Flames, smoke and fireworks. Let the show begin! A unique experience awaits you if you are lucky enough be in Sant’Oreste during the days preceding the celebrations of the Madonna di Maggio (the Madonna of May). Thousands of canes arranged in piles on the Soratte mountain are set on fire when the procession arrives in Piazza Mola a Vento. A spectacular event that will light up the sky.
Only a few kilometres from Rome, Sant’Oreste sits on a foothill of the Soratte Mountain, between the Tiber and the Tyrrhenian Sea and. Its captivating charm drove Horatio to dedicate an ode to the village. You can forget any kind of chaos here. The sounds you will hear will only be those produced by nature. The historic centre of Sant’Oreste is still hemmed in by its ancient well-preserved defensive walls pierced by the imposing gates Porta Ladentro, Portacosta and Portavalle. Noteworthy sites outside the walls are the Church of San Lorenzo Martire, Palazzo Caccia; the Church of San Biagio, San Nicola and Santa Croce; the Church of Santa Mara Hospitalis and the Church of Sant’Edisto. Narrow streets, arches and step pathways will make for a pleasant stroll as you make your way up to the “Spiazzo”, as old town Sant’Oreste is familiarly called.
The most fascinating site remains the anti-nuclear bunker built by Mussolini, which extends kilometres inside the Soratte Mountain. A tour of this underground fortification takes two hours offers great insight into World War II and the cold war.
Typical dishes include “acquacotta” (a broth-based bread soup), the hand-made “frascarelli” with ricotta, small gnocchi with beans and “panemolle”, basically pasta with chick peas, tomatoes and rosemary poured over roasted slices of bread.