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Sovana and Pitigliano

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DIOCESE OF SOVANA AND PITIGLIANO (SUANENSIS ET PITILIANENSIS).

The two towns, Sovana and Pitigliano, are situated in the Province of Grosseto, Central Italy. Sovana was an ancient Etruscan city, and preserved a certain importance till the end of the thirteenth century, having been from the days of Charlemagne the capital of the counts of Aldobrandeschi, lords of Southern Tuscany. In 1240 the city withstood a siege by Frederick II. Later it passed under the sway of the Orsini, who transferred their residence to Pitigliano, a more salubrious locality, mentioned for the first time in 1081. In 1401 it fell into the power of the Republic of Siena. In 1434 Count Gentile Orsini having been killed at Sovana, the people of Pitigliano put the town to fire and sword, and brought about its complete decay, so that in 1833 it contained only 64 inhabitants.

The territory of this diocese includes the celebrated Vallombrosan Abbey of Monte Calvello, which was transferred in 1496 to within the city limits. St. Gregory VII was born at Sovana. Its first known bishop is Mauritius (680); other bishops were: Raineri (963), who re-introduced common life among the canons; Pier Nicolò Blandinelli (1380), who had the doors of the cathedral made; Apollonio Massaini (1439), under whom the relics of S. Mamiliano, Bishop of Palermo, were translated from the Island of Giglio; Alfonso Petrucci (1498), son of the Tyrant of Siena, later a cardinal, condemned to death by Leo X in 1517; his successor, Lattanzio Petrucci, was accused of high treason and forced to flee, but he was acquitted by Adrian VI ; Carvajal Simoncelli (1535) ruled the diocese for sixty-one years; Francesco Pio Santi (1776) resisted the innovations of Leopold and the Synod of Pistoia. For a long time the bishops of Sovana have resided at Pitigliano. In 1844 that city was made an episcopal see and united aeque principaliter to that of Sovana. The diocese is suffragan of Siena, and contains 47 parishes, with 90 secular and 8 regular priests ; 2 Franciscan convents, 4 convents of nuns, and 38,500 inhabitants.

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