THE ORSINI CASTLE
The Soriano Castle consists of a large, massive construction – completed over the centuries – looking like a rectangular parallelepiped, overheading imposing foundations with barbicans, and a much ancient tower-palace traceable to the mid 13th century, built in place of a more modest outpost prior to 1200. The two big wards are connected on the North side by an “L” shaped massive wall (at the corner of which lies a cylindrical tower), while on the South side by a less significant construction marking the outer limits of the original court yard.
Both the parallepiped constuction and the more ancient tower-palace are surmounted by crowns of guelph merlons resting on hanging arches, supported by brackets. All around goes the uphill wall-walk (mounting counterclockwise) interrupted at its peak, by a crenellated rivellino and a lower quadrlateral tower, crenellated as well and resting on the same rivellino. Notwithstanding the extensive programme of changes and transformations undertaken throughout the centuries, the Rock of Soriano represents a clear example of Medieval art also in its interiors: from the bright, broad dining rooms located at the piano nobile to the dark, dreary basements. From 1894 to 1990, the Castle was made to serve as Correctional Establishment for the Mentally and Phisycally challenged by the Papal States firstly and the Italian State later, and ultimately as Community Service Home. This kind of exploitation has entailed huge alterations and even the construction of additional wards both inside and outside the surrounding walls.