Tourist portal
of the City of Pitigliano


The tour of the Vie Cave

The naturalistic environment that surrounds Pitigliano, made up of paths, communication routes and refreshing streams, is particularly rich in historical and archaeological emergencies and exciting panoramic views. All this is enclosed in the magical path of the Vie Cave, originating from the Etruscans and increasingly deepened over the centuries until reaching this unusual charm.

The walk towards the vie cave starts from the city Tourist Office in Piazza Garibaldi, then crossing the entire historic center until you reach the ancient Porta di Sovana.

A little further on, we follow the route of the Via Cava Poggio Cani (Via Cava Antica), advancing among the numerous caves and thick vegetation, we reach the SP 46 Pitigliano-Sovana, where, just beyond the bridge over the river Lente, there is a rest area from which the routes depart for Via Cava dell’Annunziata, Via Cava di San Giuseppe, Via Cava di Fratenuti and Via Cava della Madonna delle Grazie.

The Vie Cave are partially intact and almost all passable and can be visited and offer the appropriate choice of walking through them individually. We point out for the more adventurous the possibility of undertaking the Tour delle Vie Cave.

The route, quite demanding, is divided into a single walk with arrival and departure from the rest area described above; the tour, in its complete development of a few kilometers, has a maximum duration of about three hours walk.

The Via Cava dell’Annunziata
Path of medium difficulty with a length of about 200 meters.

The Via Cava dell’Annunziata, not of Etruscan origin, was built in the Middle Ages as an alternative road to the ancient via cava di Turriano, today San Giuseppe. It can be reached after crossing the bridge over the Lente river, on the left of the SP42; at the top of its sinuous path there is the presence of a religious aedicule dedicated to the Madonna and some rock caves that were part of the ancient hermitage.

The rooms, partially obstructed by the pressing vegetation, keep traces of the monastic life which developed in the 16th century. The congregation of the S.S. Sacrament of Pitigliano, which guarded and protected the Via Cava, gave rise to the equinoctial ceremony of March 25, the day dedicated to the Annunziata and to the beginning of the liturgical cycle.

At the end of Via Cava there is an interesting columbarium. Mute witness of a bygone era, it was built in the rock to house the pigeons. The environment is made up of two superimposed rooms that overlook the deep cliff with a regular opening towards the town of Pitigliano; inside, obtained on the walls, we observe small cubic cells arranged parallel to each other

The Via Cava di San Giuseppe
Path of medium difficulty with a length of about 300 meters.

Along the SP42, beyond the bridge over the river Lente, the tour of Via Cava di San Giuseppe begins on the left. Originating from the Etruscan via degli inferi, it made it possible to facilitate the transport of the deceased to the necropolis which extended from the bed of the river up to the tuffaceous terraces created close to the via cava.

In the visit itinerary we can see numerous burial grounds of different architectures: the oldest type is the caisson tomb, consisting of a pit dug into the tuffaceous counter, followed by the simple chamber tomb and the double chamber tombs, dated from VII to VI century BC On the way, we see the various insights carried out over the centuries in the tuff walls, making our view exciting.

Within these captivating scenarios, unique examples of man’s unstoppable strength, it makes the journey magical and exciting, aimed at the discovery of intriguing sensations. At the end of the nineteenth the via cava replaced the name in San Giuseppe also acquiring the religious rite coming from the nearby via Cava dell’Annunziata; witness is the religious aedicule at the top of the via cava was built in the last century by the painter Licia Formiconi.

The walk continues along a diverging path that reaches a fountain named La Fonte dell’Olmo, fed by a spring bubble, where the water gushes from an ancient faunal mask and ends in a large basin.

The Via Cava di Fratenuti
Path of low difficulty with a length of about 300 meters.

Along the road that surrounds the town of Pitigliano, we are kidnapped by a deep and luxuriant valley, which conceals the passage towards the Via Cava di Fratenuti, so called since the last century, for an abandoned rock convent, made active by the minor friars until the fourteenth century.

