The fascinating Etruscan civilization and necropolises enchanted English writer and traveler D.H. Lawrence, as described in the book Etruscan Places.
Like the Egyptians, the Etruscans attached great importance to the cult of death and the belief that the deceased survived in the afterlife. Magicians and child prophets were adept at reading lighting and observing the viscera of sacrificed animals, especially the livers.
Perched on a volcanic cliff, Pitigliano is one of the most special places in the Tuscan Maremma. A fortified citadel, it had the Orsini as powerful local lords during the Middle Ages. Beneath the houses are underground cellars that were once Etruscan tombs. It is also the starting point for access to the Via cava di San Giuseppe. Wide furrows mark a network of streets excavated 2,000 years ago, cut deep into the porous rock where there are also remains of tabernacles and niches.
Pitigliano is part of the Parco archeologico delle Citta del tufo (Archaeological Park of the Tuff Cities), a magical territory where visitors can find about 20 of these excavated paths. One of the best is the Via Cava San Sebastiano (Sovana).