Soriano nel Cimino is a delightful Italian medieval village located on the side of the Cimini Mountains just below the level where chestnut trees grow and within easy reach of a beechwood forest. It is surrounded by agriculture, notably hazel nut and olive trees. One of the most endearing features of Soriano is that you can rub shoulders with the locals as they go about their daily lives. Wandering from one small shop to the other offers you more than the chance to buy locally grown and delicious tasting seasonal fruit and vegetables, (especially those tomatoes) you immediately become an observer of and participant in the art of shopping Italian style. You will quickly see that shopping is not performed merely as a routine task rather it involves conversations about the food being bought, where it was grown and importantly how it is going to be prepared and cooked. Better not to be in a hurry as little happens fast, especially in the butcher shop where there are women and men butchers who chat as they serve each customer and where even buying mince involves some serious decisions like deciding if you want beef, veal, pork or a combination, choosing the pieces of meat, deciding that you have the correct balance and then watching as they are minced.
The local latteria offers wonderful selections of cheeses, from local Soriano pecorino (sheep’s cheese) to Mozzarella di bufala fresh from Naples daily, cheeses from Puglia etc. There is a wonderful deli (Teobaldi), a fresh pasta shop and many bread/ pizza al taglio shops. Several bars, especially Caffe Centrale offer friendly places to drop in, drink coffee and even have an evening aperitif. Bar Roma has an incredible range of delicious small cakes that are not to be missed. Local restaurants are very good and we can recommend Ai Tre Scalini and the restaurant at Palazzo Catalani for excellent quality food and a very pleasant dining experience. Due Camini and dei Frati also offer very good food and a cosy ambience. Overall, Soriano nel Cimino is the perfect place to be for an Italian village experience and also can be a wonderful base for exploring nearby towns or places that are further afield.
There are a number of religious and historical events throughout the year and in summer, July and August there are special festivities that include theatre, musical entertainment and artistic and sporting events. A special event in Soriano is the chestnut festival (Sagra delle Castagne), which is held in during the first two weekends in October. Over 500 participants in medieval and renaissance costumes represent the four districts or contradas of the town (Papacqua, Rocca, San Giorgio, Trinita). The districts compete for honour and glory and display their skills in ring jousting, archery and flag waving. Festival events include re-enactment of 15th and 16th century battles, investiture and duels of medieval knights, swordfights, the revelation of the secrets and torture chamber of the Orsini castle to name a few. Naturally, the symbol of the festival, chestnuts, are abundant.
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