TERRITORY

 

SATURNIA

 

This small village is completely situated inside the ancient city walls built by the Sienese in 1461 on the ruins of preceding Etruscan and Roman walls.

Saturnia is a very ancient village and its origins go back up over the Etruscan age.

Etruscans, Romans and, later, the Sienese  chose this area because of its position. In fact it is situated on a tableland of travertine and some natural precipices defended it from the attacks of the enemies.

The Etruscans left here many traces. The most important is the necropolis of “Puntone” with about fifteen tombs made of big stones covered by the ground. One slab of travertine closed the entrance. They look like tumulus.

Their architectural form is simple: a corridor, called “dromos”, goes from the entrance to one or two burial chambers.

There were many Etruscan tombs all around the village, but they have been depredated and destroyed since Roman occupation of  Saturnia in 280 B.C.

While the Roman occupation of many other regional settlements marked their demise, Saturnia was declared a prefecture. The Romans built new city walls, exactly the ones you can see near the “Porta Romana”. But the main reason for the development of Saturnia was  the construction of the “ via Clodia” route ( whose remains are visible near the church), which crossed the region and linked the via Aurelia and via Cassia to reach Rome.

There are also many other remarkable Roman remains: the thermal bats, that were buried under the main square of the village - their size can be seen thanks  to a grey stone which shows the borders - and “Castellum acquarum” ( 2 km. from Saturnia) used as a water reservoir during Roman period. This building is made up of a series of 10 parallel barrel vaults supported by very thick walls.

With the fall of Roman empire (476 A.C. ) the decadence of Saturnia began. The Saracens  (     ) and the Normans (     ) won and destroyed it. Then it became first the property of the Aldobrandeschi Counts who built the castle (     ,) and then the propriety of the Republic of Siena which rebuilt the walls. Later it passed under the dominance of the Florence lords, the Medicis, and, after that, it became a part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. But no one managed to recreate the vitality and the importance it used to have during the Etruscan and Roman age.

Nevertheless its spa always remained the center of attention, played an important role in making Saturnia famous throughout the world.          

  

 THE ROMAN GATE.THE BIG STONES ON THE LEFT ARE ETRUSCAN

 

ETRUSCAN VESSELS IN THE SATURNIAS' MUSEUM

THE SIENNESE WALLS WHICH SURROUND SATURNIA     

     

THE INTERIOR OF THE "CASTELLUM ACQUARUM" NEAR SATURNIA