Suvereto (Tuscany, Center)
Photo by Municipality
“So called perhaps by virtue the cork forests that once covered its hills, an ancient town which is still partly surrounded by walls, overlooking the plains of the Cornia river and the sea,” as the guides state. The attentive visitor will linger before the Byzantine-Romanesque church of San Giusto, take in the view from the narrow alleys of the thirteenth-century town hall, then enter the beautiful cloister of San Francisco and finally reach the hill of the Fortress, fortified by Pisa in the fourteenth century. Suvereto is an appropriate refuge in the hills of the Maremma, far from the Tyrrhenian coast, to escape the raids of Saracen pirates. In the tenth century it was already equipped with a castle and nominated as the seat of a bishop. The Counts of Aldobrandeschi fortified the town in the twelfth century. It was from that moment that its layout stretched on two heights, including a stone bulwark was established. From the gates, the inner roads rise in concentric arcs toward the fortress, and a maze of alleys and stairs cut a more direct route up the slope. The Imperial Charta libertatis granting the “homines” of Suvereto in 1201 consecrated the town’s affirmation and a certain degree of autonomy.
Everywhere in the Maremma, life was hard. Wealth and poverty alternated like day and night. On the one hand the war for land, houses and castles; on the other epidemics, especially malaria, to scare away the people and desert the countryside. Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Suvereto had been almost entirely abandoned and it was only after land reclamation by the House of Lorraine, begun in 1815, that hope and wellbeing returned. Today Suvereto, almost by way of a record, is one of the most assiduous participants in local quality brands. So not only that of the Orange Flag, but also Slow City, City of Wine, Oil City, etc.. The turreted City Hall boasts of all these virtues and the loggia of the judges, above the entrance stairs, no longer issues punitive sentences but benign invitations to exciting events and the pleasure of taste.
What not to miss
The church of St. Just sits quietly outside the walls. It has a simple gabled façade and the portal is flanked by columns with two lion heads. It is said that the gaze of one of the two animals indicates the location of a fabulous buried treasure. The lion also features on the city’s coat of arms, together with an oak tree and a mountain. Of the convent of S. Francesco you can admire the beautiful cloister, marked by rounded arches. The church of the Crucified One, with its wood-work, attributed to Domenico dei Cori (1420). The eighteenth-century church of S. Maria sopra la Porta is linked to a miraculous event: in 1767, during a flood, the intervention of the Virgin Mary caused one of the gates in the walls to open and allow the water to flow out.
The nearby Montioni estate, part of a national park is open to visitors. It was the residence of Elisa Bonaparte from 1805 and where new crops, such as “bordeaux” were tried and a sort of ideal community settled there. You can visit the old alum mines, buildings, the source of the Boldrona and other monuments related to the figure of Napoleon’s sister.
Fairs and markets of age-old tradition are revived in the seasonal calendar of Suvereto, along with cultural and gastronomic events. FestUnta is dedicated to olive oil, Calici di Stelle (Goblets of Stars) is reserved for wines and the celebration of the starry night of S. Lorenzo, Extempore convenes young artists from the Academies of Fine Arts for spontaneous performances in the old town. The Arianna Project for tourist signs of value, enabled the municipality of Suvereto to aspire to an Italian Touring Club Orange Flag. One recommendation could be made: a bit more mercy, the local “feste” are a never-ending celebration of the poor old wild boar .
Why it received the “Orange flag”, seal of tourism and environmental quality
The town is distinguished by its uniform old town, which boasts numerous traditional food restaurants, shops selling local products and tourist accommodation. In addition, the dedicated, centrally located information point and good external information boards offer a tour of quality to the visitor.