Gavorrano and its mines

The municipality of Gavorrano is located near Follonica and the coast. Its vast territory offers total immersion in a sparsely settled area, with large areas of Mediterranean scrub, oak and chestnut groves that provide an ideal habitat for wild boar, deer, porcupines, foxes, birds of prey, and small animals.

The territory of Gavorrano offers a wide panorama of sites of historical interest. The Castel di Pietra area with the nearby necropolis of Santa Teresa, the Etruscan village of Lago dell'Accesa.

Also important are the old mines, now disused, such as the one below Gavorrano and the one at Ravi, both of which are included in the Gavorrano Nature Mining Park.

The countryside of the municipality offers glimpses of the traditional Tuscan rural landscape, with olive groves, fields interspersed with hedges and rows of cypress trees, and vineyards with more than 300 hectares of cultivated and ever-expanding vines, so much so that Gavorrano is one of the largest wine producers in the area. Of note, for its architectural structure that harmonizes with the Maremma landscape, is the winery built and designed by architect Renzo Piano one of the greatest contemporary architects.


A bit of history

Gavorrano is first mentioned in the 8th century CE and then from the 11th but not until 1040 as a castle. It is an important site in the territory, from the earliest records evidently in connection with the great road axis of the Roman Aurelia that remained in use in the Middle Ages. From the ownership of Lucca nobles, the site passed to the Aldobrandeschi and then to the Pannocchieschi, who in 1320 ceded to Massa Marittima their rights to the castle of Gavorrano. A few years later, Siena conquered Massa Marittima and Gavorrano. In 1379 the Sienese Malavolti family acquired the rights to the castle and retained them until 1465.

The village of Gavorrano was protected by two wall circuits, an outer one, dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, and an inner one, perhaps older and still clearly identifiable today. On the south side, two filaretto towers with scarp bases, the shelves of now-disappeared castellated secludes, and a sandstone ashlar gateway can be seen.

To the north, on the other hand, the walls rest directly on the rock stratum. On this side, you can see the presence of a partially plugged loggia and two bastions.

The village of Gavorrano

The municipal palace of Gavorrano faces Piazza Bruno Buozzi. The earliest reliable information about the building comes from a report written Gherardini in 1676, that mentions a Palace of Justice with an adjoining prison and cistern. That cistern is still visible in the 19th-century historical cadastre. In this cartography the building is referred to as the "town hall." The present façade is a 19th-century arrangement. Under the cornice, the mirrors are decorated with bas-relief stucco depicting lions and chimeras. The windows have tympanum cornices and balconies with railings accompanied by small columns.
The first mention of the church of San Giuliano, formerly dedicated to San Gusmè, dates from 1529. The church also appears about a century and a half later in the Gherardini visitation.
According to some speculation the sacred building may have been built on the walls of the ancient fortress. The base of the bell tower seems to point in this direction, since the lower body has different masonry from the rest of the structure.
Thepresent extension can be traced to a chronological span that can be placed between the 17th and 18th centuries. The facade, renovated in 1927, as the inscription on the lintel of the portal reports, is gabled divided by pilasters with a central eye and small decorative hanging arches, all covered with plaster.
Theinterior of the church, with three naves, is plastered with pilasters, arches and exposed roof with bichromatic decoration. To the sides are 18th-century altars with stucco decoration.
Next to the entrance on the left, in a niche formerly occupied by the baptismal font, is a marble statuette of the Madonna and Child: an important masterpiece by Giovanni d'Agostino, a Sienese sculptor and master builder of Siena Cathedral in 1336. The work is stylistically emblematic, as it represents the apex of the "happy" synthesis between plastic construction and linear modulation achieved by the Sienese master. Also of note, displayed on the back wall, is the small 18th-century canvas depicting the Annunciation.

Texts edited by Carlo Citter

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