ARCIDOSSO | TUSCANY REGION
Arcidosso is one of the more striking Monte Amiata villages, in the Grossetto Province. Imposing and characteristic on all sides, the ancient town has at its centre the Rocca Aldobrandesca, besieged in 1331 by the Siennese commanded by Guidoriccio da Fogliano and passed in 1559 to the Medici. At the entrance of the town a stop at the imposing monument to the Dead at Work is worth a visit. To the right of the stairway that goes up to it, a tombstone indicates the place where David Lazzaretti was killed in 1878, the Prophet of the Amiata.
Before entering the ancient village, you should stop at the church of the Madonna delle Grazie (or dell’Incoronata), one of the most worshipped sanctuaries in the Amiata. There are many noteworthy works of art, all of the Siennese school, among which the Virgin in Glory between St. Sebastian and St. Rocco by Ventura Salimbeni stands out, and a Madonna with Child from the early 15th centurycoming from the Palazzo della Capitaneria and today on the main altar.
Outside of Porta Talesse is the small and interesting church of St. Andrew, of 1118. On the road that leads to the ancient town is a curious neo-gothic fountain in cast iron, made in Follonica in the Grand Duchy’s Foundries. A few more steps and we arrive at the base of the stronghold that faces a silent piazza. Going back through the gate we follow the road we just left and go through the neo-gothic gate that opens onto the village and we reach the old roads of the town.
Here we find the medieval church of St. Nicholas. A slope downhill brings us to the Codaccio district and the church of St. Leonard, mentioned as early as 1118, and then re-organised several times in the 16th century. The interior, damaged during the Second World War, conserves a series of important paintings among which the Decollation of St. John the Baptist (1588-1589) by Francesco Vanni. From the road for Montelaterone, a downhill slope between splendid chestnut trees brings us to the Parish of St. Mary at Làmulas, built in 1268 on a much older site, but heavily renovated at the end of the 19th century.
CASTEL DEL PIANO | TUSCANY REGION
Castel del Piano is a striking village on the slopes of the Mount Amiata in the Grossetto Province. Pope Pio II, in his Commentaries, underlined “the beauty of the place, the convenience of its position and the amenity of the town”, qualities appreciated by the numerous tourists that choose it for their holidays. The town is mentioned even in 890 as a possession of the Abbey, property of which it remained for more than three centuries.
The township was passed to the Aldobrandeschi, and in 1332 to Siena, finally in 1559, with the entire Siennese territory, toMedici Florence. Castel del Pianois patrimony of the Nasini family, artists active between the mid-17th century and the mid-18th century, authors of works conserved in all of the corners of the Amiata.
The Church of the Opera (or Proposal of St. Nicholas and St. Lucy) in Baroque style, but completed only in 1870, faces onto the Piazza della Madonna. The interior, Latin cross style with ten chapels, is an authentic Nasini museum: there is the Nativity of Mary and the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine of Alessandria, both by Giuseppe Nicola. The wooden crucifix and the holy water stoup from the 16th century are also beautiful. Next to the former is the church of the Madonna delle Grazie, also rich with tapestries, next to the Town Hall. Going up towards the village you pass the Clock Tower in the Piazzetta degli Ortaggi with a beautiful Gallery of 16th century form, then to the Parish of St. Leonard.
At the end of the centre is the Piccina Church, of the Santissimo Sacramento. The large Piazza Garibaldi has at its centre an interesting fountain, but it is especially dear to the locals because the Palio is held there every September. It is better known as the Round Piazza (or “of the Twists”).In the surrounding area the Benedictine churches of St. Lucy and St. Biagio are worth a visit, they could be the destination of a pleasant walk in the direction of the Amiata, as are the church of St. Flora in Noceto and the ruins of the Franciscan convent of St. Processo.
Recent restoration has given life back to the beautiful Palazzo Nerucci, built from 1554, that then became the Agricultural Culture Centre of the area, equipped with specialised library, with exhibition area and a didactic laboratory.
CASTELL’AZZARA | TUSCANY REGION
Castell’Azzara is located at the bottom of Monte Civitella and its forest, in the Grossetto Province. The area was first settled in around 1000 BC by the Umbri, and then by the Etruscans of Sovana, who came here to extract vermillion. The two forts that defend Monte Civitella were built under the rule of the Aldobrandesca family. The first document attesting to the town is dated 1216, when it was divided into four sections.
