Santa Sofia

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Located in the Bidente Valley, this town has many Neolithic remains which attest to the presence of hunting populations in the area. Settled since prehistoric times, in Roman times Santa Sofia, like the whole Upper Bidente Valley, was ruled first by the center of Mevanìola and then by the powerful abbey of S. Ellero.

In the early Middle Ages the settlements of Mortano (on the right) and Santa Sofia (on the left) developed on the banks of the river Bidente. In the fifteenth century, part of the area came under the rule of the Florentine Medici family, with the exception of Mortano, that remained under the rule of the Church State. Florentine domination was more than just a military conquest, and its cultural involvement in all aspects of life had a lasting impact.

During the next period (1548 – 1811) and until the establishment of the Municipality, Santa Sofia was administered by the Podestà of Galeata. In 1923, like other towns on the Romagna side of the Tuscan Apennines, it became part of the province of Forlì. This was when Mortano and S. Sofia decided to merge and become one.

The main square, Piazza Matteotti, overlooks the riverbed of the Bidente. There are numerous buildings, most of them restored after the earthquake of 1918. In the square are the Civic Tower, the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), the former Crisolini Malatesta Palace, and the 16th-century Oratorio di San Cristoforo e Gonfalone, commissioned by the Giorgi Family.

In ancient times there was a hospital next to the Oratory. According to tradition, it was built on the spot where a precious crucifix from the 15th century was found, swept away by a devastating flood of the Bidente river. Palazzo Giorgi, now the seat of a credit institution, was built by the Mortani family in the 17th century, with late Baroque elements that are particularly evident in the façades; it has a beautiful garden at the back, now turned into a public park.

Santa Sofia is part of the National Park of the Casentinesi Forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna and is the seat of the Park Community. There is a strong emphasis on music (Roveroni Municipal Band, Music School, presence of young music groups) and contemporary art (Vero Stoppioni Contemporary Art Gallery, open-air sculpture park in the Bidente riverbed, Campigna Prize).

How to get there:
Santa Sofia is about 40 km from Forlì, driving along Provincial Road No. 4 del Bidente.

Other news:
Santa Sofia is one of the municipalities of the National Park of the Casentino Forests, Monte Falterona and

Campigna and seat of the Park Community. Center of activities related to forestry, agriculture, animal husbandry, handicrafts and agro-industry.

How to reach Ridracoli:
 Strada provinciale 112, Borgo di Ridracoli, Bagno di Romagna (FC)  (access from Santa Sofia is recommended)

  • from Forlì and Stia Pratovecchio: ex SS310 Bidentina km 47.5 Santa Sofia
  • from Cesena and Roma: E45 and Provincial 26

Contacts: IDRO Ecomuseum of the Waters of Ridracoli


It seems that the name of Ridracoli, a small group of houses, located on the homonymous branch of the river Bidente, originated from “Rio degli Oracoli”, from the Latin Rivus Oracolorum. This would indicate the presence of a pagan temple along this stream. In the temple it was believed that there was a sibyl that pronounced sentences addressed to travelers.

In the small nucleus in 1913 there were 326 people, down to 250 inhabitants in 1959, 120 in 1962, 43 in 1971 and only 3 in 2020.

The valley has regained vitality thanks to the construction of the dam above (1975-1982) that led the Bidente river to form a lake that penetrates for about 5 km into the heart of the mountain, capable of 33 million cubic meters of water to quench Romagna’s thirst.
The Ridracoli dam is a work of high engineering that since 1987 provides drinking water to the municipalities of Romagna and the Republic of San Marino.
The “Gigante della Romagna” (“Giant of Romagna”) is included in the territory of the Foreste Casentinesi National Park which, with its 36,426 hectares of uncontaminated forests between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, is among the largest and best preserved in Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017.

This area is the ideal environment where you cand spend wonderful days admiring the combination of technology and nature and between rationality and imagination.
In this evocative setting you can visit “IDRO”, Ecomuseum of the Waters of Ridracoli. It consists of a central headquarters and territorial poles: a technological pole to discover the secrets of the dam, a naturalistic pole that acts as a window on the National Park, from where you can take an exciting boat trip on the lake, and a landscape pole, a privileged observation point of the imposing structure of the dam.
IDRO welcomes visitors with exhibition halls dedicated to the dam and the Romagna aqueduct, the distribution
of water on the planet, the importance of water in the world of living beings, water as an essential source of life and the discovery of clean energies. Accommodation facilities, obtained from ancient buildings and farmhouses, are surrounded by greenery; trails and mule tracks lead to the discovery of the “Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park”.

