The second Città del Tufo is an oasis of stone in a sea of green.

Over the centuries, three rivers have carved deep furrows in the lower levels of the cliff that supports Sorano, so that many of its houses now hang dangerously above the depths of the Lente River valley. The city probably takes its name from the Etruscan-Faliscan god Pater Soranus who ran with wolves and spent eternity hidden in the mountains. It is a fitting name for a city built on an isolated cliff. The best way to appreciate Sorano is to wander randomly through its narrow streets. The city is too small and narrow for you to be in danger of getting lost. Each street has its own character and offers a surprising view of the wild surrounding landscape. This countryside is full of necropolis and prehistoric ruins that can be explored (ask the tourist office; 0564 633099). Sorano also has its own hot springs: although not as famous as those of Saturnia, these springs are just as hot, and spring from an underground source at 36 ° C all year round.

WHAT TO SEE

Sorano begins right in front of the imposing Orsini fortress in via Cavour.
Despite the name, the fortress was built by the Aldobrandeschi, who are said to have had a residence for every day of the year.
Today, the Orsini fortress is an important example of medieval and Renaissance military architecture and perhaps the best preserved fortress in the Maremma. The historic center of Sorano is accessed through a stone arch, which from a distance is large and welcoming – but it is an optical illusion intended to deceive the invading armies – and which opens onto a bright courtyard. On your left is the bastion of San Marco, used in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to make gunpowder from the white musk that grew on the damp walls of the fortress. In fact, only the top of the fortress is visible, while the rest descends up to 15 meters underground in a labyrinth of tunnels built by Niccolò IV Orsini in 1552. Niccolò is remembered as a cruel and bloodthirsty ruler: under his reign,
the already impregnable Orsini fortress was further strengthened. The tunnels were never used and between 1558 and 1608 the Orsini sold everything to the Medici. Since then, the Orsini family dismantled its former glory in debauchery and slowly disappeared into anonymity. Yet, Sorano remains one of the few cities in the Maremma that has never been invaded. The tunnels are the most interesting part of the Orsini fortress and can only be seen with a guided tour. The tour will also take you to the Palazzo Comitale, the stately home of the Orsini which now houses the Museum of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Inside there are some works of art and ceramics from the Renaissance period. The museum tower was built to serve as a love nest for Niccolò, who used it to take advantage of local women. It is said that he died when he fell off a cliff while chasing one that had escaped him. On the walls of the tower you can see beautiful frescoes and also the score of a madrigal written by a Bolognese musician of the sixteenth century. Wandering around Sorano, one cannot help but notice that all roads lead to Masso Leopoldino: this terrace, built on a natural tuff spur, was already perfectly leveled in the 19th century and was reinforced to resemble a battleship. On clear days, it is the best place to admire the beauty of the elaborate Sorano stones in contrast to the wild valley; you can also distinguish the small caves dug into the tuff cliffs by the Etruscans and used as warehouses. To reach the Church of San Niccolò you have to walk down the hill from the Orsini fortress to Piazza Busatti. The church was dedicated to San Nicola da Bari in 1290. The pope of the time was very devoted to this saint and the Countess of Sovana Margherita Aldobrandeschi was linked to the pope himself, which explains why this saint is venerated here too. The lack of interior decoration suggests that Margherita had lost interest in the work before it was finished.

FOTO SORANO

CURIOSITY

The Countess of Sovana was the last heir of the Aldobrandeschi and lived a life similar to a Shakespearean tragedy. She married five times in a promiscuous yet desperate attempt to protect herself and her territory. Her brief marriage to one of her cousins earned her not only excommunication, but also the invasion of the Sienese, who angrily took away all her domains. After another failed marriage, Margherita disappeared.

HOW TO GET TO SORANO

Sorano is a town in the province of Grosseto, 89 kilometers from the capital, 156 kilometers from Rome, 180 kilometers from Florence and 475 kilometers from Milan.

How to reach Sorano by car:

  • From the north: Autostrada del Sole to the exit for Firenze Certosa, then the motorway junction to Siena south, continue towards Rome, follow the S.S. Cassia for 70 kilometers and exit at Sorano
  • From the north: Autostrada del Sole to the Chiusi / Chianciano exit, continue towards Sarteano, then Radicofani, Rome, continue along the S.S. Cassia in the direction of Rome, exit at Sorano
  • From the south: Autostrada del Sole, exit Orte, then motorway junction for Viterbo, follow the exit for Siena, continue for Valentano, then follow the signs for Pitigliano and Sorano

How to reach Sorano by train:

The main railway stations are those of Orvieto at 48 kilometers and Albinia at 60 kilometers. From the railway stations you can continue by bus.

How to reach Sorano by plane:

The main airports are those of Florence, at 233 kilometers, Pisa, at 249 kilometers and Rome-Fiumicino at 154 kilometers.

WHERE TO EAT IN SORANO

If you are in Sorano, you absolutely cannot miss the opportunity to savor the excellent traditional cuisine by choosing from the restaurants and inns of the Tuscan village. Whether they are in the countryside, perhaps annexed to some characteristic farmhouse, or hidden in the alleys of the historic center, we are sure that the food and wine experience will surprise you and give you a moment of taste and relaxation! Let’s start from the countryside around Sorano, where we find the Aia del Tufo farmhouse, organic farm where you can taste the traditional peasant dishes of the Maremma, among the dishes that you cannot miss, homemade pasta, wild boar and lamb with buglione, also excellent homemade bread baked in the oven wood, Podere Poggio La Mezzadria – tel. 3290805559. Always immersed in the green of the Maremma countryside, Agriristoro Focacceria La Dogana cultivates the philosophy of the short supply chain and the 0 km menu, the vegetables are produced on the farm, the meats come from local farmers, Strada Provinciale Pian della Madonna – tel. 3396724645. In the heart of the village of Sorano, nestled between singular alleys and spectacular arches, there is the Da Fidalma Restaurant, a historic family-run Sorano restaurant, here the flavors are the authentic ones of the past, from first courses to second courses of meat, a real delight! Piazza Busatti 6 – tel. 0564633056, la Cantina Ottava Rima offers simple dishes, with great attention to the short supply chain, all accompanied by excellent wines, the ideal solution for those who appreciate the simple authenticity of a good cheese and salami platter, a first course and, why not, a tasty fondue, Via del Borgo 25 – tel. 3498024196. At the Hosteria del Borgo you will find traditional Tuscan cuisine and family hospitality, with a wonderful view over the valley of the Lente river, Via del Borgo 42/44 – tel. 3332042110. We close with a flourish with the Cantina dei Sapori, a welcoming place that offers typical local cuisine, tasting of typical products such as meats and cheeses, soups and bruschetta, Via della Madonnina 2/4 – tel. 0564633748.

WHERE TO SLEEP IN SORANO



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EVENTS

Between Tufo and Beer

Last week of August

When culture, beer and good food meet, a party can only be a success. Just ask the hundreds of people who attend this festival every year: among the things not to be missed are the exquisite local and international beers and music from all over the world.