Monterano Nature Reserve
The Monterano Nature Reserve covers just over 10.8 km² (4 sq miles) with a great variety of habitats and an abundant biodiversity: wooded hills, volcanic gorges, meadows, pastures and a river, the Mignone (classified Site of Community Importance by EU).
In the park there are numerous attractions: waterfalls, abandoned sulfur mines, lunar landscapes, a reproduction of the typical hut of the butteri (the cowboys of the Maremma), a botanical garden and many Etruscan sites.
The most impressive place, however, is the abandoned town of Monterano. The site was inhabited since Bronze Age; later became an Etruscan site, until Rome conquered it: during this period was known as Manturanum. At the beginning the early Middle Ages became a Diocese, sign indicating the importance of the town at that time.
The most impressive building is the castle, probably dating back to 8th c. In the 17th c. Gian Lorenzo Bernini redesigned the fortress transforming it into a ducal palace, decorating the outer wall of Piazza Lunga with a fountain on which dominates the statue of a lion, hence the name of the Lion Fountain.
Contemporary is the Bernini’s convent of San Bonaventura, visible today in a flat area outside of the village, at the center of which emerges the octagonal fountain. The aqueduct was built in 17th c. The village was depopulated during the Napoleonic domination, at the beginning of 19° c.