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Archive for the ‘Abbey and Castles in Latium’ Category


The medieval village of Roccalvecce, which is delightfully preserved, dominates one of the hills of the castello-roccalveccecaracteristically  splendid panoramic zones of the area between Viterbo and Orvieto, Lake Bolsena and the Tiber.
The Costaguti Castle is situated at the centre of the village on the 1300’s foundation. The Castle was reconstructed and completed in 1700 and today it has been restored in the traditions of the Costaguti family which has owned the Castle for several centuries. The Castle faces the beautiful square of the village, almost a salon in itself, which opens onto the 18th century facade of the town Church, once part of the castle and now the parish Church.
The Reception is on the noble floor, enriched by a canopy one of the symbol of the Costaguti family, leads into the magical atmosphere of the dining room where in special events one can enjoy cocktails and appetizers. The cosy atmosphere of the corridors leads to the richly decorated 18th century styled furnished salon. From twenty to one hundred and fifty people can be accommodated here. The spacious medieval halls are on the ground floor and are furnished with splendid authentic armour and antiques. The halls, which have been carefully restored, can accommodate more than two hundred and fifty people.
The Cellars are situated in the dungeons of the Castle allow one to enjoy the products of the amply furnished wine cellar
The Suites are on the upper floors of the Castle more than fifty people can be lodged in the apartments which have been duly restored and furnished in the style of the period. On the noble floor the frescoed attentively restored period and lavishly furnished bedrooms allow the guests to relive the traditional atmosphere of the antique castle.

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Built at the beginning of the 15th century by F. Crescenzi on the site of an ancient torcrescenza1tower dated 1100, the Torcrescenza Castle is situated in a century-old park adorned with wonderful fountains, only a few minutes from the centre of Rome, between two consular roads, the Via Flaminia and the Via Cassia. Today it is the private residence of Princess Sofia Borghese, the daughter of Prince Scipione Borghese and a descendant of Pope Paul V. Donna Sofia has brought the estate back to life opening the Castles courtyards for private events, conferences and top-level meetings.
We recommend this place for your charming moments as well as to taste the delicious roman cusine in a historical and romantic place. Best solutions and prices if your are a group of people.

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At the beginning of the second millennium, a huge number of pilgrims travelled to Via-Francigena3three major destinations:  Rome, the city of the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul, the italy-via-francigenafounders of the Christian church; The Holy Land, site of Calvary, where the pilgrims viafrancigena4sought out the places of Christ’s Passion; Santiago de Compostela, the furthest point of western Europe which the Holy Apostle James chose as his final resting place. Thus Europe became a vast web of roads, paths and routes all of which led towards these pilgrimage sites. The way to Rome was along what was probably the most important road of the times, the Via Francigena or Via Romea which led to the Eternal City from the Western Alps and the Rhineland and was used for seven centuries by sovereigns, emperors, plebeians and clergymen. The Via Francigena led all the way from Canterbury to Rome and was one of the pathways of European history. It was a main thoroughfare along which hundreds of thousands of pilgrims passed on their way to Rome. In those days, the journey was not just an adventure or a risk but an act of devotion in itself, and the pilgrims would stop off along the way at places deemed holy by the Church.
The Via Francigena cut through the Alps in the Valley of Aosta and proceeded southwards through Piedmont, Lombardy, the flatlands of the river Po (Padania) before going through the Apennines near Berceto to pass into Tuscany and Latium, and then Rome. This route is an essential and formative phenomenon in the history of Europe.
If we look at the Etrurian section, we can identify the route and the posting stages. From Proceno, a resting station, the pilgrims moved on to Acquapendente which was a fundamental part of the journey as it contained a precious reliquary from the Holy Land, now kept in the Cathedral crypt. They then travelled down to Bolsena, an important town because of the Corpus Domini miracle, and on to Montefiascone, a mediaeval town even then known for its wine. The next stage was Viterbo which, indeed, developed and grew thanks to its strategic position on the Via Francigena. Viterbo thus became a cardinal destination on the itinerary and was well supplied with hospices and lodgings. The traces of this concentration of pilgrim activity are still very much to be seen today. After Viterbo, travellers faced the obstacle of the Cimini mountains which they traversed by going either to the right or to the left along the Vico Lake. The more popular choice varied from age to age. One way led to Ronciglione and the little church of Saint Eusebius. The other led through chestnut woods and we may still make out traces of an old path that passed by the Cistercian Abbey of St Martins in Cimino. The pilgrims would then make their way to Vetralla where a country road led them to the little church of Santa Maria in Forcassi, mentioned by Sigericus. After this, the road led to Capranica, Sutri, Monterosi and then the pilgrims left the Via Cassia for the Via Trionfale that led them into Rome at last.

