Manciano rises in the hills, between the sea and the mountains, almost guarding the Maremma and the position allows a privileged view of the Maremma, with a panorama that ranges from the Amiata to the Argentario: for this reason, it is nicknamed “the spy of the Maremma”.
At the highest point stands the fortress and around the historic center, which developed like a labyrinth. Narrow uphill streets allow you to get to the small Piazza Magenta: here, in addition to the Cassero and the Museum of Prehistory and Protohistory, you can admire the wonderful panorama from the terrace.
A BIT OF HISTORY
The first news of the existence of the town dates back to 1181, when it was under the dominion of the Aldobrandeschi, and it was already equipped with a fortification.
But this land, between Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria, was always the scene of wars and battles, so over the centuries various dominations have taken place: the Municipality of Orvieto, the Lordship of the Basques, the Orsini Counts, the Republic of Siena (which has left important evidence in the buildings), the Medici (a period of progressive decay) and the Lorraine. It was chosen as the capital of a vast territory including Montemerano, Saturnia and Capalbio; it was the largest municipality in the province.
On the clock tower there is a plaque that testifies to the plebiscite thanks to which the Tuscany region, on March 15, 1860, chose to be part of the constitutional monarchy of the Savoy.
Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the woods of the area, were a refuge for the brigands of the Maremma. The most famous and remembered in the area is certainly Domenico Tiburzi.
In 1904 the laborers occupied the land of Prince Corsini and the Peasants’ League for Improvement was born. These are the first steps of claims, which will continue until the reform of the Maremma Authority, which will irreversibly change society and the landscape.
The woods that had been a refuge for the brigands hosted the bands of partisans, linked to the National Liberation Committee during the Second World War. Manciano was the first country liberated by the Allies in Tuscany, in June 1944, and on February 25, 1945 it was the first country in which the first free elections took place in Italy after the Fascist period.
The Cassero, seat of the town hall offices, is an imposing construction: it rests on three embankments, is built on a boulder of gray sandstone and made of blocks of the same material. The building, probably prior to the 12th century, was restored and enlarged during the Sienese period. After the Sienese period the fortress remained in a state of neglect until 1772, when the Commissioner of the Grand Duke chose it as the new seat of the town hall. At the time, on the ground floor there was the messenger’s quarter and a prison, on the first floor the vicar’s quarter, on the second that of the notary and a hall for community meetings. Inside the castle there are works of art by authors of the late 19th and first half of the 20th century, but also by contemporary painters.
In the Sala del Consiglio are preserved numerous works by the two most famous local painters, Pietro Aldi and Paride Pascucci, in particular “The oath of Ghino di Tacco” of the first and “The family party” of the second.
The panoramic tower was demolished in the Lorraine period because, according to a popular tradition, it was unsafe after being struck by lightning, but it was rebuilt in 1935. Today it is accessible to visitors at specific times; from here you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Maremma and the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, with a view that, on particularly clear days, reaches as far as Corsica.
MUSEUM OF PREHISTORY AND PROTOHISTORY
The Museum is completely centered on the territory of the Fiora Valley and shows the evolution of the territory from the Paleolithic to the Late Bronze Age.
The exhibits on display come from the main necropolis of the Fiora Valley, from Sorano to Vulci.
The Clock Tower is one of the most important monuments of Manciano. Built in the heart of the historic center, the tower stands at the intersection of Via Roma and Via Cavour.
The building dates back to the 15th century, was born as the vicar’s residence, and was part of the Town Hall.
Over the centuries it carried out other functions, it became a granary, a stable and a school.
In 1615 the clock was added, and in 1860 a plaque commemorating the plebiscite of annexation to the Kingdom of Italy.
CHURCH OF SAN LEONARDO
The Church of San Leonardo, built in the Middle Ages, is the main one in the town. It is located in the historic center, just below the Rocca, and is dedicated to the Patron Saint.
Imposing, and recently restored, the church houses some valuable works of art, a baptismal font dating back to the fourteenth century and a painting by the local artist Paride Pascucci, depicting San Leonardo.
Next to the church, the characteristic bell tower, also of medieval origin.
CHURCH OF THE SANTISSIMA ANNUNZIATA
Located outside the walls, but still in the center, the small church, built during the sixteenth century, has a single nave and outside, on the right side, stands the bell tower.
Inside there is an important painting by Pietro Aldi, depicting the Annunciation.
The fountain, designed by Vincenzo Rosignoli, was built in Piazza Garibaldi, the heart of the historic center, in 1913, on the occasion of the inauguration of the city aqueduct, commissioned by the mayor Gino Aldi Mai.
Some scenes are carved on the fountain, one reminiscent of the past, depicted by an arid well and an abandoned bucket, and one the present, depicted by a beautiful woman who moves a stone and releases the water, which she then offers to a young shepherd.
Built by the Aldobrandeschi, the city walls surround the historic center. Originally the walls had several towers, with defense and sighting functions. Thanks to their structure, Manciano was one of the most fortified villages in the area in the medieval period and the walls were reinforced and enlarged in the Sienese era. The ancient wall structure is still in an excellent state of conservation, some of the defense towers remain, used as a private residence, and some of the access doors: the best known is “Porta Fiorella”.
PORTA FIORELLA TOWER
The circular tower with a shoe base, lowered in recent times, on which Porta Fiorella rests, is one of the two remaining of the eleven towers of Manciano. The building has been occupied by a house since the seventeenth century, a period in which the lack of interest of the Medici government allowed private individuals to appropriate public goods.
VIA TRENTO TOWER (or della Rampa)
It is a small tower incorporated in the buildings of Via Trento, obtained in the ancient walls of the 15th century. The structure, like the other houses around it, was occupied by the inhabitants in the 17th century, during the Medici period.