Calcata

Calcata is an ancient village perched on a tuff spur overlooking the Treja river valley It is accessed through a single door in the walls that surround it. Legend tells that in 1527 in Calcata a Landsknecht (mercenary soldier), who had taken part in the sacking of Rome pillaged the Sancta sanctorum of San Giovanni in Laterano, was captured and once imprisoned he hid a relic of the Holy foreskin in his cell where it was discovered in 1557.

Calcata is mentioned in James Joyce’s “Ulysses”, in the novel “The Gospel according to Jesus Christ” by José Saramago and in the novel “A crime of art” by Donald Bain. A number of artists live in Calcata, including the architect Paolo Portoghesi, the painter Simona Weller and the sculptor Costantino Morosin.Calcata is surrounded by nature trails of great beauty which can be explored on foot or on horseback, including the Monte Gelato waterfalls, within the Valle del Treja Regional Park, which preserves traces of multiple settlements, such as the remains of a Roman villa from the first century BC and a water mill built in the 1800s which remained active until the 1960s.

Roma

You can reach Rome, Caput Mundi, by the Via Cassia, the ancient Roman road once travelled by the farmers of Viterbo to sell their products such as oil, wine, beans, potatoes and vegetables.

Leaving the Via Cassia to join the Via Flaminia you enter the heart of the Renaissance city at Piazza del Popolo where you can admire the Trident road structure, an important urban intervention carried out between the XV and the XVII century to rearrange the three roads that directed the traffic to the major basilicas from porta del Popolo- the main gate of Rome:

  • Via di Ripetta towards Ponte Sant’Angelo and Saint Peter;
  • Via del Corso (originally called Via Lata, an ancient continuation of the Via Flaminia), which, through Campo Marzio, reached the papal palace in Piazza Venezia and then continued towards the Laterano;
  • Via del Babuino (formerly via Clementina), which led to Santa Maria Maggiore through Piazza di Spagna.

Rome is a city of great beauty celebrated all over the world. The city of sunsets bewitched by the “ponentino” a gentle, caressing breeze; the city of Christianity with its wealth of churches brimming with extraordinary treasures; a stratified city imbedded in unique, unrepeatable history.

FOTO PANORAMICA DA TROVARE

Trevignano Romano and Bracciano

A few minutes from the residence you can visit Trevignano Romano, a town overlooking Lake Bracciano with its beaches and sporting attractions such as sailing and canoeing. Continuing along the lake you can admire the famous Odescalchi Castle which dominates the town of Bracciano. It was built in 1470 after being commissioned by Napoleone Orsini and it was completed by his son Gentil Virginio in 1485. Over the centuries the Castle has undergone profound transformations, and it is also possible to recognize the style of the famous architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini. In 1696 the Orsini family were succeeded by the Odescalchi, an ancient family of Como origin, whose prestige greatly increased when one of its members ascended to the papal throne.

Vulci Archeological and Nature Park

The park covers an area of 900 hectares between the districts of Montalto di Castro and Canino. An area of unspoiled nature in the heart of the Maremma Laziale. Canyons have been carved into the volcanic rocks by the Fiora river which following a small waterfall widens into the magical Pellicone pond. You can meet Maremma cows and wild horses through Mediterranean scrub and small valleys besides the remains of the ancient Etruscan-Roman city of Vulci dating back to the 4th  century BC.

The park offers a network of marked trails to visitors, allowing you to visit the archaeological excavations as well as admire the natural beauty of the area. The remains of the town and the thermal plant testify the ancient city-state. You can enter the archaeological site through the remains of the Urban Gates of the imposing city walls. Near the West Gate you can admire the remains of a Roman aqueduct and also the forum with the Great Temple and the Honorary Arch, a commemorative work of Publius Sulpicius Mundus, a Roman senator who lived between the 1st century BC and the 1stcentury AD.

The Sacellum of Hercules, the baths and the Domus with its mosaic floors and underground areas are likewise noteworthy. Do not miss the guided tours to the numerous Etruscan necropolises, such as the Oriental Necropolis, with the Tomb of François, famous throughout the world for its paintings, the Tomba delle Iscrizioni (Tomb of the inscriptions) and the magnificent Tumulo della Cuccumella (Tomb of Cuccumella).

You will find refreshments in the Park: the Locanda del Parco, where you can taste typical dishes of the Maremma culinary tradition.

The port of Civitavecchia

The city was certainly created by an Etruscan settlement. The area of Civitavecchia has been inhabited since ancient times, it is scattered with remains of Etruscan tombs and it can be assumed that even in the pre-Roman era a small Etruscan settlement flourished in the present city center. Historians and archaeologists agree on the existence of an ancient cellular port i.e. a harbour formed by small, individual, parallel docks. The remains of these landings were still visible at the end of the nineteenth century near Fort Michelangelo.

