Suvereto

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Suvereto Castrum was the original name of this beautiful medieval town in the province of Livorno in Tuscany of which we will immediately give an everlasting image: Suvereto, Italy is close to the sea, the Costa degli Etruschi, famous for the 13th century Suvereto fortress, Suvereto DOCG wine and for the absolute dedication of its inhabitants to evocation and festivals.

Suvereto what to do? It is a typical place where a “history-walker” will have plenty of things to see. It is just 127 meters above sea level, an altitude gain that seems like it is all spanning from the start of the main street, Via Magenta, up of the Suvereto Fortress along Via Piave: a grind, but well worth the effort when you reach the top!

Many of you will arrive in to Suvereto in Val di Cornia from Venturina, or from the sea - from Aurelia, but lucky will be those that arrive in this beautiful place from the low Pisan province along the SR398 by the river Cornia, travelling along this virtually uninhabited area. They may see the odd farm cottage here and there, every now and again the scenery is breathtaking, especially when the vegetation is low and you feel you have no company and you start whispering and something is rustling  in the background… a wild boar, or perhaps a porcupine has crossed your way! After setting off again, vineyards start appearing and then you stop again and remain still amid the silence to wonder where the farmer has ended up.

Once in Suvereto, Tuscany we recommend that you enter the old town by the south door, Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Here, you will be irresistibly drawn to the Church of San Giusto on your left. This Pieve is known since 923 A.D. but the beautiful Romanesque style version you see dates back to 1189 and impresses with a high-low uneven white stone weave, classical columns on the door supporting lion figures, the vault and the lintel with carved stone and the small rose window dominating the top. It is worth going inside, the single-nave Romanesque churches always have their special charm and there is also a baptismal font from the late Middle Ages. Alongside San Giusto, is the Church of San Michele Arcangelo built in 1881 but destined, after the latest modernization in 1999, to house the Suvereto Museum of Sacred Art.

The gate you have now before you dates back to the second half of the 19th century, the medieval one was destroyed at that time along with the imposing structure of houses and buildings above it: this was done to ventilate the village and to circulate the air as this was one of the contemporary methods to disperse diseases (cholera was one of its darkest diseases). When you pass the 19th-century gate, you will also pass the pentagonal walls with its eight towers that constitute the backbone of Suvereto and were built between the 11th and 16th centuries.

In the historic centre you will be amazed by the stone houses: here time seems to be immortal, as it is a medieval village that has remained almost intact. The preservation of Suvereto borgo is mainly due to a hindrance in its history. In fact, between the 16th and the 17th centuries Suvereto suffered an economic decline resulting in the gradual depopulation of the town and no one made architectural or structural changes over the following centuries, in particular there were no works of any kind in the period between the 17th and 18th centuries that saw instead many of these interventions in the rest of Italy.

For this reason Suvereto has kept its ancient look that already after the first stroll brings you to the world of Aldobrandeschi or the Principality of Piombino.

Keeping to the left, between shops and various stalls you arrive at the Church della Madonna di Sopra la Porta: built in 1480, it was expanded in 1772 to thank for a miracle that occurred in 1767 when the lower door of Suvereto opened inexplicably during a terrible flood giving the opportunity to the waters to flow out and save the population. Narrow and long, with its characteristic marble, this beautiful church should be included into the map of your special visit to Suvereto.

Continuing on the left, you can visit what remains of the Convent and the San Francisco cloister in Suvereto built in 1286. The Cloister is lovely and still the location of the most striking Suvereto events. The Convent was crucial in the area and perhaps because of this Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Princess of Lucca and Piombino, during the repression of the Napoleonic period closed it down and destined it for other purposes. Today, the rooms of the convent are private homes and the church is a home-holiday although the remains of its beauty and the signs of its original purpose can still be seen.

Return to via Magenta where it crosses Via Piave and walk to the top of it…it is perhaps the most beautiful part of the small village of Suvereto. Suvereto is a TCI orange flag and member of the Club of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy! Once in the Rocca Aldobrandesca you will arrive at the Suvereto Town Hall, one of the most beautiful medieval buildings in Maremma, highly representative of the 13th century architectural examples and the importance of Suvereto, which became free and able to administer itself the very year of the start of the construction of this building.

Climbing further you reach a really impressive place: particularly fascinating in the evening, when the lights give it an immortality not at all apparent, the Rock of Suvereto reflects the very history of the ancient town. Built with a first quadrangular tower in 1164 by Aldobrandi, a benchmark Lombard family in the history of this wide range of Tuscany, it has undergone various transformations over time depending on the changing needs of the defensive zone. In 1308 more extension work began, which also added to the Rocca a small trapezoidal wall enclosure with access doors and so it went growing until 1600 when its military purpose went extinct and it was abandoned. In time also it became a private house and its wooden ceilings and its inlaid entrances were used for housing. In the 80s, the municipality of Suvereto purchased it, had it restored and returned it to all its beauty.

