Cathedral of St Peter
Sovana is a small village in the province of Grosseto, in the municipality of Sorano.
Few houses encircled in the beautiful setting of the Tuscan hills and tourism-related activities. Nothing more.
Sovana is an example of how in Italy the small local history is incredibly linked to the Great National and European History.
Let's start with Mamiliano.
Mamiliano is a bishop of Palermo of the fifth century who has been working for the conversion of local people and is now the saint protector of the country.
During a persecution carried out by Vandals, Genserico send it to Africa.
Someone pays his ransom, and the bishop, already in the smell of holiness, goes first to Sardinia and then to the island of Montecristo in the Tuscany inslands.
On the Tuscan island, the hermit bishop stays - according to tradition - in a cave that is still indicated by his name.
But he has to make feathered escapes in the continent because he is attributed the conversion of the Tuscans living along Cassia Road in the low Maremma.
A church is dedicated in Sovana to the saint Mamiliano.
Among the Tuscan islands someone tells about a treasure connected with the saint.
The voices are collected by Alexandre Dumas telling the treasure in his famous novel "The Count of Montecristo".
In 2004 the treasure is actually found in Sovana: 498 gold coins dating back to the fifth century, hidden beneath the altar of the church of San Mamiliano (now in a beautiful exhibition in the local museum).
It can not be said that the holy bishop of Palermo has neglected his believers of Sovana!
In Sovana (or in the immediate surroundings)born Ildebrando of Soana (or Sovana), best known as Pope Gregory VII,
All this to explain why in the tiny Sovana there are 3 churches among which the magnificent St. Peter's Cathedral, archbishop's seat dating back to the 1000's.
But in spite of this glorious history, Sovana is always a small center.
It seems that the Medici, Lords of Tuscany, even tried to plunder the people of the place by importing colonists from Greece, but it was useless ...
Sovana has and maintains her little town destiny by the great story.
In such a place, could be missed a bicaudal mermaid ?
On the portal of St. Peter's Cathedral (wanted by Gregory VII) there is a two-tails mermaid among fantastic animals and legends, ready to suggest intense and fascinating stories that have shaped these stones and on which it was born and grown our culture.
On the entry gate, a warrior with a sword is companion to the beautiful mermaid and, on the bow, an Orante welcomes the faithful.
Inside there are the elegant columns with alternating white and black elements (all but one: symmetry was in fact considered diabolical and then perfection only suits only to the God, not to his humble stonemasons). On the capitals are represented Adam and Eve, the prophet Daniel in the pit of lions that are supplied with food by his colleague Abacuc (just like in Geneva ), Abraham with Sarah and Agar, Eva (in piercing skirt) in company of Adam to cultivate land.
Part of the complex of St. Peter was also the elegant ciborium decorated with peacocks that is now in the nearby church of Santa Maria.