In the historic town centre, known for its steep and curvy streets, the San Nicola church is worth a visit. It conserves a 16th-century canvas by an exponent of the Sienese school, and the oratory of the Madonna del Rosario, with many 16th- and 17th-century paintings.
Near the Poggio delle Froche, you can find the Grotta del Sassocolato (or called ‘di Bacheca’), used in the past as a sheepfold and a place of important speleological explorations. The grotto was closed in 1995 to save an important colony of chiropteran. Today, it can be visited in the summer months only with an official from the Gruppo Speleologico "L'Orso"of Castell'Azzara.
From the ruins of the Rocca Silvana, there are beautiful panoramic views of the modern residential area of Silvana, various abandoned mines, and thick Mediterranean scrubland that embrace the mountainside. In the area surrounding Castell’Azzara, there is the Sforzesco, a country villa built in 1580 by Cardinal Alessandro Sforza. The building, recently restructured, still conserves the original portals, coat of arms, frescoes and fortifications. It stands on the nearby borders of Siena, Grosseto and Viterbo, and is surrounded by the characteristic Crete Sienese.
CINIGIANO | TUSCANY REGION
Cinigiano is a charming agricultural town on one of the sloping hills descending from Monte Amiata. This fortunate geographical position provides the best of the Maremma’s inland hilly landscape, in the Grossetto Province.
Originally a fief of the Aldobrandeschi family, it was dominated by Siena in 1381 and then by the Battifolle Counts. The Clock Tower, restored in the middle of the 19th century, and the remains of a medieval fortress are all that remain of the old town.
The produce ranges from grain to grapes, from olives to chestnuts. The zone is renowned for its forests, natural pastures, vast agricultural areas, chestnut groves—all of this among a mix of Mediterranean scrub, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees that stretch from the mountain to the bed of the Ombrone river.
The Nature Reserve Poggio all’ Olmo provides a chance for enjoyable outings within the area. There are other characteristic towns nearby that are worth a visit: Porrona with its castle, parish church and intact noble villas; Monticello Amiato with its medieval structures and museum of local traditions; Sasso d’Ombrone, whose original name is Sasso di Maremma and from which the bridge over the Ombrone river gets its name; Colle Massari, notable for both its architecture and landscape; and the Aldobrandeschi fortresses called Castiglioncello Bandini, Vicarello, Poggio del Sasso and Santa Rita.
GROSSETO | GROSSETO PROVINCE
Grosseto lies on the Tuscan coast of the area known as the Maremma. Although the name Maremma is most commonly associated with the vast, formerly marshy, coastal area made fit for habitation only during the past couple of hundred years, the Maremma is in fact a large and diverse area covering parts of southwestern Tuscany and some of northern Latium. The Alta Maremma is the northern part, from Grosseto northwards to Cecina River just south of Livorno. The inland areas are high above the coastal plains and provide spectacular views from the hill top towns located there. The Alta Maremma is thickly wooded towards Siena (for example around Pari and Torniella) and somewhat rockier towards Roccatederighi where the steep descent to the coastal plains begins.
Grosseto itself is a relatively recent city that developed during the mediaeval period on a site where Etruscan boats used to pass through the marshes. It provided accommodation for the workers in the salt pans and developed slowly until eventually it was fortified by the Medici. It is the agricultural capital of the Maremma and is known for its sun-ripened tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, spinach, olives and wild boar.
HISTORY OF GROSSETO
Grosseto was one of the principal Etruscan cities, situated at the mouth of the Ombrone river, in the once unhealthy Maremma country. It was first mentioned in 803 as a fief of the Counts Aldobrandeschi. It grew in importance over the years with the decline of the Etruscan cities of Rusellæ and Vetulonia. The ruins of Rusellæ are about five miles from Grosseto, with cyclopean walls four miles in circumference and sulphur baths that were restored in the 19 C for medicinal purposes. Rusellæ also once had an amphitheatre and it was an episcopal See from the 5 C. St. Gregory the Great commended the inhabitants of Vetulonia to the spiritual care of Balbinus, Bishop of Rusellæ. In 1137, Grosseto was besieged by Henry of Bavaria, envoy to Lothair III, and in 1138 Innocent II transferred the See to Grosseto, and Rolando, Bishop of Rusellæ, became the Bishop of Grosseto. In 1224, the Siennese captured Grosseto and were legally invested with it by the imperial vicar and thus the fortunes of Grosseto parallelled those of Sienna. It became an important stronghold, and the fortress (rocca), the walls and bastions can still be seen. In 1266 and again in 1355, Grosseto attempted to liberate itself from Sienna but without success. Among the successors of Rolando were Fra Bartolommeo da Amelia (1278), employed by the popes on many legations, Angelo Pattaroli (1330), a famous Dominican, Cardinal Raffaele Petrucci (1497), a native of Sienna and Lord of that city, hated alike for his cupidity and his worldly lifestyle, Ferdinand Cardinal Ponzetti (1522), a learned man but fond of wealth and Marcantonio Campeggio (1528), who was distinguished at the Council of Trent.
