Sorano lies in southern Tuscany, and is one of the region’s famous tuffa towns. This stone is the material used to build this town’s houses, and gives them their characteristic sandy-golden hue. It sits on a hillside and features two main areas: the fortress, separated from the old center by a drawbridge.
Sorano was first mentioned in the 3rd Century BC, when its was under the influence of the nearby Sovana, another tuffa town. This was during the Etruscan era, though it is thought there was a settlement in this area long before this time. Along with its neighboring Sovana, the Aldobrandeschi family and the Orsini family were once rulers of the area. Eventually, it joined the Duchy of Tuscany in the 17th Century.
Sorano’s old village consists of many tiny vicoli and stairways that navigate its steep location. This very much preserves its Medieval character, much like the nearby Pitigliano and Sovana. These are both very similar to Sorano, and well worth a visit whilst in the area. In Sorano’s core you will find its 14th-century Cathedral. The façade of this structure displays baroque and neoclassical influences from various renovations throughout the years.
The town’s castle is highly fortified, given that it suffered many attacks over its lifetime. It’s name is Rocca degli Orsini, after one of Sorano’s ruling families. In fact, you can still see their emblems, along with that of the Aldobrandeschi within this structure: lions and bears respectively. This fortress first saw its construction start in the 14th Century, however also underwent renovations in the mid-16th Century. This is an important example of Renaissance military architecture, and features frescoes from the Sienese school of art.
Whilst in Sorano, you can taste the local specialities. The majority of these use sheep’s milk which local dairies turn into cheeses such as ricotta and caciotta.
Due to its difficult position, there is no train station in Sorano. The best way to arrive here is either by car or bus. Alternatively, you could take a train to the relatively nearby Allerona-Castel Viscardo station, and then take a taxi transfer.