The medieval Orsini Fortress of Sorano

orsini fortress
Sep20

The medieval Orsini Fortress of Sorano

Blog, History and Culture no responses

The Orsini Fortress is one of the most majestic examples of medieval military architecture of the whole of Tuscany. It was one of the most important strongholds!

The legend of the “impregnable fortress” is still being passed on and it can be read about in the chronicles of that time. The Fortress of Sorano has defended the border of Southern Tuscany and the underlying village, for a very long time. It has always been impregnable because of its position, reinforced by the ancient walls, and because the only  open side entrance was closed.

Inside the Fortress, in its oldest part, after passing the drawbridge, there is a little square, Piazza Cairoli, where you’ll find the Hotel della Fortezza, organized with 16 rooms, three luxury suites, elegantly furnished, with stunning views of the ancient village of Sorano.

Hotel della Fortezza, hidden in Southern Tuscany countryside, will grant you the possibility to have a unique stay, in the heart of the medieval centre of Sorano, in the Tuscan Maremma.

Sorano_fortezza_orsini_dal_masso_leopoldino

ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE FORTRESS

The picturesque hill-top town of Sorano has Etruscan roots and today it is characterized by the historic town centre which dates back to the Middle Ages, and it is dominated by the great Orsini Fortress, a perfect example of medieval military architecture.

The historical evidence that we have about the Orsini Fortress is dated back to 1300, at the time it was the residence of the Aldobrandeschi family. Until the end of the 14th century, due to the proximity of Sovana ( was the main center of the area at that time), Sorano remained at the borders of the principal historical events.

It was then inherited by Count Orsini Bertoldo in 1380 because of the dissipation of the whole Aldobrandeschi fortunes and property. For those interested in the history of this place, this can be confirmed by observing some architectural particulars and especially the structure of the fortress itself.

With the dominion of the Orsini family over the Aldobrandeschi and the contemporary decline of Sovana, Sorano became one of the principal centers of the area and the seat of the new powerful family.

Lost its military importance, the complex was inhabited near the end of 18th century from the last descendants of the Lorena dynasty.

The “fortezza” that you see today was constructed over three different periods. First came the castle, then the keep and two bastions with their connecting rampart walls and internal parade ground. And then, lastly, in the nineteenth century, a private residence.

A dry moat separates the castle and its residential palace of the Orsini counts from the military fortress.

Enter this incredible building from the south, through a travertine arch crowned by an inscription and a marble coat of arms belonging to Niccolò IV Orsini, the father of Sorano himself. Keep an eye out for the heraldic bear, that is the symbol of the Orsini Counts.

The complex of buildings now includes our hotel, a museum, a little chapel, the theatre of Count Niccolò IV Orsini, that are located in the oldest part of the fortress, and a secondary school which specializes in languages.