The building of a new line of walls by Francesco I de Medici in 1574, replacing those dating from the 12 -14 C, was part of his programme to make Grosseto a fortress protecting his southern border. The design was by Baldassarre Lanci and the construction was completed 19 years later, under Grand Duke Ferdinand I. Until 1757, the exterior part was surrounded by a moat with an earth rampart. There were two main gates: Porta Nuova, to the north, and Porta Reale (now Porta Vecchia), to the south. The walls are now used as public park and walk.
MONTE AMIATA | TUSCANY REGION
Mount Amiata is the largest of the lava domes in the Amiata lava dome complex located about 20 km northwest of Lake Bolsena in the southern Tuscany region of Italy. Half of the mountain area is in the Grosseto provinceand the northern slopes are within the Siena Province.
Mount Amiata (La Vetta) is a compound lava dome with a trachytic lava flow that extends to the east. It is part of the larger Amiata complex volcano. A massive viscous trachydacitic lava flow, 5 km long and 4 km wide, is part of the basal complex and extends from beneath the southern base of Corno de Bellaria dome. Radiometric dates indicate that the Amiata complex had a major eruptive episode about 300,000 years ago. No eruptive activity has occurred at Amiata during the Holocene, but thermal activity including cinnabar mineralization continues at a geothermal field near the town of Bagnore, at the SW end of the dome complex.
The main economical resources of the Amiata region are chestnuts, timber and, increasingly, tourism (ski resorts include the peak area, Prato delle Macinaie, Prato della Contessa, Rifugio Cantore and Pian della Marsiliana). The lower areas are characterized by olive trees and vines. Other vegetation include beech and fir. In ancient times cinnabar was extracted here. The region is included in the comuni of Abbadia San Salvatore, Arcidosso, Castel del Piano, Piancastagnaio, Santa Fiora and Seggiano, all located between 600 and 800 metres of altitude.
PIANCASTAGNAIO | TUSCANY REGION
Piancastagnaio rises on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Amiata Piancastagnaio, in the Siena Province. The local economy is mainly based on the production of cereals, vegetables, fruit, vines, olives and on tourism, as the beauty of the area has caused the creation of many qualified hotel structures. The name of the place probably derives from the composite of “piano” with the meaning of “plain-lying place”, and of “castagnaio” coming from the Latin “castanea” with reference to the abundance of chestnut woods in the area. The town of Piancastagnaio was founded in the Middle Ages. From the very beginning it was placed under the jurisdiction of the Aldobrandeschi who built an imposing fortress that is still visible today. Over the following centuries the town of Piancastagnio was contested between the Aldobrandeschi, the monks of the nearby Abbey of Abbadia San Salvatore and the Visconti family.
During the XII century the city of Orvieto extended its influence on the town, annexing it to its holdings at the beginning of the following century. From the mid-14th century the Republic of Siena started competing with the city of Orvieto for the control of Piancastagnaio and succeeded at the beginning of the following century when they annexed the territory to the county. Piancastagnaio became a part of the Captaincy of Radicofani, remaining so until the mid-16th century when the Republic of Florence, after having previously defeated the Republic of Siena, annexed Piancastagnaio to its own dominions. And so domination started of the Medici Grand Dukes who were, at the time, in power in Florence. At the beginning of the XVII century Ferdinand I de’ Medici gave the village of Piancastagnaio as a fief to Giovanni Battista Bourbon del Monte.
Subsequently, with the rising of the di Lorena Dukes to power at the beginning of the XVIII century, feudalism was abolished. In 1776 Piero Leopoldo di Lorena elevated the village of Piancastagnaio to the rank of autonomous commune, equipped with its own statutes. Lorenese domination lasted almost uninterrupted until the unification of Italy in 1861 by King Vittorio Emanuale II di Savoia. Among the most important monuments in Piancastagnaio of particular interest is the Church of St. Bartholomew, the Sanctuary of the Madonna of St. Peter, the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, the Municipal Palazzo and the Aldobrandesca.
