The Vie Cave are an Italian historical and cultural heritage that comes from very far away. Their creation can be traced back to the Etruscans of the sixth century BC, but it is what they have become today, with their natural beauty and evocative landscapes, that made them one of the most visited Etruscan wonders of the Maremma. Let’s discover together their history!
The Vie Cave and the Etruscans
The Vie Cave are one of the most ancient Etruscan open-air routes. Located in Maremma, precisely in the territories of the municipalities of Pitigliano, Sovana and Sorano, better known as the villages of tuff. They are formed by impressive corridors of different sizes carved into the tuff. They host a very special microclimate composed of a diversity of vegetation and humid environments that have generated moss, ivy and lianas.
Up to 25 meters high and up to a kilometer long, they can be traveled on foot or on horseback. They are one of the most picturesque trekking destinations in Tuscany. The origins and function of the Vie Cave have been the subject of much speculation, with theories ranging from attributing them a ceremonial function, to considering them communication routes or channels to move rainwater. Still today, the function of the Vie remains a mystery in which it is possible to appreciate pieces of history such as Etruscan tombs and engravings and the “scacciadiavoli”, sacred images dating back to the medieval period.
The Vie Cave of Pitigliano
The longest of all, the Via de Fratenuti, with more than a kilometer and a half, is located in the portion of Vie Cave in the territory of Pitigliano, one of the tuff villages. Other outstanding Vie Cave in this region are the Via Cava del Gradone, the Via Cava di San Lorenzo and the Via Cava Madonna delle Grazie.
The Vie Cave of Sovana
The widest Via Cava, called “Il Cavone” and up to four meters wide, is located in Sovana. It is still used by the inhabitants of the town to reach the surrounding fields. It is adjacent to the Necropolis of Sovana and the Ildebranda Tomb. Near “Il Cavone” is the deepest Via Cava of all, the Via Cava di San Sebastiano, 25 meters high.
The Vie Cave of Sorano
Until the 1930s, the Via Cava di San Rocco, in Sorano, was the only connecting road to Sovana. It is considered one of the most suggestive ways for its vegetation rich in mosses and ferns. In Sorano it is also possible to visit the Via Cava di San Carlo and the Via Cava di Laterini.