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CHESTNUTS & HAZELNUTS – THAT'S WHAT THE SORIANO TERRITORY IS ABOUT.
We took a drive up there the other day as amazingly we’d never stopped properly to have a look.
And we LOVED it!
Snuggled at the foot of the Cimini Mountains at the modest height of circa 500 mtrs asl, the town of Soriano nel Cimino looks like a nativity. With friendly folk, wonderful smells of wood smoke and amazing 360° views!
We were visiting the area during the annual Chestnut Festival and earlier in the month they’d held their annual “Palio of the Rings” where the 4 Rioni (districts) of Soriano compete with each other, first on horseback, where they have to get a type of jousting stick through a series of small metal hanging hoops, then in an archery tournament. This year's winner was Rione Papacqua (pictured above).
The whole town gets a Medieval make-over (the locals and the buildings) – we wish it could stay like this all year round but I suppose it will come down in the next few days, until next year.
I was puzzled by symbols and mention of Saint George everywhere – lots of Saint George-looking flags and a few dragons - even one of the 'Rione' is named after him! But some jolly old men of the village took time to explain to us that Saint George’s presence here is most likely legend, probably built around a metaphor for ‘good against evil’ (Saint George against his dragon) but there is an old tiny church dedicated to him, thought to have been built around 11th c. AD, pictured below, and whether he was really here or not, it made me feel at home!
And to round off - a couple of shots of the castle: Castello Orsini....which, until the 1980's, was being used as a very grim prison.