ROCCALBEGNA | TUSCANY REGION
The village of Roccalbegna, sits in the Grossetto Province and on the slopes of Monte Amiata. The town was once an Aldobrandeschi strong hold that was later passed over to the Republic of Siena. The medieval apperance and charm still exist in the township and its most characteristic monument being the church of St. Peter and St. Paul. Located on the main piazza with the Town Hall and a small but striking Civic Tower, with its clock face. The terrain of the area is notoriously instable, landslides are a daily occurrence. And exactly a landslide is what bent the architrave of the doorway, giving the church a unique, crooked aspect. Inside are precious frescoes and pictures. The most important work however is the altarpiece, a Madonna with Child painted in 1340 by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, considered one of his masterpieces.
At the back of the church, we go up a little way to the Oratory of the Crucifix, used as a museum. Francesco Nasini and Sebastiano Folli are the most represented authors. The cross by Luca di Tommè, a Siennese artist who created it in about 1360, is splendid. Outside of the Porta di Maremma the little church della Madonna completes the picture of the town’s monuments, with frescoes from the 15th century. Behind the church, the panoramic open space of the stronghold is worth a visit. But the destination to not be missed, the most famous of Roccalbegna, is the Rock, the large Tower that dominates the inhabited place, and that is reached by a steep asphalted road and then by the narrow stone steps that cling to the rock.
Roccalbegna’s surroundings are also worth a visit. The hamlet of Cana conserves a part of its medieval aspect and hosts a beautiful cistern from the Medici era. Just before that, in Vallerona, you can see the church of St. Pio I and a neo-classic fountain. Nature-lovers can travel south along the rough track that coasts Albegna. The first part of roughly 3 kilometres can be done by car or mountain bike, then you need to continue by foot on the exposed gravelly river bed. Poplars and willows take the place of oaks and brooms, and you don’t have to try too hard to see numerous species of birds such as the blackbird and kingfisher.
The WWF Oasis of Bosco Rocconi faces onto the river, home to rare birds of prey like the harrier eagle, the hobby, the sparrow-hawk and the lanner. A little to the east of Roccalbegna is Triana, a mighty castle that passed in 1388 from the Aldobrandeschi to the Piccolomini of Siena, formed of two imposing buildings and a mighty tower that is mostly covered in ivy.
RODICOFANI | TUSCANY REGION
Sitting at almost 900m above sea level, overlooking the sea, Radicofani was once one of the most important strongholds in Italy. The fortress is several kilometers away from the town, overlooking the village. Built in the 1200s, it was re-built in 1565 and partly torn down in the 1700s. From the terrace on top of the tower, which reaches 37 meters high, you can admire a vast panorama, which includes a view of Monte Amiata to the west. Before walking to the village, it is worth talking a walk through the pinewoods surrounding the fortress to view the arches, vaults and wells that are partly hidden by the vegetation.
Even the village is worth visiting. The most important monument is the Roman church of San Pietro from the 13th century that was damaged in the last war and restored in 1946. Inside, its gothic-style church conserves a splendid collection of terracotta and wood statues, among which is a “Madonna con Bambino” by Francesco di Valdambrino. Behind the church, there is a square from where you can see the fortress.
Don’t miss the church of Sant’Agatha, the protector of the village. The last stop is Palazzo Pretorio, a large building that has inserts in its façade of the coat of arms of the most ancient families of the area. In the Macchione garden there is a statue of Ghin di Tacco. Along the ancient Via Cassia that wraps around the village, there is the Palazzo della Posta, a beautiful hunting villa owned by the Medici and built by Ferdinando I. Today, it is a hotel for tourists.
SANTA FIORA | TUSCANY REGION
Protected by a cliff of trachyte that dominates the source of the Fiora river is the town of Santa Fiora, located in the Grossetto Region. The inhabited area of Santa Fiora has a different history to that of the other Amiata villages. Santa Fiora was not subject to the Abbey of Santissimo Salvatore, but soon became the most important Aldobrandeschi holding on the mountain, resisting the numerous conquering attempts by the Siennese. In 1439, it passed to the Sforza family, to then finish under Florentine control in 1633.
