fb track

Santo Stefano a Sorano, one village, 1000 stories

A sacred place popular since prehistorical times

Map for 44.331111,9.934241

A solitary church, built in river cobblestones, which was a reference point for pilgrims travelling along the via Francigena.

This is the Filattiera area, in the heart of Lunigiana: Pieve di Santo Stefano di Sorano is an important archaeological site, a testament to the peoples who ruled the area in the distant past. A place of worship in prehistorical times (the church still houses a female stele statue, used as building material and walled into the step of the presbytery in the right-hand nave), the area was home to a Roman farm, perhaps populated by the gens Suria (1st century BCE).

In the 7th century, the place was definitely occupied by the Kastron Sereon, guarding the defensive Byzantine line. The church holds memories of Leodgar, the Longobard steward or bishop, who died during the era of King Aistulf, who, according to a stone now moved into the nearby church of San Giorgio, began the Christianization of the Lunigiana area, destroying stone idols and founding hospices.

Santo Stefano di Sorano was mentioned in the 10th century by Sigeric, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who visited the area briefly during his return from Rome. Between the 12th and 13th centuries, with the castling of the hill behind the village and the construction of the church of San Giorgio, the village of Sorano was isolated in the valley, though it did not lose its religious functions.

After collapses in the Nineties, painstaking restoration work enabled this historic building to be reopened to the public. The church has a nave and two aisles, separated by circular pillars. On one side, a stumpy bell tower rises up, resembling a guard tower. The apses are particularly interesting, with hanging arches and pilasters. Like many other buildings in the area, you can see Northern Italians influences at work here.