FOTO PORTO ROMANO DA TROVARE

Tarquinia: archeological sites

Following the Via Cassia towards Viterbo then turning at Vetralla towards Monteromano you run across the medieval city of Tarquinia. In 2004 it was included along with Cerveteri (another extraordinary Etruscan city close by) as one of the 44 Italian sites listed in the Unesco World Heritage Sites for its extraordinary Etruscan Necropolis. Unesco claims: “Tarquinia and Cerveteri are examples of the creative genius of man: the large-scale murals in Tarquinia are exceptional both for their formal qualities and for their content revealing aspects of daily life, of death and the religious beliefs of the ancient Etruscans “.

The two Necropolises are a unique and exceptional proof of ancient Etruscan civilization, the only type of urban civilization in pre-Roman Italy.The National Archeological Museum houses an important collection of Etruscan artifacts where you can admire the Winged Horses that used to decorate the Temple of Ara della Regina as well as other interesting artworks.

Bomarzo

The Parco dei Mostri (The Park of the Monsters), also known as The Sacred Wood or The Wood of Marvels, is a monumental complex near the city of Bomarzo. It is a natural park that covers an area of about 3 hectares, in a forest of broad-leaved conifers. Inside there is a large number of basalt sculptures of various sizes depicting mythological animals, gods and monsters as well as buildings reflecting the classical world.

The park was commissioned by Prince Pier Francesco Orsini and designed in 1560 by the architect Pirro Ligorio (who also completed St. Peter’s after Michelangelo’s death). As the architectural historian Bruno Zevi wrote: “At Bomarzo the scenic artifice is overwhelming; the onlooker cannot simply observe the scene because he is immersed in it, in a mesh of sensations (…), capable of confounding his ideas, overpowering his emotions, and drawing him into a world that is dreamlike, absurd, playful and hedonistic.”The painter Salvador Dalí referred to the Park of the Monsters as a unique historical invention.

Vitorchiano and the Mountan Botanical Center

This garden boasts the richest and most complete collection of Chinese shrub and herbaceous peonies in the world. It is located in the district of Vitorchiano, along the Viterbo-Orte highway. It is a corner of China in the heart of the Lazio countryside: within its 15 hectares you can find more than 150,000 peonies plants of 600 different varieties belonging to almost every known botanical species and to most cultivated natural hybrids. During flowering, from early April to late May, the center offers a unique show of charm and beauty: thousands of blooms of diverse shapes reveal a chromatic range spanning from absolute white to deep purple-black, passing through the most delicate and unusual shades of pink. The welcoming cafe-restaurant offers a pleasant break during the journey through the heady colours of the peonies.

Caprarola

Only a few kilometers away lies another jewel: Caprarola dominated by the splendid Palazzo Farnese (Farnese Palace). The construction of the palace, with its characteristic pentagonal shape, was commissioned by Alessandro Farnese (later to become Pope Paul III) to Antonio da Sangallo who began work around 1530 and later his nephew, Alessandro Farnese completed the work.

Recent research has brought to light various designs, dating back to the first half of the 1500s attributed to Sangallo and Baldassarre Peruzzi. In these designs it is possible to identify the “Rocca di Caprarola” characterized by military and civil architectural features. The Italian gardens inside the palace are of great artistic importance. Today Palazzo Farnese is a most interesting museum housing rich masterpieces and multimedia installations.

Ronciglione, Cimini Park, Vico Lake

Located on the south of the Cimini Mountains, the medieval part of Ronciglione stands on a large tufaceous ridge where two rivers join -: Rio Vicano, which is an emissary of Lake Vico, and Fosso Chianello which currently flows underground due to it being filled in by the Farnese Family in the 16thcentury. Originally Ronciglione had three entrances: Porta Castello, in Piazza dell’Olmo, Ponte delle Tavole and Porta Pèntoma under the Provvidenza bell-tower. The oldest document mentioning the name of Ronciglione dates back to 1103.

Ronciglione was an economically advanced center for its vast manufacturing apparatus including ironworks, ramblers, paper mills, ceramics, armouries, printing works… It was actively linked to various Academies and print works where the first Italian edition of “Secchia Rapita” by Tassoni (1642) and “Aminta” by Tasso were printed.

Located in the north of Ronciglione is the highest lake above sea level in the country- Lake Vico, probably one of the best preserved Italian, volcanic lakes. It is listed as an area of outstanding natural value in Lazio and the habitat of rare plant species. It is also part of the Vico Nature Reserve allowing the preservation of many rare animal species.Tito Livio mentioned the park of the Cimini Mountains for its impenetrability. In fact the geological events that took place around the Cimino-Vicano volcanic complex had an impact on the vegetation of the Cimini Mountains: the lava of the two areas was very rich in potassium therefore it provided an exceptional foundation for plant growth. The lava, together with the particular fresh, humid micro-climate due to the proximity to Lake Vico as well as the altitude, contributed to thick vegetation flourishing. On the slopes and the summit of Mount Cimino at a height of 1053 meters, there is an ancient, thick, beech forest (Fagus sylvatica) with trees dating back hundreds of years.

Descending to a lower altitude you can also find chestnut trees (Castanea sativa), black and white hornbeams (Ostrya carpinifolia, Carpinus betulus) and Turkey oaks (Quercus cerris) covering Mount Palanzana (802 meters), Mount Fogliano (965 meters) and the other elevations.