The first find is the massive Palazzo del Conte, once of the Sforza Cesarini and today seat of the Council. You go round it to the left and passing through it via an arcade you come onto the large piazza that is the sitting room of the town. From the piazza, the Via Carolina leads to the church del Suffragio (1716-1726) and then goes down to the Parish of St. Flora and St. Lucilla, the most important and famous of the town’s monuments. Erected before 1000AD, it was rebuilt in the 13th century and widened in 1792 with the addition of the lateral naves. The interior hosts a collection of splendid terracotta pieces attributed to Andrea Della Robbia.
A downhill slope to the village, the other part of Santa Fiora that is surrounded by walls and dominated by a dark wall of trachyte. Here the church of St. Agostino rises, built 1309 to which was annexed a convent, suppressed by the Lorenas, of which remains an arched door from 1473. In the Village there is also the convent of the Capuchin nuns, founded in 1601 and closed in 1991, linked to the cult of the Miraculous Crucifix and the Procession of the Logs.
For the Porta del Borgo you go in from the district of Montecatino and go down through the Peschiera, a striking lake that gathers the waters of the Fiora. Also of interest is the nearby church of the Madonna della Neve, of modest aspect but rich in well-kept frescoes. Near the Selva district, the Convent of the Santissima Trinità is worth a visit, conserving a beautiful Robbian crucifix and a series of precious paintings, and in the 18th century cloister the legendary dragon head brought back by a traveller from the past.
SEGGIANO | TUSCANY REGION
Seggiano is sits on the lower slopes of the Amiata mountains cone, and is in the Grossetto Province. It is among olive groves (of the Seggiano green variety) that, when you get close to Seggiano, the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Carità appears, one of the most unusual and interesting religious monuments of the Amiata. It is the only complex in the Siennese territory of late 16th century architecture linked to the manneristic Mitteleurop style. It was built after a famine of devastating consequences: started in 1588, the completion probably dates back to 1603. The exterior, with a complex and rich façade and a brick dome in four segments, is particularly striking.
Nearer to the inhabited area is the little church of St. Rocco, built in 1486. The interior, in just one room, conserves interesting frescoes upon which soldiers of yore left their signatures: a vandalism that through the years has acquired a certain historical value. Opposite the neo-gothic Town Hall is the parish church dedicated to St. Bartholomew. Built in the Middle Ages, it was reconstructed in style in the ‘30s, and hosts a polyptych that shows the Virgin on the throne with Child and St. Bartholomew, St. Michael and St. John Evangelist, by Bartholomew Bulgarini, a Siennese painter active in the mid-14th century.
Even higher up is the church of the Corpus Domini, also dedicated to St. Bernard of Siena. Of particular interest is a late 14th century Madonna with Child and relics belonging to St. Bernard of Siena. From Seggiano, a road that offers a splendid glance over the town and on the dark mass of the Amiata, leads to the Castle of the Potentino, across the celebrated Valley of the Olive Groves. The castle is surrounded by cultivated fields and closed to visitors. A little further on are the ruins of the Convent of the Colombaio, where St. Bernard of Siena passed his noviciate.
SEMPRONIANO | TUSCANY REGION
Semproniano is the most southern of the Amiata towns, the gateway to the volcano for those who arrive from Saturnia, and therefore from Rome and Civitavecchia via the Aurelia. The village, closely surrounding what little remains of the Rocca Aldobrandesca, merits a pleasant walk through the steep streets that are mostly in the form of stairways.
Just a few pieces of wall is what remains of the sever castle, onto which the Romanesque church of the Santa Croce faces. Lower down there is the Oratory of St. Rocco and the Parish of St. Vincent and St. Anastasio, that conserve various paintings from the 17th century and an interesting holy water stoup in the shape of a hand.
From the town, a good asphalted road curves down to a bridge over the Albegna and continues towards Saturnia. Taking the first right you can go down through the fields at the mount of the Albegna Narrows, the most striking of the Maremma and particularly suitable for bathing in the summer.
In Fibbianello, a farmhouse that faces onto the Albegna, botany enthusiasts can admire the largest olive tree of the Amiata area, a thousand-year old giant that is 22 metres tall, and able to give 800 kilos of olives at every picking. Parallel to the Albegna, the Fiora runs onwards, the best known of the Maremma water courses. Its valley is more harsh and sombre than that of the Albegna, its waters are rather reduced due to the tapping at its sources. From the west the limestone cliff of Cellena dominates the valley, at the feet of which can be found the town of the same name.
