THE MEDIEVAL VILLAGE OF SOGNA
”Over the valley, down the Siena road, a right turn on to a white road, and then through pastoral countryside, we came on a most amazing sight; the borgo Sogna, brought back from ruin. This idyllic village dosing in the sun………" Frances Mayes Bringing Tuscany Home ©2004
Entirely private, the 11th century medieval hamlet of Sogna consists of 12 unique homes with a swimming pool, sauna and tennis court.
Perched 400 meters high atop a hillside sits this stunning medieval borgo, facing the Val d'Ambra and surrounded by wooded terraces with almost a thousand trees; olive, walnut, almond and fruit trees all overlooking the ancient forests of Tuscany.
The borgo of Sogna was restored in 1996, carefully retaining all of its original character. The vestiges of the original fortressed walls still overlook the borgo and its restored 14th century church, which retains its original bell tower. Strolling down from the church, along the cobbled paths, you catch momentary glimpses of the surrounding densely forested hills as you inhale the intoxicating heady scents of the rosemary and lavender bushes growing in abundance throughout Sogna. With its panoramic views of the Val d’Ambra; Sogna offers our guests the chance to relax, sunbathe, swim in the oasis shaped pool, play a game of tennis, eat alfresco under the jasmine covered pergola or just do nothing at all! With shops, excellent restaurants and banks all within an easy ten minute drive. In season, figs, apricots, plums and grapes grow throughout the borgo and there are few pleasures greater than eating a freshly picked, sun warmed piece of fruit with your morning coffee.
“Sogna, instead, looks as if time rolled back, showing the village as it once was. No wires, no shiny bricks, no kitsch, no artificial landscaping. Here is the dignity of simplicity.” Frances Mayes Bringing Tuscany Home ©2004
A SHORT HISTORY OF SOGNA
Sogna, a 11th century hamlet that had been abandoned for more than 60 years has been meticulously restored by the renowned restoration engineer and designer Fulvio Di Rossa less than a decade ago. He is often cited by Frances Mayes, best selling author of “Under the Tuscan Sun”, “Bella Tuscany”, “In Tuscany” and most recently “Bringing Tuscany Home”, as being amongst the best in his field.
The exact building date of the castle of Sogna is unknown, but there are sources stating that in the 11th century the church and parish of San Tommaso in Sogna were under the authority of the Abbey of Ruoti - showing that there was a community living on the hilltop by that time.
In the 13th century, the castle of Sogna belonged to the Ubertini family. This is confirmed by Repetti, who mentions that in 1286 a certain Rinaldo, son of Orlando Malavolti, was nominated by the nobleman Ubertino of Sogna, son of Gualtieri, as his representative in the signing of a truce with the comune of Siena.
In the middle ages, the Ambra valley was devastated by continuous struggles among the local feudal lords and wars between Siena, Arezzo and Florence. Many castles were attacked, plundered and put on fire. The castle of Sogna also suffered the effects of these conflicts.
Sogna fell into the hands of the Senese, who had come to support the Florentines, in 1307. The fact that the Ubertini placed it under the Florentine protectorate in 1404 did not lead to any immediate improvement, because the castle was conquered and destroyed in 1430, during the war of Siena and Milan against Florence. Florentine rule later brought some peace and tranquillity to the valley, and its inhabitants were finally able to re-organise their daily lives without fear of invasion and plundering.
The defences of Sogna were never repaired. Only a few traces have survived in the course of the centuries. Papal tithe registers confirm that the area was devastated: the church of Sogna had paid 2 lire and 17 soldi in 1278, but in 1302 it paid only 18 soldi, and the curial benefices were considered so poor that the parish priest was not obliged to keep a burning light by the Holy Sacrament.
The village was completely abandoned in the years just before World War II.