Etruscans, who loved glaring colours. Visits to the Ildebranda
Tomb cost 1.5 euro, but the cooperative managing it is the same that
manages the entrances to the various Caves, and offers different prices
and possibilities according to time spent and quantity of historical
and natural beauties you mean to visit.