Monte Soratte
Mount Soratte seen from Via Flaminia
Highest point
Elevation691 m (2,267 ft)
Coordinates42°15′N 12°30′E / 42.250°N 12.500°E / 42.250; 12.500
Monte Soratte is located in Italy
Monte Soratte
Monte Soratte
Monte Soratte is located in Lazio
Monte Soratte
Monte Soratte
Monte Soratte (Lazio)

Monte Soratte (ancient: Soracte) is a mountain ridge in the Metropolitan City of Rome, central Italy. It is a narrow, isolated limestone ridge with a length of 5.5 km (3.4 mi) and six peaks. Located some 10 km (6.2 mi) south east of Civita Castellana and c. 45 km (28 mi) north of Rome, it is the sole notable ridge in the Tiber Valley. The nearest settlement is the village of Sant'Oreste. Saint Orestes or Edistus, after whom the settlement is named, is said to have been martyred near Monte Soratte.

The highest summit is 691 m (2,267 ft) above sea-level. The ridge is part of a 444-hectare (1,100-acre) Natural Reserve housing a variety of vegetation and fauna.[1] It is also characterized by the so-called Meri, pits which can be up to 115 metres (377 ft) deep.

History and sights

The area was used by the ancient Italic peoples of the area (Sabines, Capenates, Falisci) and the Etruscan civilization for the cult of the God Soranus.[2] Mount Soratte was mentioned by Horace ("vides ut alta stet nive candidum Soracte?" Carm. i. 9), and Virgil, who stated that Apollo was its guardian deity.

The hermitage of St. Sylvester is just below the summit. According to a legend, its church was founded by Pope Sylvester, who had taken refuge there to escape Constantine's persecution. The church houses 14th- and 15th-century frescoes.[3] Another four hermitages are on the ridge.[4]

The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was built in 1835 over a pre-existing 16th-century edifice and houses a once highly venerated image of the Madonna.[citation needed]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe mentioned the peak in Italian Journey, his diary of his travels through Italy from 1786–1788. He wrote that "Soracte stands out by itself in magnificent solitude. Probably this mountain is made of limestone and belongs to the Apennines."[5]

In his 1902 memoir The Path to Rome, Hilaire Belloc sketched the mountain in the final days of his walking pilgrimage from Toul and wrote: "It stood up like an acropolis, but it was a citadel for no city. It stood alone, like the soul that once haunted its recesses and prophesied the conquering advent of the northern kings."[6]

During World War II, after the 8 September 1943 Frascati air raid, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring moved his headquarters from Frascati to the bunkers in Monte Soratte.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Riserva Naturale Monte Soratte". Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  2. ^ Rissanen, Mika (17 April 2013). "The Hirpi Sorani and the Wolf Cults of Central Italy". Arctos. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Frescoes in the Church of San Silvestro" (in Italian). Associazione Avventura Soratte. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Perimetro Istitutivo Della Riserva Naturale Monte Soratte" (PDF) (in Italian). Provincia di Roma. 1997. Retrieved 25 July 2011.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Goethe, Johann W. (1970). Italian Journey. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin. p. 127. ISBN 0-14-044233-2.
  6. ^ Belloc, Hilaire (1902). The Path to Rome. New York, New York: Longmans, Green and Co. p. 433. ISBN 9780049140172.
  7. ^ Owen, Richard (5 August 2003). "Italians open Nazi bunker to tourists". The Times. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  8. ^ "The Bunker of the Monte Soratte" (in Italian). L'Associazione Bunker Soratte. Retrieved 26 July 2011.