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jerry grasso | profile | all galleries >> Italy 2011 >> Soriano nel Cimino tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Soriano nel Cimino

Looking at Soriano, you can see its history expanding outward from the castle. At the center, the castle's main tower dates back to Roman-Etruscan times. In the 13th century, Pope Nicolas III (Orsini) built the castle around the tower, where it became a summer papal getaway. A small medieval village then sprung up surrounding the castle. As you look beyond the medieval village, you can clearly see something of an outer ring, which was constructed during the renaissance.

Soriano nel Cimino is believed to have originally been an Etruscan village named 'Surrina Vetus', which had been conquered by the Romans thousands of years ago. However the earliest historical documents referring to Soriano date back to the year 747 AD, which consist of papal documents that mention Soriano as being part of the Tuscania diocese.

In 1278, Pope Nicolas III, of the Orsini family constructed the taller tower of the castle as his summer residence. This lasted nearly a century, until the castle was sold to the Holy See, after which it changed hands many times through the years as the balance of power shifted in the region.

In 1497 the Orsini family allied with the king of France, Charles the VIIIth. Against the will of Rome, Soriano became the theater of an important open-field battle that saw the papal army defeated by the Orsinis. They were then defeated and forced to leave Soriano by Cesare Borgia, (Valentino) in 1503.

Soriano and its castle continued to change hands, usually among various members of the pope's family until 1588, when it was sold to the Altemps, who remained lords of the feud for 136 years, until 1715 when i was sold again to the Albani family, who then built the Papacqua Palace and restored numerous monuments. In the first half of the 19th century, Soriano was allotted to Agostino Chigi, a descendant of the Albani family. In 1848 the Chigi family, who now occupied the Papacqua Palace, renounced their feudal rights to the Holy See. After the short Roman Republic of Mazzini (1849) and some isolated insurrection attempts, on the 12th of September 1875, Soriano was finally conquered by the Italian troops during their march toward Rome.
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