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Vitorchiano

The origins of the Suspended Village seem to date back to the Bronze Age, retracing the progression that occurred for many towns in the area: the Etruscans are likely responsible for the first actual settlements, which, following the Roman conquest, were improved and expanded to better serve the needs of the Empire.
Of Etruscan origin also seems to be the name: Vicus Orclanus, where Orcla would be Norchia, near Vetralla, a place sacred to the Etruscan goddess Norzia.
During the early Middle Ages (VIII century) Vitorchiano was invaded by Lombard tribes and to their king Desiderius should, in fact, the construction of the walls and castle.
In the initial phase of the period of struggle between Church and Empire, the village was under the firm influence of the nearby Viterbo, until 1199 when a dramatic change of front occurred, with the declaration of enfranchisement from the Ghibelline neighbors and the consequent request for Rome’s protection. Vitorchiano ended up at the center of a struggle between Romans and Viterbese, which resulted in two years of uninterrupted siege. Pope Innocent III intervened with the full force of the threat of excommunication, momentarily resolving the dispute with the solemn declaration of Vitorchiano as a Roman fiefdom. Tensions between Viterbo and Rome, which had never quite subsided, exploded in 1232 with the seizure of the village by the Viterbese and the subsequent ruthless devastation.
The Roman Senate found itself forced to borrow to meet the cost of repairs, finding itself having to offer the castle as a pledge to the Giovanni Annibaldi Treasury. In spite of the improvements and fortifications added by Annibaldi, which made Vitorchiano effectively impregnable, the population resented his rule so much that, after unsuccessfully invoking Rome’s intervention, the people resolved to reimburse the banker for the expenses incurred in 1267, freeing the city from his power.
Despite the short-sighted treatment received from the Urbe, Vitorchiano made a solemn and formal act of submission to Rome, which in turn granted it tax exemptions, the use of Roman symbols and the motto “Castle and part of Rome” (Sum Vitorclanum castrum membrumque romanum). Further privilege was that of being able to provide men for the Capitoline guards.

From the time of its assimilation into the Kingdom of Italy the entire area followed the broader history of the nation, sharing its dark moments and its more serene ones. The relative tranquility the hamlet has enjoyed has allowed the preservation of its charming characteristic appearance, earning it inclusion in the list of Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages.

Places to visit

The Rabbi’s House

The Rabbi’s House

named after the hebrew family who made it its home during the Renaissance, this austere structure, built between the 13th and 14th centuries, is one of the most characteristic Houses in the village of Vitorchiano. Located at 28 Via Ugolini, the exterior facade is...

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Statue of Marzio

Statue of Marzio

In Piazza Umberto I, to the left of the gate leading to the medieval quarter, the statue of Martius, a peperino sculpture by Luigi Fondi, inspired by the famous Greek Spinario and donated by the artist to the Municipality of Vitorchiano, deserves a second look. The...

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The Peony Garden

The Peony Garden

a must-visit in April and May, the Moutan Botanical Center's collection of more than 250,000 plants, including about 600 different varieties of peonies. A walk along the center's picturesque paths, covered in places by fragrant wisteria with delicate pastel petals,...

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Hermitical Refuge of St. Michele

Hermitical Refuge of St. Michele

the solitary building, situated on a hill, is decorated with a rose window on the main facade and has a bell gable with a working bell on one side. Inside is a life-size statue of St. Michele made of peperino, the local stone. Its history is noteworthy: originally the...

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Church of St. Antonio Abate

Church of St. Antonio Abate

founded in 1406 thanks to the initiative of the Chapter of the Canonici of St. Giovanni, in the course of its history it has been entrusted to the care of several Confraternities, of the Misericordia first, of St. Antonio later. Today the church serves as the...

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Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo

Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo

As if it had suddenly sprung up in all its beauty, just in time to be consecrated in 1533 by the then Bishop of Bagnoregio, Bishop Pastorelli, the history of this church begins abruptly. The only other records, prior to that date, merely report restoration and...

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Bouldering

Bouldering

for the more intrepid spirits, some rocky ridges offer the opportunity to do climbing without a rope.

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Church of Madonna di San Nicola

Church of Madonna di San Nicola

The church and the monastery of St. Nicola in Vitorchiano, both consecrated in the first half of the 16th century, have housed the relics of several saints: St. Martino the bishop, St. Lidano the bishop and even St. Antimo the martyr. The hermit monks of St. Agostino...

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Moai

Moai

a decidedly poorly kept secret is the presence, at the northern entrance to Vitorchiano, of the only existing Moai far from Easter Island. As a result of some research conducted, it was discovered that the lava stone most compatible, in chemical structure and...

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The Suspended Village

The Suspended Village

"The suspended village" is located on the slopes of the Cimini Mountains, in the center of the lush Vezza Valley. The village, renowned in the past for the mining and processing of peperino, is perched on a tufa cliff of volcanic origin, formed by the fracture of a...

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