Renata Sorba was born in Asti and got her high school diploma at the Art School of the city. She spent a period of her life in London, where she refined her knowledge of the English language. She worked as an interpreter, a librarian and a bookseller.

During her adolescence she was diagnosed with a bilateral hearing impairment that was a real trauma both for her and her family. With the help of hearing prosthesis she regularly went to school and participated to voluntary works. Even though her hearing, despite the help of the prosthesis, wasn’t perfect, she tried to adopt some strategies and she didn’t think it was appropriate to tell everyone about her situation.

She practiced, in spite of her disease, every kind of sport, and in particular she loved swimming. However, during her period abroad she started having problems seeing at night, in fact she found it difficult to return home or to find her seat at the theatre.

When she came back to Italy she went to see a specialist who told her she had retinitis pigmentosa. For a couple of years she ignored her disease, but when she was almost thirty her sight field started to narrow and she was having more and more problems going out at night.

Renata Sorba is a member of the Equal Opportunities Commission of the city. During these years she has organized events, public performances and campaigns to raise awareness for people with sensorial disabilities. Recently Renata was nominated to be a honorary member of the Lions Guide Dogs Service Center in Limbiate and she will be given a prize on May 10th


Renata reached a level of blindness that prevented her from living a normal life, but the level was still too low to be included in the legally protected status. With the passing of time she became more and more blind till she reached a serious level of blindness.

In 1998 she attended a course for telephone operators, she learnt Braille language and in the year 2000 she got a stable job.

She has been completely blind since 2006: this condition made her reach the serenity and calmness she longed for a long time, also thanks to the help of her family and friends.


Since 2007 she has relied on the help of Rudy, her first guide dog, that helped her reach 80% of independence; the remaining 20% is the help of the people that surround her.

Every year she has an appointment with the Limbiate Day. Since she has had a guide dog she feels a sense of gratitude and belonging  towards the centre, the  instructors and all the people that work hard to make this work.

The first times she went there with some friends and year after year there were more and more people, and thanks to the word of mouth a new friend or relative join them every year.

She lived with Rudy for seven years. She spent a lot of happy moments with him and thanks to his presence she regained her independence.

On December 4th, 2013 Rudy died for a disease and a month after also Renata’s mother Emi died.

On February 24th, 2014 thanks to the instructor Davide Ballabio she received York, a beautiful 17 months old Labrador.


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When she recalled her story she understood that she was at a crossroads: either you’re passive and depend on others, or you look for happiness in some activities and in relationships. She preferred the second option and she found a lot of interests and started practicing archery for blind people, a “mind” sport where balance and clarity of mind are fundamental.

Since archery let her restore the balance between her mind and her body, every time she shoots an arrow and aims at the target, she obtains a result. Then, before shooting the next arrow, she has to reset everything,  start over and aim to a new target.

To what people always ask to a blind person, Renata answers: “People often ask me if it is better to be born blind or to become blind. I always answer to this question with a lot of determination: it is better to be born blind. The person who asked me the question always reply: at least you know the world, whereas a blind person doesn’t.” Based on my personal experience I can testify that losing everything you gained in thirty years of life and little by little transform colours, spaces and depths in sensations is really difficult.

Even though she created this new world with a lot of clarity of mind, the nostalgia and melancholy for what she lost are always present during every second of the day. Finding out that you’re going to be blind really changes the relationships with the others: there is no middle road either you lose them, or they strengthen. Being blind really puts relationships to the test. Moreover it changes your character and makes you more cautious and insecure.


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In 2004 she spent a lot of energies and opened the Asti section of the A.P.R.I.  association (association for blind people where, thanks to her experience, she can help and advise people with the same condition and she also organize a lot of events, as you can see in the document below.

Renata also created the laboratory “Close your eyes and open the curtain” thanks to the help of Alessio Bertoli who is a director and an actor, and the psychotherapist Chiara Bergonzini.

On December 20th, 2014 she brought to the Casa del Teatro in Via Goltieri 1/A in Asti a play  named The blind country inspired to the short story by Herbert George Wells and directed by Alessio Bertoli. The play was performed by ten actors who have a sight impairment and who are members of the A.P.R.I association. The play was a huge success and now they will bring it to schools and other theatres in order to prove that also blind people can do things that a long time ago were unimaginable. 


In 2014 she published her book Neither different, nor identical, but free, published by Edizioni Mille in Turin also in an audio version. It is autobiography written to put down in black and white her life, her sensations and her daily life experience.

Renata says this: “I dedicate this book to all the people that I met in my life, and in particular to all those that supported me in different moments and that let me share with them many experiences, coming along with me in the path that brought me from seeing to not seeing without asking too many questions and without having too many prejudices about my previous and present life. Thank you all, and I’d like to share this quote: “Neither different, nor identical, but free”.

Renata Sorba


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© 2015 Renata Sorba - Tutte le immagini, loghi e testi presenti in questo sito web appartengono ai legittimi proprietari.