Sorana, that other town
Sometimes, despite the great efforts they make, VT can be frustrating. For instance, Viterbo, a town of 60,000 people, doesn't rate a mention, yet Sovana, population marginally over 100, is in there. The nearby and more populous Sorana, from where Sovana is administered, also doesn't rate a mention so I've decided to give it the "Off the beaten path" space.
As you can clearly see, it was a tad winterish the day I visited but that certainly didn't dampen my enthusiasm as I was all keyed up for my Etruscan experience, and I wasn't disappointed.
The area from here to the coastal Maremma is also one of the better places to view wildlife as it was only the elimination of the malaria-carrying mosquito during the middle of the 20th century that made human habitation more favourable in this area but, to protect such a valuable natural resource, some of it was also made national park in 1975.
Called the Parco Naturale dell'Uccelina, its main object was to prevent more development taking place.
Sorana itself has much wild terrain nearby and its spectacular gorge makes it a much more worth destination than many other more popular destinations in Tuscany.
This extraordinary bit of architecture is known as the Masso Leopoldino and rises above the Palazzo Comitale.
Probably the site of an Etruscan acropolis in ancient times Leopoldo di Lorena chose to place fortifications here in the 18th century.
Its unusual shape is dictated by the block of tufa rock that it sits on.
There are great views from the terrace where the clock is located and should you wish to see them you need to contact the local tourist office or town hall.
Give me a sign
I wasn't expecting this type of stuff till I got to Sovana but soon after I crossed the bridge on the way out of town a sign beckoned me. Was it my quarry? Turned out to be part of the same road system that I was looking for, along with the Etruscan tombs.
To walk this Etruscan road in a snow storm with no one else in sight or sound is an eerie experience, evoking times gone past and thoughts of how and why it was built in this manner.
Here I'm walking up to a hairpin bend on the Via Cava just out of Sorana.
Here and there are ancient tombs cut into the rock, the mortal remains long since disappated into nature.
The highly scenic road leading to Sovana (from Sorana) descends to the Lente Gorge before winding its way up the other side where you will find the Chiesa di San Rocco parking area that will lead you to the Etruscan roads.