A unique architectural complex
of Etruscan origin
A sacred etruscan thermal complex in Sasso Pisano, along the road from Volterra to Populonia an imposing sacred thermal complex has come back to life. It was dedicated to the worship of water in an area where the geothermal spectacle have always influenced the life of the local inhabitants.
An etruscan roofing tile
After a roofing tile with an Etruscan seal was unearthed, the following archaeological excavations have partially brought back to life an architectural complex that is the only complex of its kind to have so far been discovered in Northern Etruria, developing in various sectors and over a long period of time. The hypothesis of the complex being sacred has been confirmed by the discovery of two small statues: one in lead and tin representing the goddess “Menerva”, and one small votive statue in bronze, both clearly in the same style as other Volterran statues.
In existence for many centuries
The original structure consisted of a monumental stoà (a large portico) in three sections, and then in the first half of the 2nd century BC, baths were added alongside a part of the walls of the portico. The area was later damaged by a large landslide which tore part of the structure away, carrying it down into the valley. Following a period of almost a century in which the structure fell into disuse, the buildings were restored and used until late 3rd century and early 4th century AD.
The monumental nature and the sheer size of the complex, which extends well beyond the examined area, would suggest an identification as one of the two bathing complexes – Aquae Volaterrae and Aquae Populoniae – shown in the 4th segment of the Tabula Peutingeriana, a military map of the Roman Empire. The location of the site on the borders between the territories of Volterra and Populonia, and other archaeological data lead to the conclusion that this area was an outpost of the Volterran dominion.