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Posts Tagged ‘montefiascone’


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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The centuries old serenity of Bolsena is reflected in the transparent waters of its lake, giving scenery that is both rare and suggestively beautiful. This is one of the most beautiful areas of central Italy, framed by the Volsini mountains a short distance from the Tyrrhenian coast and about an hour by car from Rome airport. It is a proud ancient area that has lots of historical evidence and natural beauty spots.The lake of Bolsena is the largest volcanic lake in Europe.


Its drainage basin (270 sq.km.) is not the remains of a single large volcano, but has formed through the centuries following the collapse of the terrain after eruptive activity of several smaller openings; two of these have transformed into the islands of Martana and Bisentino, with luxuriant vegetation down to the water’s edge.

From Bolsena you can easily explore Italian hill towns containing the many treasures that Italy has to offer.

TUSCANY

  • Florence –May easily be reached by driving North on the Autostrada or by train from Orvieto (2 ½ hours.
  • Siena –The sight of the twice annual palio, where different Siena communities compete in a horse race around the main piazza.
  • Pisa –Home to the famous Leaning Tower, Pisa’s Duomo and the Compansanto, a cemetary containing soil recovered by crusaders from the Holy Land.
  • Cortona –One of Tuscany’s prettiest towns with sweeping views of Lake Trasimeno.
  • Montepulciano –A medieval hill town which rises almost to an elevation of 2,000 feet and is home to many wineries.
  • Montalcino –A medieval hill town which is home to Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy’s esteemed red wines.
  • Saturnia –Famous for its hot sulphur thermal springs.

LAZIO

  • Rome –May easily be reached by driving South on the Autostrada or by train from Orvieto (2 hours).
  • Bomarzo –16th century town that is home to a garden of huge boulders which have been sculpted into various creatures and monsters.
  • Caprarola –Located near Lake Vica, a smaller volcanic lake, it contains the Palazzo Farnese, one of the grandest 17th century country villas.
  • Montefiascone –On the shores of Lake Bolsena, this town boasts a dome on the Cathedral of St. Margherita which is 2nd in size to only St. Peter’s. This is also the home to Est! Est!! Est!!! a renowned white wine.
  • Viterbo –A walled medieval town which was the papal seat from 1257-1281, and contains many stores.

UMBRIA

  • Assisi –Medieval town which is home to the Basilica di San Francesco, burial place of St. Francis.
  • Lake Trasimeno –Italy’s 4th largest lake where the Romans suffered one of their worst military defeats in 217 B.C. to troops led by Hannibal. Visit the walled hill town of Castiglione del Lago, or take a boat trip to Isola Maggiore a town known for its lace making.
  • Orvieto –This town which was built on a cliff overlooking the plains below, is the home to the Duomo of Orvieto, which was built during the 13th century and in addition to containing Luca Signorelli’s fresco of the Last Judgment, also has an elaborate facade. The town features many shops which sell ceramics, olive oils and wines including the white wine Orvieto Classico.
  • Perugia –A city that is home to 160,000 people. The old center of the city has many churches and museums, and there are many places to shop.

Suggested accommodation for this area : http://www.romahappydays.com/lake-bolsena-flat/

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Farnese – Sagra della Pastasciutta
Acqua Pendente – Sagra della Fregnaccia
Vejano – Sagra del Tartufo
Celleno and Roccalvecce – Sagra della Ciliegia
Montefiscone – Sagra della Ciambella col Vino
Vitorchiano – Sagra del Cavatello
Onano – Sagra delle Lenticchie
Civitella Cesi – Sagra delle Fettuccine al Tartufo
Viterbo and Grotte di Castro – Sagra della Patata
Monteromano – Sagra della Carne Maremmana
Canepina , Vallerano and Soriano nel Cimino – Sagra della Castagna

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