Sovana was initially an Etruscan site of some importance, which was later conquered by the Romans.
The current shape of the old town developed primarily during the Middle Ages, when it was initially under the control of the Aldobrandeschi family. Sovana then came under the rule of a succession of families: the Orsini, the Medici and the Lorena.
Evidence of the Etruscan presence is a necropolis, one of the most interesting in Tuscany. Remarkable examples of the tombs are: the Tomb of the Siren, the Tomb of the Typhon, the Tomb of the Winged Demon, and the Tomb of Hildebrand. The Via Clodia, built by the Romans on an existing path traced by the Etruscans, passes also through Sovana. It reaches Sovana through a door, probably built by the Etruscans, the remains of which are still visible.
The most important religious buildings in Sovana are the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Church of San Mamiliano. The Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, dating back to the tenth century, was built on an existing sixth-century building. The baptismal font in travertine dated 1494 is a little gem. During the summer solstice, at dawn, the faithful gather to celebrate the event with a mass, when a ray of sun rests on
the baptismal font.
Among the civic buildings we recommend the Archive Hall, the Praetorian Palace with the Loggia del Capitano, the Mont Burbon’s Palace, the Bishop’s Palace, and the birthplace of Pope Gregory VII.
Sovana is included in the list of the most beautiful towns of Italy, sponsored by the National Association of Italian Municipalities.