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Rieti is placed in the north part of Latium on a small hilltop commanding a wide plain, at the southern edge of an ancient lake. Today only the small lakes of Ripasottile and Cantalice remain of the original basin.
Rieti was originally a major site of the Sabine nation. After the Roman conquest, carried out by Manius Curius Dentatus in late 3rd century BC, the village became a strategic point in the early italic road network, dominating the “salt” track (Via Salaria) that joined Rome to the Adriatic Sea across the Appennine mountains.
Through a deep cut in the limestone at the northern edge of the valley, Curius Dentatus made the water of the lake flow away in the Nera river, then the wide area once occupied by the lake turned into a fertile plain, and the land was split by surveyors into square allotments, in the shape of a regular grid.
The town itself was re-founded on the basis of orthogonal axes, and was fortified with strong walls all around; a stone bridge was laid across the Velino river, and a great viaduct was built to lead people and carts from the Salaria road up to the southern door of the town. Roman Reate deserved several quotations in the Latin literature thanks to its flourishing soil, its valued asses, and some weird peculiarity of the surroundings, as wandering islands, roaming sources and hollow-subsurfaced fields.
Cicero tells about litigation between Reate and Interamna for the lake drainage, and refers to the country houses (villae) that his friend Q. Axius owned in the plain. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Rieti suffered destruction by barbarians people, but was always an important gastaldate during the Lombard domination, as part of the Duchy of Spoleto. Under the Franks, it was capital of county. In the 9th and 10th centuries, it was sacked by the Saracens, and, in 1149, by the Norman king Roger II of Sicily.
The city was rebuilt with the help of the Roman commune, and from 1198 was also a free commune, of Guelph orientation, with a podestà of its own. As a favourite Papal seat, Rieti was the place of important historical events: Constance of Hauteville married here by proxy Emperor Henry VI (1185); in the cathedral, in 1289, Charles I of Anjou was coronated King of Apulia, Sicily and Jerusalem by Pope Nicholas I. Pope Gregory IX celebrated here the canonization of St. Dominic (1234). After the Papal seat had been moved to Avignon, Rieti was conquered by the King of Naples, while inner struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines began. In 1354 it was captured back by Cardinal Albornoz, and later was a feudal seignory of the Alfani family within the Papal States. In the following century a program of drying of the neighbouring plain was carried on, but this led to quarrels with the city of Terni. Rieti was province capital of the Papal States from 1816 to 1860. After the unification of Italy, it was initially part of Umbria, being annexed to the Lazio in 1923. It became capital of province on January 2, 1923.

The main monuments to see are: The Palazzo Vescovile (“Bishops Palace”), The Gothic church of Sant’Agostino (13th century, restored in the 18th century) and The Cathedral, begun in 1109 over a pre-existing basilica, was consecrated in 1225 but almost wholly rebuilt in 1639.

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Just 10 Km. far from Orte going in the direction of Viterbo, we can find the castle of Vasanello, which dates back to 1285 defends the territory and the entrance to the ancient village of Vasanello. Orso Orsini built the first tower to defend his properties. However, after only four years, the castle was conquered by a series of aristocratic families.
By the mid-fifteenth century, the property had returned to the Orsini family, who transformed the grim fortress into a delightful residence. The interior was fitted with wooden ceilings which, together with decorative freizes, were frescoed with heraldic symbols celebrating Orsini marriages with other great aristocratic names. Later the castle passed into the hands of other dynasties: the Della Rovere, the Colonna, the Barberini and, since the early nineteen hundreds, the Misciattelli, the current owners. The Orsini Castle in Vasanello, now, is open for guided visits by appointment to the hystorical apartments, the medioeval gardens, the ceramic factory and the permanent exhibit of the artistic production of ceramics which lasted until the eighties.
The Castle and the eighteenth century Orangery in the gardens can be hired for weddings, seminars, lectures, receptions, parties.

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Just 90 km far from Rome in the direction of the Park of Monti Simbruini you will find an amazing sanctuary, the Holy Trinity of Vallepietra. This place is around the border line with the region Abruzzo.
Vallepietra, the ancient Vallis Pretarum or Val de Preta, is small town situated at 825 meters over the sea level in the valley of the Simbrivio River, not away from Subiaco (35 kilometres) and Rome (about 90 kilometres). It can be reached both passing through Jenne and departing from Subiaco and passing either through the Plateaus of Arcinazzo or for Trevi originating from Frusinate.
Vallepietra is delimited from the mount Tarino (m 1986) that separates it from Filettino, from the mount Author (m 1853) that separates it from Camerata and Subiaco, the Capitello that marks the border with Jenne, from the plateau of Faito that limits the borders with Trevi and from the plateau Field of the Stone that separates it from Cappadocia (Abruzzo).
In the municipality of Vallepietra is situated the Santuario della SS. Trinita’ (Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity), a small hermitage at 1,350 metres above sea level. The sanctuary is situated in a natural grotto half way up the south slope of Monte Autore where there is an image of the Trinity that appeared on the walls of a cave in the 11th century and has been venerated since.
Probably the sanctuary is located on a Roman temple (IV century a.C.), at first dedicated to the divinity of waters of the Simbrivio river (than still today they gush out under the great altar) and subsequently transformed, from monaci hermits, in the only sanctuary of the catholic world dedicated to the cult of the SS. Trinity.