Originated in the Etruscan era for the funeral processions in honor of the deceased, it was significantly transformed in the Roman era, becoming an indispensable road section connecting the ancient Via Clodia, connecting the Roman villas with the centers of greatest interest. After crossing the ford of the modest Meleta stream on foot, we face the journey inside the Via Cava; this, strongly affected by the frequent centuries-old passage of means of transport and towed animals, made it possible to improve and speed up the stretch of road between the hills and the flat areas. Today the via cava, a destination for many visitors and trekking enthusiasts, looks like a gigantic corridor, even more than twenty meters deep, full of captivating sensations and countless botanical varieties. On its way we can admire the remains of a Roman hypogeum built for the breeding of pigeons, numerous Etruscan burial grounds dating back to the 7th century BC. C. and in the high tuff walls we find engraved some small crosses, particular symbols and some indicative dates: “MDXXXXIV” (1544) and “1617”. At the end of Via Cava, a religious aedicule, devoid of the image of the Virgin Mary, signals the place of her probable appearance to the suffering, welcomed since the mid-14th century in a modest hospital.

The Via Cava Madonna delle Grazie
Path of medium difficulty with a length of about 300 meters.

The Via Cava Madonna delle Grazie takes its name from the Marian Sanctuary located at the top of the route and is particularly demanding due to its altitude difference. The road traced close to some Etruscan burial grounds was built in the eighteenth century as an alternative road to Via Cava di Fratenuti. The route that winds its way in the semi-darkness of the tuffaceous ridge starts at the bottom of the valley after having easily passed a bridge, made characteristic by the presence of an old mill located close to the Meleta stream. Along the way, in addition to the spontaneous flora and the inextricable vegetation, we can admire the characteristic panoramic view of the town of Pitigliano, unique in its kind for its characteristic houses clinging to the tufaceous spur one on top of the other. At the top we reach the “Madonna delle Grazie” sanctuary, originating from the first apparition of the Virgin which took place in 1400, handed down to us by popular stories, indicating the place where to erect her residence. In 1580 a terrible disease developed in Pitigliano with a large number of deaths, many were the prayers directed to the Madonna who eradicated the disease; the grateful population gave life to the rite of the procession, carried out every year on 8 September, the day dedicated to the recurrence of the name of Maria. Since then the Sacred Image of the Blessed Virgin has been venerated, kept in a niche inside the Sanctuary placed for the vision of the many faithful.

La Via Cava del Gradone
Path of medium difficulty with a length of about 300 meters.

The Via Cava del Gradone is located inside the Open Air Archaeological Museum named after Maestro Alberto Manzi (who was mayor of Pitigliano). Taking the Provincial Road 127 del Pantano where a large parking lot for those arriving by car is there to welcome you.

After paying the entrance ticket, a path leads you to the via cava, the mixtilinear path becomes steep and impervious for a short stretch, it is advisable to make sure by holding firmly to the handrail placed on the side of the tuff wall. Going further down you reach the end of the via cava, where among the fruitful trees you can visit the Etruscan necropolis called San Giovanni. Since we are immersed in nature, to leave the visit to the necropolis, we need to go back and go up Via Cava del Gradone up to the entrance.

The Passeggiata del Londini

Si tratta di un sentiero naturalistico che permette ai numerosi visitatori di osservare l’incontaminata freschezze dei torrenti che si gettano nelle profonde forre.

The route can be reached starting from Piazza Garibaldi, where the city tourist office is located, continuing beyond the travertine ashlar arch towards the adjacent Piazza Petruccioli, here we follow the indications along the road that continues out of the town. Along large steps in basaltic stone we walk along the so-called “Pavement” which circumnavigates the town, guiding you up to the entrance to the path towards the Lente river (tributary of the Fiora river).

The path, set on a slope, alternates some sections with stairs and flat sections, surrounded by numerous botanical species that constitute a unicum in the naturalistic landscape. Having reached the plain, on the right, a bridge shows us the way towards the suggestive Londini waterfall. It is one of the most famous enchanting places in Pitigliano, also visible from the top of the parapet of Piazza della Repubblica.

Along the way you can also see an ancient water mill of medieval origins, now abandoned. Going up a path on the other bank of the river, continue the path towards the SP 42 road, where for those who want to, they can take the excursion towards other hollow roads or go back going up the Poggio Cani hollow road.


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