Services provided:

  • Guided tours for schools and groups by reservation
  • Guided excursions by electric boat
  • Canoe and canoe-trekking excursions
  • Guided e-bike tours
  • Educational workshops
  • Seasonal thematic initiatives (guided tours, exhibitions, tastings…)
  • Bookshop, café and food court

The small town of Campigna, in the centre of the Casentino Forest National Park, is a popular destination for both summer and winter tourism.

Campigna offers its visitors spaces immersed in nature and itineraries of different levels of difficulty, from those for experienced hikers to easier paths. The National Park has created in Campigna the Abetina Nature Trail and the "Trail for all... the senses", suitable for people with disabilities.

Today, the center of Campigna is known for its warm welcome and is a lively tourist destination, both in summer and in winter, for its well-equipped ski slopes (downhill and cross-country), for the presence of a snowpark, a bobsleigh run and innumerable paths of different levels, both in winter and for snowshoeing.

The Casentino Forests National Park, Monte Falterona and Campigna, is named after the ancient forest of Campigna, and rightly respects the unity and continuity of both the landscape and the history of these splendid, centuries-old "cultivated" forests, which the monks of Camaldoli, the Opera del Duomo di Firenze and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (which owned them until the Unification of the State) took special care of. The Campigna forest was also known as the "Selva dell'Opera" and it was in Campigna that the Opera del Duomo di Firenze built a guardhouse in the 16th century, which later became the hunting lodge of the Lorena family (now a hotel).

The Lorena family took good care of the forest and its proper use: the Grand Duke's Walk, a route that still exists today, is a kind of early expression of the area's tourist vocation. Today, the centre of Campigna is renowned for its hospitality and is a popular tourist destination both in summer and winter, thanks to its well-equipped ski slopes (downhill and cross-country).

How to get there: Campigna is 24 km from Santa Sofia along the provincial road no. 4 del Bidente.

Additional information: At the end of August, the Pro loco Corniolo - Campigna organizes the event "Dal bosco al desco" (From the forest to the table), a day dedicated to artisans and markets of typical products.

Pro Loco Corniolo: Campigna, Via della Madonna, 14 Loc. Corniolo | 0543 980304
Centro Visita Parco Nazionale Foreste Casentinesi: Via Nefetti, 3 - S. Sofia | 0543 971297 | |

The village, known since 1200 as Castrum Pondi and destroyed in 1595, is four kilometers from Santa Sofia, on the left side of the provincial road leading to Spinello. What remains of the Rocca is an imposing dry-stone wall on the north side and, inside, vaulted covered rooms dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. The fortress was the seat of the Pondo community until the suppression of the feud by Napoleon at the end of the 18th century. After the earthquake of 1768, the fortress collapsed and the governors of the local lords (Ubaldini, Malatesta, Aldobrandini and Doria-Pamphili) moved to Mortano. This marked the beginning of the castle's decline.

The Sanctuary of the Madonna degli Occhi is worth a visit. It houses an image of the Virgin that belonged to a pre-existing Augustinian monastery that was abandoned by the friars and then suppressed during the pastoral visit of St. Charles Borromeo. In the ruins of the abandoned convent, in the late 1500's, the Virgin Mary appeared to a deaf and dumb shepherdess who began to speak. In 1873, a shrine dedicated to the Holy Virgin was built on the site of the appearance.

Five hundred meters away from the Sanctuary of Collina di Pondo, on the road to Saviana, there is the Fountain of the Eyes, which is believed to be miraculous for eye diseases and is visited by numerous believers.

Biserno is located on the border of the Casentino woods, Mount Falterona and the Campigna National Park, gathered around the church of Sant'Andrea, rebuilt in 1923 by Don Giovanni Spighi after the terrible earthquake of 1918.

The first references to the Castle of Biserno date back to 1091, and in 1371 Anglico described it as a strong "castrum", before it became part of the property of the Republic of Florence in the 15th century. The ancient castle stood at the top of the ridge that separates the Biserno valley from the Berleta and Corniolo valleys: here, today, is the Oratory of Castellaccio.

From Biserno it is possible to start excursions in the middle of nature: we remember the "Sentiero della Libertà'', which starts from the Cross of Biserno and follows the path of the partisans, reaching San Paolo in Alpe and Proseguefino to Celle and Pian del Grado. Along the route, panels and signs tell the story of the tragic events of April 1944.

A few kilometers from Biserno are also the Ridracoli dam and Idro - Ecomuseum of Water.

How to get there: It is located about 9 km from Santa Sofia.