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The Abbey of Casamari is situated in the territoryof Veroli(Frosinone), on the Via Maria, mid-way between Frosinone and Sora, and lies on a rocky hill sloping down to the torrent Amaseno, at about 300 metresabove sea-level. It was built on the ruins of an ancient Roman municipium named Cereatae, being dedicated to the goddess Ceres, at Marianae, for it was the birthplace, or at least a residence, of Caius Marius, from whom the abbey later derived its name. The documents witness the presence of a Benedectine monastic community in the 11th century, under the name of Casamari.
The monastery soon showed a strong vitality both spiritual as well as social and economical, but, in the early 12th century it was affected by a rather long crisis due to a sort of ungovernability (which is witnessed by the frequent resignation of its abbots) caused by both a decline of the Curtis system and the political and religious confusion of that period. During the schism of Anaclet II (1130-1138), when Bernard of Clairvaux, by his persistant work of mediation, became the leading promoter of the Church’s unity through the recognition of Innocent II as pope, Italy became acquainted with the Cistercians. She appreciated their spirituality and requested their presence, while all Europe watched and supported the Order’s astonishing, miraculous expansion.
The Cistercians started the construction of the monastery which we can still admire today, following the Order’s typical planimetry. In 1203, Pope Innocent III blessed the first stone of the church, the construction of which went on under the management of Fra’ Guglielmo of Casamari until 1217. On September 15th of that year; the basilica was consecrated and dedicated to Our Lady Received into Heaven, according to the Order’s custom, and to the Roman martyrs, John and Paul.
Casamari suffered heavy damages in the early 15th century when Ladislaus of Anjou, after storming Veroli, besieged and plundered the monastery. During Napoleon’s first campaign in Italy some French soldiers, on their way back, plundered the monastery and desecrated the Eucharist, although they had been received with open arms by Prior Simon Cardon. In 1833 the monks of Casamari reacquired the monastery of San Domenico of Sora and in 1873, owing to the laws of suppression, the abbey was deprived of its possessions and the following year; was declared a national monument.
In spite of endless change, Casamari is still one of the Cistercian monasteries in which monastic life has had no interruptions since its foundation, except for the short period 1811-1814. The revival of religious life has been made possible by the institution of seminaries (1916) which have in a short time set many young men on the way to the Cistercian ideal. Thus the abbey, together with its dependent houses, was declared a monastic Congregation by the Holy See in 1929. Its Constitutions were approved provisionally in the same year and permanently on June 13th, 1943 by Pope Pius XII. They were approved again in 1979, after a revision according to the instructions of Vatican II. According to the latest statistics, the Congregation of Casamari now consists of sixteen monasteries and three residences, with 220 monks.

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The Naturalistic Archeological Vulci Park is unique in that it presents a complete panorama of Etruscan and Roman city, necropolis, uncontaminated nature and countryside and the extraordinary exhibits in the Museum of Vulci at the Badia Castle. The park is located around the border line with the Tuscany.
There are several opportunities of which you can choose to visit the Naturalistic Archeological Vulci Park. There are simple beginner trails that pass through the ancient etruscan city that take you into the valley where the Fiora River fills the Pellicone Lake, a magnificent sight that we extremely suggest.
Inside the park area there are protected paths that pass alongside vast pastures where maremana cattle and horses graze. It’s possible to provide you with a naturalistic archeological guide to visit the Tomb of François, Tomb of Inscriptions and the Archeological Museum of Vulci, located inside the Badia Castle or Vulci Castle.
Castle Vulci or “Castello della Badia”
 is placed in a location of exceptional natural beauty. It stands in the countryside of Tuscia in Lower Maremma, on top of a beautiful gorge crossed by the River Fiora. The castle was built not far from the ruins of the ancient Etruscan city of Vulci and the nearby coastal path of the ancient Via Aurelia. The location chosen for its construction corresponded to that where the Romans had built a high bridge to jump over the deep gorge of the Fiora to over 30 meters in height.
The castle became the thirteenth century an important center for assistance and hospitality to pilgrims for half a century and was operated in cooperation with the Knights Templar, the so-called Templars. In the sixteenth century passed into the ownership of Alessandro Farnese, who worked some restoration.
The castle is entirely built of regular blocks of trachyte dark.Access to the castle to the north was controlled by the other side of the bridge and the gorge of the river Fiora and a perimeter ditch with water fed by the Roman Empire.
Archeo-trekking, mountain bike or horseback riding are activities to do in the park of Vulci. During the summer season you may visit the park area by night and appreciate the special effects of the evening lights and colours.

Suggested accommodation for this area : TARQUINIA ROOMS

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