Rocchette di Fazio Hiking Trail
A tortuous track that offers a lovely glimpse of the centre quickly leads to Rocchette di Fazio, another little jewel of the Maremma Amiata. With its old houses dominated by a stump of the Rocca Aldobrandesca and defended by an imposing limestone wall, Rocchette is worth a stay. In the inhabited area are the Castle Gate, the Municipal Palazzo and the Hospital of St. Bartholomew, founded in 1330 as attested to by an inscription.
VAL DI CECINA | TUSCANY REGION
The Val di Cecina of Tuscany, Italy, extends from the coast, where the town of Cecina and other tourist resorts are located, as far as the famous hill top town of Volterra, perched on a rocky spur at 500 m. The Cecina Valley is still today among the most remote areas in Tuscany and well of the beaten track for tourists. The Valley extends along the River Cecina in the south of the Province of Pisa and takes in parts of the Provinces of Sienna and Grosseto. It also extends a short distance into the central portion of the Province of Livorno, near the final stretch and mouth of the river.
The Val di Cecina is hilly in the hinterland but mostly flat near the mouth of the Cecina. It is quite famous for the steep ravines, known as Balze di Volterra, which are found near Volterra. The area is also rich in geothermal activity including geysers, hot pools and steam outlets in the area around the village of Larderello near Pomarance.
The Val di Cecina as a whole includes the municipalities of Castellina Marittima, Riparbella, Casale Marittimo, Guardistallo Montescudaio, Montecatini Val di Cecina, Volterra, Pomarance, Castelnuovo di Val di Cecina and Monteverdi in the Pisa inland, some portions of the municipalities Radicondoli and Casole d'Elsa in the province of Sienna and the town of Cecina Livorno along the coast.
The part of the Val di Cecina that extends along the foothills sloping down to the Maremma Livorno and the central part of the Etruscan Coast is also called the Maremma Pisana and includes the municipalities of Castellina Marittima, Riparbella, Montescudaio, Guardistallo, Casale Marittimo and Monteverdi Marittimo.
The Upper Cecina Valley, in the southern part of the Province of Pisa, comprises the districts of Castelnuovo Val di Cecina, Montecatini Val di Cecina, Pomarance and Volterra. The area is bordered to the west by the Cornia Valley and the lower Cecina Valley, to the north by the Era Valley, to the east by the Upper Elsa Valley and to the south by the Colline Metallifere of the Alta Maremma.
VETULONIA | GROSSETO PROVINCE
Vetulonia was one of the most important cities in Etruscan cities in the Maremma. It is located in the valley of the Bruna and extended its influence towards the Metaliferous Hills as far as Lake Accesa. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (first century BC) places the city within the Latin alliance against Rome in the seventh century BC. Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy also mention Vetulonia, and according to Silius Italicus (first century AD), the Romans took their magisterial insignia, the Lictors' rods and fasces and the curule seat, from Vetulonia. In 1898, a tomb in the necropolis was discovered with a bundle of iron rods with a double-headed axe in the centre, and soon afterwards, a grave stela inscribed for Avele Feluske was discovered, on which a representation of the fasces was engraved.
It seems that two settlements originally existed, that were then combined around the seventh century BC. The archaeological findings turned up inside the monumental tombs (jewels, metal objects, and imported manufactures) testify that the pinnacle of Vetulonia's splendour dates back to the historic phase known as the 'orientalising period' that witnessed the solidifying of a commercial network between Etruria, Greece and the middle east. The following century (sixth century BC) was marked by a clear decline of the fortunes of Vetulonia as it lost control over the Colline Metallifere. The clash between the Roman civilisation and the Etruscan civilisation, that had already begun around the middle of the fourth century BC, saw the progressive absorption of the Etruscans. The Vetulonia of the Roman age always remained a centre of little importance.
The Mura dell'Arce (cyclopean walls) probably date from the sixth and fifth centuries BC, and aerial photography has revealed further stretches, indicating the political and commercial importance of Vetulonia, which was famous for its goldsmiths. Under the Roman Empire, however, it shrank to become a secondary centre, with the northward spread of malaria. Little is known also about mediaeval Vetulonia. It was an object of contention between the abbots of San Bartolomeo di Sestinga and the Lambardi family of Buriano, and was then acquired by the Massa Marittima in 1323. Nine years later it passed under the control of Sienna.