Sorano: the Tuscan Maremma and the city in the tuff
In the heart of the Tuscan Maremma is located Sorano, an ancient village of Etruscan origin carved inside a tuff wall, a light and easily workable volcanic rock. Thanks to its peculiarity, Sorano is also known as the “Matera della Toscana” and is only an hour’s drive from Capalbio. Inside its walls you can enjoy suggestive lay streets, houses, niches, cellars and towers from which to admire a spectacular panorama characterized by the dense and lush Mediterranean scrub crossed by the stream below, the River Lente.
The village belonged for many years to the Aldobrandeschi family, who commissioned the construction of an impressive masterpiece of military architecture that still dominates the historic center of Sorano: the Orsini Fortress. The structure actually passed in the hands of the Orsini thanks to the marriage that united the two families. To celebrate the happy event, the Orsini had an important coat of arms made. Today the fortress can be visited entirely and houses the Civic and Archaeological Museum dedicated to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Another place of interest of the city is the Collegiate Church of San Nicola, a religious building of medieval origin inside which you can admire an elegant travertine baptismal font dating back to 1563.
During a trip to Sorano, you cannot miss a walk along the Vie Cave, ancient and fascinating open-air Etruscan paths carved into the tufa bedrock. These are located within the Città del Tufo Archaeological Park and will lead you to discover the Etruscan necropolis. The emotions you will feel when crossing these tunnels will be unique and indescribable because they are long and narrow paths located in a natural, fairytale and magical environment. The dizzying walls will accompany you along the way, on foot or on horseback riding, and during which you will come across numerous tombs and engravings of the Etruscan period, or in some “devil-scares” recesses of medieval origin. The worn paving testifies that in the past these communication routes were widely used, although no one knows what their precise function was. Among the most famous and suggestive Vie Cave there are the Via Cava del Cavone and the Via Cava di San Sebastiano with its walls that reach up to 25 meters in height.
Throughout Sorano are still visible the testimonies left by the Jewish community, who lived inside the Ghettos. Along the defensive walls of the city, you can still see the Mezuzah, ritual objects of Jewish culture, but also the signs of the hinges where the door that closed the ghetto at sunset and reopened it to the city the next morning was hung. The Synagogue of Sorano remained one of the most important places of worship in the city until the Jewish community moved to Pitigliano.