Medieval Villages

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Sorano - View
Sorano-Fortezza-OrsiniSorano - The Lente RiverSorano - Porta dei Merli

Located in the southern part of the Tuscany region Sorano is one of the most characteristic medieval villages of the area. The small town is rich in art and history; in particular the presence of an ancient flourishing Jewish community is still strong.

The unique town was built in tuff’s stone carved from the same hill on which it is located. The origin of the city is Etruscan like almost all the communities present in the region.

Sorano is situated at the feet of the Rocca Orsini, a 14th century fortress. This is considered one of the best examples of military construction of the time. The Orsini family ruled the city for centuries during the Middle Ages. Trying to improve the economy of the area they welcomed the Jewish population that was escaping from the Papal State.

At the beginning of the 17th century the Medici family took over the Orsini’s possessions. They were strictly connected with the Catholic Church: a Ghetto was created and the Jews of Sorano were forced to live inside its walls.

However the Jewish community kept growing until the 19th century. When the new King of Italy abolished all the restrictions for the Jews many families started to move in bigger cities looking for a better life. The community of Sorrano lost power and eventually disappeared. Luckily the signs of their presence are still very strong.

Things to see

Passing by the ancient entrance of the former Ghetto it is possible to see the marks left by the doors used to close the ghetto between sunset and sunrise. Signs of the Synagogue, the oven of the unleavened bread and many other traces of the historical community are yet visible in old buildings.

An older synagogue located outside the ghetto’s perimeter is now the venue for local events and exhibitions’.