The dreamy Gavorrano

Gavorrano today

The village of Gavorrano is a little gem, because mass tourism is not known here and you can discover a lively, beautiful little town with a lot of medieval history. Small bars, cafés and restaurants invite you to linger and enjoy the Italian way of life at its best.

Gavorrano back then

There is no evidence of ancient finds in Gavorrano. The first records date back to the 9th century by Charlemagne, who gave the area as a fief to Count Alberto di Mangona. In 1164, Frederick I, the Hohenstaufen king, also enfeoffed a count, Alberto di Mangona, with a castle.

In 1188, the village of Gavorrano became an independent municipality under the Bishop of Grosseto by a bull of Pope Clement III.

In 1278, Count Nello Pannocchieschi becomes mayor of Gavorrano. In Dante’s “Purgatory” , it is implied that Nello Pannocchieschi, who demonstrably married Countess Margarita of Aldobrandeschi when he was already engaged to Pia de’ Tolomei from Siena, killed the unfortunate Pia in his castle:

“Remember me, that I am Pia. Siena created me, it destroyed the Maremma. The one who first gave me the ring and then promised me marriage with his gemstone knows it”.

Dante, Purgatory

Thus the legend of poor Pia and the scoundrel Nello.

In the early 14th century, the Pannocchieschi abandoned the castle and Gavorrano after the village was conquered by Siena in 1335.

Gavorrano today

Gavorrano is situated on a hill (like many Etruscan or Tuscan villages and towns). From the Piazza della Resistenza you have a wonderful view of the plain to the north. The medieval town fortifications are still clearly visible with the remains of walls, towers and beautiful alleyways. It’s great fun to explore the village on foot. At the Palazzo del Podestà, a plaque with the famous lines from Dante’s Purgatory commemorates Pia and Nello.

Il Salto della Contessa

Il Salto della Contessa” (= the Countess’s Leap) takes place every Sunday following August 6. The historical festival focuses on the tragic story of Count Nello and Pia. A parade with flag bearers is followed by a horse race. A Palio like in Siena, but much smaller, if not less spectacular. The horse race is held between the districts of Tolomei and Pannocchieschi.

The polenta fair

The polenta fair takes place on the last weekend in October in the district of Bivio Ravi. Of course, there are all kinds of recipes to try the filling corn porridge.

Festival d’autunno

The autumn festival in October/November in the district of Caldana is also worth a visit, with beautiful folkloristic performances and many tasting stands with local products such as porcini mushrooms, wild boar and chestnuts. It couldn’t be fresher.

Places of interest Gavorrano

Walk through the old town
“Parco delle Rocce” (“Rock Park”). An old tunnel there has been converted into a museum mine.
Teatro delle Rocce (Theater in the quarry)


Salto della Contessa (Sunday after August 6)
Sagra della Polenta (last weekend in October)
Festival d’autunno (October/November)

Image of the old town of Gavorrano: LigaDue, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Panoramic image in title: Christihan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Vacation in Tuscany.

Casa Ferruccio

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