Jul 22, 2020
Caves in the tuff, necropolis, contemporary art. The medieval village of Faliscan origin offers a journey through time. The 10 things to see in Calcata.
Perched on a tuff spur on the Treja Valley, the medieval village of Calcata, in the province of Viterbo, is only 40 kilometers from Rome. The origins date back to the Faliscan people, coeval of the Etruscans, who in these areas saw their maximum splendor between the seventh and sixth centuries BC. Abandoned by most of the inhabitants in the 1930s, it returned to being populated around the 1960s by a community mainly of painters, musicians and actors. Among ancient necropolises and museums of contemporary art, the 10 things to see in Calcata and surroundings.
1. Baronial Castle Anguillara
Built in the eleventh-twelfth century and modified during the sixteenth century by the Anguillara, lords of Calcata, the Baronial Castle with tower and crenellated walls is located in the village square and represents its fulcrum. Over the centuries it was the home of the Sinibaldi and Massimo marquises, today it is used as an exhibition space and center for conferences and training courses.
2. Church of SS. Name of Jesus
On the small Piazza di Calcata, in addition to the Castle, the Church of SS. Name of Jesus, building dating back to the 14th century and renovated in 1793 on commission from the Sinibaldi. The interior of the church, with a single nave covered by a wooden trussed ceiling, preserves a baptismal font, a XVI century stoup, a wall tabernacle and a pictorial cycle of Stories of Christ. The foreskin relic of Christ disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Originally called Monte Frumentario, it was renamed with the name of Granarone. It is an ancient and large barn, built in 1632, which remained active until 1950. Thanks to a valuable restoration by a Dutchman, it was saved from a ruinous collapse.
4. The workshops of the artists
Uninhabited until the mid-1960s for safety reasons – repeated episodes of the cliff’s collapse – Calcata began to be repopulated especially by artists and creatives from all over the world. Today among the main attractions of the village there are shops and workshops, often housed in the caves dug into the tuff, where you can admire and buy works of crafts and art in a welcoming atmosphere with a bohemian flavor.
5. Hall of 201 teas
Tea fans? In Calcata you can choose from as many as 201 different varieties from the most diverse parts of the world. The merit is of the hostess, a Belgian originally from Ghent, who in the medieval village brought, together with a rich collection of teapots, her visceral passion for this drink. In a delightful tea room, with a panoramic terrace overlooking the Treja Valley, you can also taste homemade cakes and biscuits.
6. Valle del Treja suburban park
In the territory of the municipality of Calcata and Mazzano Romano there is a Regional Park of great naturalistic value, which boasts an extension of about 650 hectares. Accessible on foot or on horseback, the park is inhabited by a rich fauna – probable encounters with foxes, badgers, weasels and nocturnal birds of prey – and vegetation dotted with ivy, hazel plants and reeds and countless shrubs. In the park are also kept remains of a settlement of the ancient Falisci people.
7. Opera Bosco – Museum of Art in Nature
In the gorge of the Treja Valley, a curious itinerary of outdoor contemporary art winds along two hectares of woods. Opera Bosco is a museum-itinerary of works of art and installations made with the natural materials of the place: sources, amphitheatres, prehistoric caves, terraces are just some of the forms that various international artists have given to nature.
8. The Monte Gelato waterfalls
If you find yourself spending an afternoon in the Treja Park, a stop at the nearby Monte Gelato waterfalls is a must. A picturesque oasis of natural pools awaits you, immersed in the woods, where you can take a regenerating bath or listen to the oxygenating sounds of nature. Next to the waterfalls, do not miss the ruins of a mill, an ancient water mill of medieval origin.
A short distance from Calcata is Narce, an important Faliscan center since the Orientalizing age (VIII – VII century BC) and up to the Roman conquest of the IV century BC Above the Colle di Narce stood the acropolis, connected to Colle Li Santi by a 150-meter viaduct of which only a section has survived. Around Narce there are several nuclei of necropolises with tombs rich in finds, today mainly exhibited at the National Museum of Agro Falisco in Civita Castellana.
10. The Falisco Sanctuary of Monte li Santi
Inside the Valle del Treja Park, on the slopes of Monte Li Santi, where the ancient city of Narce is believed to have stood, there is the homonymous sanctuary discovered in 1985. Originally it was of considerable size, today traces of two rooms that were located on the side of the temple facing the river. The finds found, which testify to the complexity of the sacred ritual performed here, are currently preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Agro Falisco in the Forte Sangallo of Civita Castellana and in the Archaeological-Virtual Museum of Narce in Mazzano Romano.