Guided visits of archaeological interest:
Mount Soratte has been an important religious centre since antiquity. The
paths meander through the historic centre or travel along panoramic paths,
taking you to churches, monasteries, historic buildings, hermitages, retreats
and cliff-top churches.
Guided woodland walks
We will accompany you through the forest of mount Soratte, crossing woodland,
Mediterranean shrubland, calcareous crests, karst shafts, a great variety
of wild plants and the tracks of small animals, as well as the noteworthy
Thanks to its geomorphical structure, Soratte is ideal for paragliding, above
all in the spring and summer months. There are both thermal flights, making
use of the hotter currents of air which emanate from the slopes or from the
valleys, and dynamic flights, making use of the wind which rises in the mountains
to create a cushion of air along the crests, which is ideal for gliding. The
take-off is situated on the summit of the mountain, near church San Sylvester,
at a height of 691 mt., with an optimal south west wind. It can be reached
by following the road which runs from the village to the convent and by then
walking towards the summit for around 200 mt.
On reaching Mount Soratte (691 mt.) standing alone in the middle of the Roman
countryside, from the top there marvellous view of the Appennine mountains,
Lake Bracciano and the Tyrrenian Sea the same sight that appeared to those
who in the early Middle Ages came to this hilltop in search of solitude in
which to meditate, setting up hermitages that were later transformed into
sanctuaries and churches. While the temple to Apollo, god of the sun, can
no longer be seen on Mount Soracte white with snow, as Horace described it,
on its ruins, partially visible in the crypt, stands the Sanctuary-hermitage
of St. Sylvester which can be reached by various routes either on foot or
on horseback inside the Soracte Nature Reserve amongst caves, green olive
trees, woods of broad-leaved trees inhabited by small mammals and birds. According
to legend, given credit by Dante whose lines are carved in theentry portal
of the hermitage, Pope Sylvester came here during the persecutions by the Emperor
Constantine who, when he was converted to Christianity, was baptised by Sylvester
The hermitage tour proposed by the local
authorities begins at the Church of Santa Lucia (1596) on the lowest peak
of the mount, where there are few remains of the dwellings used by the hermits.
From there the tour continues towards the Church of Sant'Antonio on the southeast slope, dating perhaps from 1532, where the Prior of all the Mount Soracte hermits lived. Going back the next stop is the Sanctuary of S. Maria delle Grazie, built upona chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, whose image, painted on the wall, was particularly venerated during the 16th century. Here Camaldolite, Franciscan and Cistercian hermits and priest lived.
The Cistercians converted the hermitage
into a monastery in 1628.
Continuing on towards the top, there are
a few remains of the S.Sebastian Hermitage (16-17th century) and on the biggest
peak, the Church of St. Sylvester, the original structure of which Carloman
had restored in 747, after its destruction by the barbarians. It has a rectangular
layout, preceded by an atrium with two aisles and a large central arch, and
a nave and two aisles surmounted by barrel volts. The church is decorated
with frescoes dating from the 1200-1400s partly ascribed to the 14th century
Roman school, the most interesting of which are those on the life of St.Barbara.
Outside there are a few traces of the monastery to which the church was annexed built according to some sources by San Nonnoso native of Sant'Oreste (6th century). To him amongst others, the monastery has been linked the legend of a miracle connected with the production of olive oil, that in those time, like that of wine, had survived because of the principle of self sufficiently preached by St. Benedict.
A separate route leads to the Santa Romana Hermitage on the north-east slope
of Mount Soratte, today only a ruin while the church (1218) is inside a karst
cave that was perhaps the site of pagan worship in ancient times. An inscription
on the altar commemorates the fact that it was St. Sylvester who baptised
the saint and there is a marble bath that was once used in a ceremony by women
who were unable to breast-feed.
FESTIVALS AND RELIGIOUS TRADITION
Madonna di Maggio on the last Sunday
in May in which there is a magical torch light procession, the Fiaccolata al
Soratte, a tradition dating back hundreds of years, in which bonfires placed
on the slopes of Mount Soratte.
To get to Monte Soratte, take the Via Flaminia until you reach a 42 km sign
at a crossroads. Take the road to S.Oreste. After 3 km you will find yourself
in this delightful village made up of noble palaces and churches dated from
the 14th to the 17th centuries. A perfect example of a Renaissance town,
aristocratic in character. The 691 metres high Monte Soracte is a natural
defence for S.Oreste.
You can make the trip by car followed by a ten minutes walk along a footpath.
There you will find the church of S. Sylvester, with frescoes dated from the
11th century. But the most spectacular thing is the panoramic view all around,
which sweeps down to the sea.
The story of Monte Soratte is crowded with myths and legends: it was here
that Pope Sylvester I° took refuge to escape from the Emperor Constantine;
in S. Romana church water flowing from the rock is a magic fountain, ideal
for curing the after-effects of childbirth; in its maze of underground tunnels
and caves the German army hid its fantastic thesauri when retreating from