The small town of Corniolo rises around the ancient village of stone houses. In the upper part of the town, in Piazza Pasquale II, we find the real jewel of the village: the church of S. Pietro (documented since the 12th century), whose current appearance, in Romanesque style, is due to the reconstructions carried out after the earthquakes of 1918-19. Inside there are prestigious works from the workshops of Giovanni della Robbia and Giulio Ponteghini from the 16th century.

Not far away, in Via della Madonna, is the Oratory of the Madonna delle Grazie, with interesting frescoes from the 15th and 16th centuries and colorful late Baroque decorations.

Corniolo is ideal to visit on foot, with a pleasant walk, and for the lovers of trekking there are numerous paths to follow, starting from the town or from the neighboring areas.

Corniolo is in fact a good starting point for excursions and walks in these valleys full of history and nature, with numerous small villages, uninhabited or inhabited only seasonally.

Among the destinations that can be reached on foot are San Paolo in Alpe, where there is also a bivouac, and the ruins of the ancient Castello del Corniolino, first documented in 1220, of which only the imposing walls and a round arch remain, overlooking the ridge and the woods of Campigna.

Very characteristic are also the lake of Poggio Baldi, located just before Corniolo and created in 2010 after a landslide, and the botanical garden of Valbonella, where you can admire a variety of plants.

Corniolo, with its many small uninhabited or seasonal villages, is a good starting point for excursions and walks in these valleys, rich in history and nature. A small paradise for trekking lovers, who can retrace the ancient mule tracks in an almost uncontaminated environment.

Also worth mentioning is the Valbonella Botanical Garden, 3 km from the village.

How to get there: From Santa Sofia, 15 km away, take the provincial road no. 4 del Bidente.

Additional information: On the last Sunday in June, the local Pro Loco organises the Patron Saint's Festival in S. Paolo in Alpe, with dancing, traditional games and popular music. In summer, numerous events enliven the village, while in winter the "streets of the nativity scenes" are set up.

Four and a half kilometers from the town of S. Sofia, in the direction of Campigna, on the provincial road 310, lies the small hamlet of Isola.

Around the year 1000 it was an important center, with a castle and a Benedictine abbey (11th century), of which only a few fragments remain today, included in the present church of S.Maria in Cosmedin, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1919. Named after the Roman deaconess who lived between the fifth and seventh centuries, it was united in 1520 with the Abbey of St. Ellero. A short distance from Isola, at the junction of the Ridracoli and Pietrapazza rivers, lies Bleda, famous as the birthplace of Raniero Ranieri (1050), the future Pope Pasquale II.

How to get there: It is located 4 km from Santa Sofia, along the Bidente Provincial Road no. 4.

In the Middle Ages it was an important centre due to the presence of the convent of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (of which sculptural fragments remain).

It is worth visiting the church of S. Maria in Cosmedin, inside which you can admire the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the Twelve Apostles, a 16th century work by G. Ponteghini.

The village of Spinello is located on the top of Mount Aiola, in a very scenic area, on the ridge that separates the valleys of Bidente and Savio, from where it is possible to see the valley of the Borello stream all the way to the sea.

Overlooked by the ruins of the ancient Malatesta fortress, the village is famous for its large and well-equipped sports center.

The ancient village of Spinello was destroyed by Jacopo Salviati, captain of the Florentine Republic, in his (unsuccessful) attempt to conquer the castle. Known since the 14th century, in the Middle Ages it was the highest fortress in Romagna, a fief of the Umbertini family.

Today the ruins of its tower and southwest bastion are visible.

Of great charm is the Romanesque-style church of Santa Maria in Equis, which partially collapsed in earthquakes: a recent restoration has recovered the facade and walls, while instead of the ceiling there is now ... the sky!

Just in front of the Church of Santa Maria in Equis we find the "Poetry Bell," one of the works of the "Garden of Solid Thoughts", an original open-air sculpture museum conceived in the early 2000s, with the placement of works along the streets of the hamlet.

On the outskirts of the village is the Sportilia multipurpose sports center, equipped with a conference center, medical center and guest quarters to accommodate teams and referees in retreat.

How to get there: From Santa Sofia, a 9 km winding road leads to Spinello.

Visit festivals in the land of Forlì...

This itinerary aims to point tourists to the culinary offerings of our land, with a culinary tradition famous throughout Italy.
Romagna, is in fact endowed with very fertile soils from which excellent natural products are obtained that can be enjoyed as soon as they are picked or prepared within sophisticated recipes to be served on the table.
It starts with the best-known and most popular events held in all the towns in the area. In Romagna, in fact, in every season of the year, it is possible to take part in countless festivals.

Monuments, churches, villas, palaces and relevant places

Natural parks and gardens, landscapes and breathtaking sights

Hiking, mountain biking or sightseeing trails

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