Maremma: Sorano

Sorano Image credit: mkistryn / 123RF Stock Photo
Sorano Image credit: mkistryn / 123RF Stock Photo

Sorano and the surrounding towns are filled with examples of their Etruscan origins, dating from the period of this civilization’s greatest splendor. Sorano was built on a high rock and this extremely picturesque position captivates all who visit.

With the passage of time it has come to resemble a natural cliff, only slightly refined by the Renaissance architecture. The girding wall served to make it one of the safest outposts in the County of Pitigliano.

Sorano belonged to the Aldobrandeschi family who developed it as a defensive position, fortifying it with the walls that continue to embrace the village today.

Subsequently it passed under the dominion of the Orsini family who built a beautiful fortress, the most interesting monument in the village.

Sorano - Photo  Enrico Carcasci
Sorano – Photo Enrico Carcasci

In the middle of the 1400s, it became the site of conflicts with the Republic of Siena without ever being conquered, thereby earning the name of “the tinderbox of Italian wars” given by Cosimo dei Medici. In 1608 it finally became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, thereby following its destiny.

The continuity with the past is still alive and the antique peasant culture has retained its main activities over time. Vineyards, scrub, olive groves, fields of wheat and sheep-farming surround the town. As a result of this agricultural vocation, the area is increasingly renowned for the high quality of the typical Maremman products, including an important dairy production.

The entire surrounding territory abounds in Medieval fortifications such as the Castle of Montorio, the Citadel of Castell’Ottieri and the castle of Montebuono. The archeological park, “Citta’ del Tufo” is unique of its kind.

Sorano - Photo Enrico Carcasci
Sorano – Photo Enrico Carcasci

The major historical, archeological and cultural treasures of the territory are to be found here: the church of San Sebastiano, the Aldobrandeschi fortress and the necropolis excavated in the rock, surrounded by the marvels of nature.

Antique tombs stand out, especially noteworthy the monumental Ildebranda. Regarded as the masterpiece of all of the tombs, it represents the passage from archaic Etruria to that which will soon succumb to Rome and its empire. There are also tombs excavated in the rock walls, enveloped and protected by thick vegetation increasing their fascination and mystery.

The most famous is the Siren’s Tomb. These grottos, discovered near Sorano and Vitozza, are almost unadorned compared to the others, but are equally fascinating. They were probably originally used for raising pigeons or as incinerators and then later, in Roman and Medieval times, were turned into dwellings, stalls or cellars.

Where to stay in Sorano

There are numerous high quality hotels, villas, apartments and agriturismi (Farm stays) available, check them out and make a reservation here.