Italy
Sorano

Here you’ll find travel reports about Sorano. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

4 travelers at this place:

  • Day33

    Sovana

    September 28, 2017 in Italy

    We woke up this morning, the husband asked "Wife, what is the proposed agenda today?", I answered with "Today's agenda includes a 5 hour round trip of driving!", the husband didn't think that sounded like a great plan, eventually acquiesced, and the rest, as they say, is history. We had a GREAT DAY!

    So we headed off toward Sovana. Sovana was Etruscan by origin, becoming a Roman municipality in the 5th century. (I looked up Etruscan civilisation, whichWikipedia described as "the modern name given to a powerful and wealthy civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio dating from circa 600BC".)

    It did take us 2.5 hours to drive there, but it was through beautiful countryside and not a great deal of traffic. But the drive was worth it - the village of Sovana was breathtaking! Sovana itself is perched (clinging to?) on the side of a hill and the valley below is dotted with little caves. There are magnificent views across the valley which is lushly green.
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  • Day33

    Vie Cave Etruscha

    September 28, 2017 in Italy

    One of the main attractions outside of Sovana is a series of walking trails which take you through the hill side on ancient Etruscan paths, where there are caves and tracks etched into the landscape. There are also a number of necropoli and other monuments scattered throughout the countryside, but we focussed on a walk through one path and back along another. It had the added advantage of taking us across the gorge with views back across to Sovana, which was spectacular.

    We walked for about 2 hours through the hills. The track we took to the other side was obviously quite well used, however we decided to take what turned out to be the road considerably less travelled on the way back. The path was not that well signed, steep and covered with leaf litter, which made it a bit treacherous in our "not built for hiking" shoes. I did slip on a steep bit, hit my head on the ground (ouch!) but otherwise, it was a great trek through the forest. We were all pretty impressed!

    It was possible to still see in the caves the marks made by whatever implements were used to carve them out in the first place. The tracks were impressive in terms of their depth. Rather enterprising people those Etruscans!
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  • Day28

    We were on a Choo Choo

    December 10, 2017 in Italy

    That was on Sunday, and this post is late. I will claim a medical certificate as I'm nursing a cold. Although it does not slow me during the day, I'm rather unmotivated once back at the apartment. Also, planning for after Rome needed to be done. We are going south to Matera, where the ancient cave dwellings are still occupied, and Naples.

    Back to Sunday, and our Choo Choo ride.

    It was a chilly minus 5 deg C when we walked through the misty, early morning medieval streets of Siena. The town was yet to wake, the streets were quiet. Emersed in the old grey buildings and cobbled streets of the Middle Ages, we were reminded of modernity only with the tiny garbage trucks, smaller than an average Australian ute, and the 3 sets of escalators that took us from Siena town atop a hill to the train station at the bottom. Led by the stream of smoke that rose from the train tracks, we hurried to catch the train. It was a turn of the century old steam train (literally manufactured in 1900) that would take us through picturesque Val D'Orca to San Quirico d Orcia, a little Tuscan hilltop village with its annual olive festival.

    Riding on an original steam train has a charm and thrill that is just indescribable. To be greeted by a 3 men brass band and be surrounded by wildly gesticulating, loud Italians who were all just as excited added to the atmosphere. We saw the engineer manually attach the carriages to the locomotive, then oil and check all the bits that needed oiling and checking. Then it was the actual chug - - chug - - chug - -chug out of the station, slow accelerating chug- chug- chug to chugachugachuga as we passed through the rolling Tuscan countryside. Magical!

    And the 3 men brass band were in the train. Going from carriage to carriage, they played Christmas carols and songs we could recognise and sing to in English. We just giggled all journey, stopping only to "ohhhh" wide-eyed at the scenery.

    San Quirico de Orcia is just the sweetest little medieval hamlet atop a hill surrounded by the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. The towns people were so welcoming and friendly. Whatever we wanted and wherever we were, they would somehow find someone who spoke a little broken English to help interprete. We saw a flag throwing competition called by the town prier. We ate skewers of barbecued meat, panini rolls with suckling pig, and all sorts of sausages and stuffed meats. We even managed a tour of a micro beer brewery, with an interpreter borrowed from the escargot stand, used their bathroom and had a taste of Tuscan beer. Of course, we tasted lots of olive oil on pieces of bread as big as my palm. Everyone wanted us to taste everything in their range. We were very very well fed. It was altogether a totally
    Italian experience. What I found most hilarious was that hardly any one spoke a word of English, but all through the festive town, the Christmas carols blaring through loudspeakers, were all in English.

    After 4 hours in town and walking a tiny part of the pilgrim trail outside town, we were chuga-chugged to various stages of sleepiness and sleep on the journey back to Siena.
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  • Day4

    Oh Look! A Castle!

    October 13, 2017 in Italy

    We arrived in Sorano a town on a cliff near Pitgliano and spent the night in Fortezza Sorano, the castle/fort overlooking the town. Small and only a few shops, but one was an olive wood store where I should have filled my suitcase with stuff for the store. We even went back in the morning to do just that, but sadly they had weren't open and we had to hit the road. More accurately the Vie Cave (VEE-ay, CAH-vay). We haven't yet escaped the ancient Etruscans. These roads are Carved out of the rock and in places we saw are more than 20 metres deep and only a couple metres wide. And they were CARVED OUT BY HAND! They connect many small hamlets and cities especially in Southern Tuscany (where the 'tufo' rock is quite soft. In fact Sorano where we spent the night is connected to neighbouring town Sovana by such a road and until the 1940's it was the ONLY way to travel between the two towns! We (as in I) decided that may be a little too far to trek, and settled on hiking in & back out. Time to break out my trusty trekking stick (yes, it's a CANE- I get that!) from Peru. This thing is invaluable for an old 'kneeless' gimp like myself, of course the fact that I recently did one of my shoulders in, means there's only one arm choice, but still helps SO much, especially on the downhills!
    This was another 'off the beaten track' visit, we met a total of 3 people on a half hour hike, it was nature and history, that's it. To me there is something magical about touching a rock face where I know the hands of others 2500 years ago did the same. These roads are a powerful place.
    From the hike we moved on to another town - I think at this time I will stop saying hilltop town, it's redundant. They are ALL hilltop towns! Pitigliano is the largest in the area with about 4000 people, plus lots of tourists. A great spot for a coffee and a few pictures before we move on to our next stop and then to the Italian coast for the night.
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Sorano

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