SATURNIA from MYTH to HISTORY

Saturnia’s origins have been lost in time, so much so that it’s considered one of the oldest cities of the “Italica Villanoviana” period.

Archaeological finds, dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, reveal the presence of activity even before the Etruscans. An example of this is the Bagno Santo (Sacred Bath), a holy place where ancient civilisations carried out religious rituals.

What is certain is that Saturnia already existed in the 7th century B.C., when the Etruscans controlled central Italy, but known as Aurinia. It fell in the hands of the Romans when, thanks to its strategic location near Pian di Palma necropolis, the river Albegna, and the thermal waters, they seized it and renamed it Saturnia.

The Roman Empire then build the Via Clodia, an important trade route connecting Via Cassia and Via Aurelia, to facilitate trade with the Etruscan colonies. Via Clodia passed through Saturnia, thereby enabling the town to develop and prosper until the arrival of the Goti and the Longobardi.

Throughout the Medieval era, Saturnia suffered atrocities at the hands of the Saraceni and the Senesi. Finally, in 1500, peace was restored when the Granducato di Toscana, of the Medici family, became governor until the town was annexed by Kingdom of Italy.

Archaeological and Architectural Remains

Much evidence of Saturnia’s history can be found amongst the various visible remains, namely: the Area Archeologica Urbana, the walls, the four wall entrances including the well-preserved Porta Romana, the Acquarum castle, and the Bagno Secco.
Saturnia’s Roman walls have been restored and rebuilt by the Senesi population in the 16th century. The archaeological museum is home to a number of items dating back to Etruscan times, as well as from the Neolithic and Bronze ages.