The villages on the rock in Tuscia

Fuori confineThe villages on the rock in Tuscia
spot_imgspot_imgspot_img

 

The villages on the rock or rather built on tufaceous rock spurs are one of the most evident features of that area of ​​Upper Lazio called Tuscia.
Tuscia is in fact considered the land of tuff with perched villages which, if on the surface they may all seem the same, deepening their knowledge they present themselves as very different realities.

Sutri, Nepi, Civita Castellana, Vitorchiano e Ronciglione

borghi sulla roccia

From the outside these villages on the rock appear as small agglomerations of perched houses but inside each one has precious and unique “gems”: from the Etruscan Sutri and Nepi to the Faliscan Civita Castellana, from Vitorchiano, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, to Ronciglione the “capital” of the Roman hazelnut.

borghi sulla roccia

Our tour of the villages on the rock began from Sutri, a city located at the foot of the Cimini Mountains in an area rich in woods and Etruscan-Roman and medieval remains that coexist with the sixteenth-century bastions of the village that testify to the strategic importance of its position overlooking the Via Cassia from above.

borghi sulla roccia

One of its most important monuments is the Etruscan-Roman Amphitheater, dated between the 2nd century BC. and the 1st century AD and one of the three in the world completely excavated in the tuff. But what struck us most was the discovery that it remained unknown until the early nineteenth century, as it was almost completely buried and destined for agricultural crops.

Inside the “Ancient City of Sutri” regional park there is also the Mitreo, a unique structure of its kind that testifies to over 2600 years of different uses. It was first an Etruscan tomb, then a pagan temple dedicated to the God Mitra and later a Christian church as a chapel of the Madonna del Parto.

The area is rich in Etruscan tombs dating back to the 1st century BC. and arranged on several levels. More recent but no less important is the Renaissance Villa Savorelli, today the seat of the Park and a place for cultural events and conferences in which Giorgio De Chirico also intervened.

With Sutri, “Nepet” was in the eyes of the Romans the gateway to Etruria. Today the village, which owes its name to the Etruscan word Nepa which means “water”, appears as a beautiful village with a herringbone shape and a clear medieval imprint. And it is water one of the greatest treasures of the town of Nepi, famous all over the world for the natural sparkling mineral water that bears its name.

Important names appear in its history, such as those of Roberto il Guiscardo and Matilde di Canossa, from which it was conquered in 1063. The ramparts of the sixteenth-century walls, the towers of the Rocca, the double cascade of an ancient mill and the arches of the aqueduct they constitute a proscenium worthy of the greatest theaters.

borghi sulla roccia

After crossing the wall, the first large building that appears is the Rocca built in 1450 by Rodrigo Borgia and transformed by the ubiquitous Farnese. The nineteenth-century cathedral is built on an early Christian structure, rebuilt for the first time in 118, as evidenced by the portico and the beautiful crypt erected on a temple dedicated to Jupiter.

borghi sulla roccia

borghi sulla roccia

Other interesting monuments are the elegant Palazzo Comunale, the work of Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane, and the fountain attributed to Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Outside the historic center stands the aqueduct, still in perfect condition and built in 1728 by a group of architects including Giacomo Barozzi known as Vignola, also author of the magnificent Palazzo Farnese di Caprarola.

borghi sulla roccia

We then moved to Civita Castellana which was the capital of the Falisci. Here too, as in Nepi, the Rocca, seat of the Archaeological Museum of Agro Falisco, is due to Rodrigo Borgia but it was the variant of the Via Flaminia in 1606 and the construction of the Clementino Bridge a century later, that made the town a strategic node road.

borghi sulla roccia

The Cathedral is enchanting: white and colored marbles, semi-precious stones, glass pastes are the elements used by the Roman marble workers Lorenzo, Iacopo and Cosma Cosmati, to create the marvelous works of the portico and portal. Inside, the floor echoes the orderly cosmatesque geometric designs while the high altar reuses an early Christian sarcophagus. Also worth visiting is the evocative crypt with nine naves on partially reused columns.

borghi sulla roccia

Having reached Vitorchiano, our advice is to admire the profile of one of the most beautiful villages on the rock of Tuscia from one of the views of the Fosso Acqua Fredda gorge. We stopped in front of the Moai statue, six meters high, a perfect reproduction of the very famous human-like monoliths found on Easter Island. From here you can admire the entire extension of the peperino walls of Vitorchiano which, built around 1200, extend for about 250 meters and are interrupted by square-based towers and delimited by two cylindrical nougats. In the central tower there is Porta Romana, which represents the only entrance to the medieval center of the town.

borghi sulla roccia

The last of the villages on the rock we visited is Ronciglione, a village of Etruscan origins, dominating the village is the majestic Cathedral, built in 1671 in honor of San Pietro and Santa Caterina, which emerges on the main square of the town where the protagonists are also the Renaissance Palazzo Comunale and the singular Fontana Grande or of the Unicorns. In this monumental fountain, made of sandstone in the 1500s by Antonio Gentili da Faenza, water gushes from the mouth of three unicorns before filling the two basins below.

Walking along the streets of the village, divided into two main nuclei, one of medieval style and the other of Renaissance style, and passing under the Porta Romana, do not be surprised if it seems to you that you have already been there and to experience a sort of déjà vu.
Several films and television series were in fact shot in Ronciglione. Among the many “La vita è bella” by Roberto Benigni, “L’Armata Brancaleone” by Mario Monicelli, up to the recent TV series “Romanzo Criminale”.

Through Ronciglione passes Via Francigena also, which led from Canterbury to Rome and more precisely the so-called “Via di Montagna”. In fact, from the Viterbo leg of the Via Francigena two routes branch off, the “Via di Valle” and the “Via di Montagna”. The “Via di Valle” crosses the municipalities of Vetralla, Capranica and Sutri, while the “Via di Montagna” passes by Lake Vico and descends from the Cimini Mountains, skirting Caprarola and crossing Ronciglione, giving glimpses of great charm to those who face its sometimes challenging gradients.

We limited ourselves to a walk towards one of the other “treasures” included in the territory of Ronciglione, Lake Vico. The lake of Vulcan origin is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy and holds the record for altitude with its 507 meters above sea level. Walking along its banks and admiring the sea of ​​hazelnuts from which it is “embraced”, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful postcards of Viterbo’s Tuscia.

Scopri Bibibau con noi

Rosalia
Rosalia
This travel blog with the dog is a personal selection of our best experiences, our favorite spots and secrets places around the world curated by Rosalia e Michele.

ARTICOLI CORRELATI

Scopri Bibibau con noi

Scopri i prodotti Mediterrah

ULTIMI ARTICOLI

Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Error decoding the Instagram API json