Church Museum of San Mamiliano

It is the oldest church in Sovana, dating back to the sixth century and was the first bishopric of the diocese. The construction of the church dates back to the early Christian period, built on a pre-existing building from the Etruscan-Roman period.

Following the transfer of the bishop’s seat to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the church of San Mamiliano was gradually abandoned.

The church located in Piazza del Pretorio had a single nave and had three altars (one dedicated to San Mamiliano). The perimeter wall located to the north, on the lower part, has large stone blocks and a colonnaded crypt with reused capitals. This architectural technique can be considered as the oldest nucleus dating back to the early Christian era, the era of Sovana’s evangelization thanks to the monk Mamiliano (5th century AD).

Since 2004, thanks to the Superintendency for Architectural and Landscape Heritage (the church was now a private building used by a local family as a chicken coop / warehouse), a series of restoration and recovery works have been started on the Church which since 2012 has become a museum.

In this museum there is a section dedicated to Lombard ceramics from the tombs of Villa Biagiola in Sovana and a series of interesting finds from the Museum of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in the Orsini Fortress of Sorano, as well as the famous “Treasure of Sovana”.

The Sovana Treasury

In 2004, again during some excavations carried out in the subsoil of the Church of San Mamiliano, an exceptional discovery was made. Under the floor some burials of the Renaissance period were recognized and, more deeply, some remains of a thermal building from the Roman era.

But the most beautiful thing was found even further down where a container containing 498 gold coins came to light. It was a question of fifth century gold coins, minted under Leo I and Anthemio, almost entirely coming from the mint of Constantinople.

Some scholars argue that this treasure is the one mentioned by Alexandre Dumas in the novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”, or the famous “Treasure of Monte Cristo”. In fact, legends narrate that on the island of Montecristo, right in the dedicated monastery of San Mamiliano, there was a hidden treasure never found, this is because (we are in the field of legend) it was located in the Church of Sovana and not on the island of the Tuscan archipelago.

Today part of the treasure is found in this museum, part in the National Archaeological Museum of Florence. Leaving aside the legends in 2019, unfortunately some pieces of the treasure were stolen from the museum of San Mamiliano (65 coins), the rest are always divided between Sovana and Florence.

Museum opening hours

-Every day 10: 00-13: 00/19: 00, closed on Wednesdays

Tickets

– Whole 2.00