Sorano is an ancient city that flourished in the Etruscan era. Given its position perched on a cliff and dug into the rock (like the nearby Pitigliano), Sorano is also known as the Matera of Tuscany with its rocky villages and charming pathways through the quarries, frequented since the Etruscan period.
Visiting it is like taking a journey through time: a typical and alluring village with all the houses leaning up against the rock, absorb the unique atmosphere in the picturesque alleys.
It's assumed that Sorano was initially inhabited by the Villanovan people, the first known civilization of the Iron Age. They were followed by the Etruscans and it later belonged to the Aldobrandeschi family who made it grow as a defensive village, fortifying it with ramparts and imposing itself as one of the most powerful fiefdoms of southern Tuscany for more than four centuries.
The two main access gates to the town are Porta di Sopra and Porta dei Merli (or Porta di Sotto): the first is located at the foot of the Orsini Fortress and leads to the heart of the historic center of Sorano. The second gate is located near the Masso Leopoldino and stands out for the family coat of arms it displays.
The Orsini Fortress is one of the most impressive fortified structures built by the Aldobrandeschi family and also houses the Museum of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Also worth visiting is the Collegiate Church of San Nicola which is located in the city center. Inside, you can admire the travertine baptismal font dating back to 1563. Among the main attractions of Sorano, you must see the Vie Cave, a complex network of paths, some of which are underground, dug into the tuff rock.
The unique Città del Tufo Archeological Park is where the greatest historical, archaeological and cultural treasures of Sovana, Sorano and Vitozza are found.
Here, you can admire, in addition to the Church of San Sebastiano and the Rocca Aldobrandesca, the necropolises carved into the rock by the Etruscans in the enchanting natural environment.
Among the splendid ancient tombs, the monumental Ildebranda in the Necropolis of Sovana is worth mentioning as it represents the transition from the archaic Etruscan era to the Roman one.
Protected and surrounded by thick vegetation that enhances its charm and mystery, there are also the rock tombs, the best known of which is the Tomb of the Mermaid, found near the lost city of Vitozza.
In addition, the whole area surrounding Sorano is rich in medieval fortifications such as the Castle of Montorio, the Rocca di Castell’Ottieri, and the Castle of Montebuono.
In the Tufo Area, springs of thermal water gush out at a constant temperature of 37.5 ° which feed the pools of the Terme di Sorano. The historic swimming pool called Il Bagno dei Frati dates back to the 15th century and was used by the friars who lived in the premises of the current parish church of Santa Maria dell'Aquila, located inside the residence.
Among the most traditional events in the country, is the Festa delle cantine, consisting of tastings of typical products and folk music. You can also find the tufo and beer festival which is four days in summer dedicated to music, local cuisine and beer.
On 30 December, however, a centuries-old peasant tradition is renewed in Piazza Busatti: at nightfall the great pyre is lit and traditional songs are sung around the fire.
All around the village there are vineyards, olive groves, wheat fields and sheep farms. This agricultural vocation has meant that the area is well-established as a source of high quality Maremma products such as Fagiolo Ciavattone and important dairy production.