At this point, we suggest you walk around  all the lanes and cobbled streets of Suvereto and bring home unforgettable images of its small gardens and the entry steps of the old houses, as well as visit the 'Museo Artistico delle Bambole' in Suvereto, a collection of high quality 19th and 20th century dolls. The artistic doll museum in Suvereto is derived by major artists and manufacturers of various eras.

Another location amongst the Suvereto things to see and that should not to be missed is the Suvereto Belvedere Castle  standing at 280metres above sea level. It was built by Jacop IV Appiano from 1573 to curtail the depopulation of the area: In fact, new residents came from Emilia, but the small town of Suvereto was mainly used by noble families to escape from the unhealthy and malarial air of the 'capital' city. Visiting Belvedere today is an excellent idea, it is a 4 km drive north of Suvereto historic centre or if you prefer you can even walk there!

Montioni is a suburb of Suvereto but it is also the resort of the Interprovincial Montioni Naural Park boasting 6,500 hectares of protected nature. Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi is credited with having given a big boost to the economy of the area: in this corner of Suvereto she implemented several projects such as the opening of the nearby iron mines, the creation of the Baciocca spa complex and the cultivation of vineyards and olive trees.

If you are in the direction Monterotondo, you will find one of the main sources of water supplies of Suberetum, the Fountain of Angels. Restored in 1582 by Jacopo VI of Appiano, Prince of Piombino, the spring is often a destination for visits by tourists. Suvureto in Toscana is in the Val di Cornia and therefore a great starting point for excursions and events.

Let’s begins with the Carnival in the Village, during which parades of floats and masks in the streets of the beribboned and colourful centre are organised.

Beware of the Palio delle Botti, a truly national Suvereto event also known as 'Race of the Barrels'. Easy to guess what it is: each team of 'pushers' place their 500 kg barrel on its side and pushes it through the cobbled streets of the historic centre with the aim to overcome the others and cross the finish line first.

The challenge is modern, but the spirit is ancient. The race takes place twice a year: the first, in May on the occasion of the Patron Saint, is called Palio di S. Croce. The second, in August is called Palio of the Emperor. The winners will participate in the National Palio of the Barrels, which takes place in the autumn by the City of Wine Association, which Suvereto is a member of, in one of the associated locations.

Suvereto wine must be tasted: its production is marked DOCG Suvereto: varieties include: Suvereto (Suvereto Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot alone or together, up to 100%), Suvereto Sangiovese (Sangiovese minimum 85%), Merlot Suvereto (merlot minimum 85%) and Suvereto Cabernet Sauvignon (Cabernet Sauvignon minimum 85%). The same varieties are also included in the IGT specifications. For high-quality wine you should not miss the taste of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine is also centre of attention in the month of August with the event ‘Calici di Stelle’  when the streets of the town become a gastronomic journey with hundreds of stalls, tastings of Suvereto wine and local specialties, concerts and theatre performances to entertain the thousands of people that every year do not want to miss this appointment with Suvereto wine. The event is repeated with milder temperatures, but with the same reasons, even in December with ‘Calici di Silvestro’.

'Suberetum - Reditus in the Middle Ages' is instead the name of the event that takes place in July and takes this village back a thousand years. An idea that was launched in the early nineties that has gradually become more precious. It is a series of medieval evenings with knights, musicians, swordsmen, jugglers, falconers, fire eaters, games and much more. There is a dinner with a medieval menu in the historic centre and especially, in the splendid setting of the San Francisco Cloister of Suvereto. We advise you to book your place well in advance as it is a truly unique and suggestive experience.

Other Suvereto events include the Wild Boar Festival, (Suvereto Sagra del Cinghiale) dating back to 1968 and held every year between November and December and starring the famous Maremma animal cooked in many different ways. The Suvereto Sagra del Cinghiale party is always enhanced by music festivals of great value, with costumes and elements of art and beauty.

It is time to talk about Suvureto oil. Suvereto is in fact a member of the Cities of Oil Association and its production is pure superfine. The event that focuses on this product takes place in November along the streets of the village and is called 'Not only oil': parties and tastings but also conferences for the many workers in the industry.

Bear in mind that there is also the Summer in Suvureto which consists of a full program of concerts and performances between June and September. If you can, do not miss at least one of the Suvereto events at the San Francisco Cloister of Suvereto, evening meetings with top writers, journalists and Italian actors taking place in the months of July and August.