Castiglione In Teverina
The small wine capital
It is located in the province of Viterbo in the Etruscan territory called the Tuscia. It is a village located on a rocky spur, overlooking the Tiber valley, on the eastern slopes of the Volsini mountains. It is also called the small wine capital for its wine production, its wine museum and related festivals.
The history of the town of Castiglione in Teverina
Three thousand years ago the Villanovians settled on the surrounding hills, then the Etruscans arrived, who settled there until the third century BC, with the arrival of the Romans. In Roman times, around the plain of the Tiber, villas were born, populated by slaves who cultivated cereals, wine and vegetables that were sent via the Tiber to Rome. During the period of the barbarian invasions, the Visigoths of Alaric passed through the area around 410, and then the Vandals in 455 to sack Rome. To protect themselves from invaders, people took refuge in high ground and natural caves. The villas on the Tiber plain were abandoned.
In the seventh century, the Lombards settled there and converted to Christianity. A Lombard family, perhaps a descendant of a count called Monaldo, settled in Seppie, near Bagnoregio (Balneum Regis i.e. King’s bath), where he built a castle from which he began to dominate the entire territory including the territory of Castiglione in Teverina. In the period of the birth of the Municipalities nearby Orvieto, the town became an important center where arts and commerce flourished, attracting the Lombard counts from the countryside, including the descendants of Count Monaldo. Being Guelphs, i.e. followers of the Pope, they contended for the city with the Ghibelline family of Filippeschi, who were defeated by the Monaldeschi in 1313, increasing their power and their wealth, until they obtained the lordship of Orvieto in 1334 with Ermanno Monaldeschi. Castiglione remained the undisputed dominion of the Monaldeschi of Cervara for over a century, but, at the end of the 15th century, Gianfrancesco Monaldeschi died leaving his daughter in marriage to Giovanni Savelli, who became the owner of the fief.
At the same time, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese became Pope in 1534 with the name of Paolo III Farnese (the Farnese family has Orvieto origins) and has an ancient interest in the lands of Teverina. In 1539 Paolo Savelli ceded Castiglione in Teverina to the Farnese. But after the death of Paul III, the family went into debt and sold the city. The people of Castiglione in Teverina, tired of the constant change of owner, decide to contract a debt of 20,000 scudi with which in 1637 they “redeem themselves” by buying the Duke’s possessions themselves. But unfortunately, they are unable to repay the debt and therefore they gave the town in 1700 to the Ravizza family of Orvieto.
In the eighteenth-century Castiglione goes into oblivion until the Risorgimento. During the Risorgimento, Castiglione took an important role during the uprisings of the Carbonari of 1832 and in the period of the Republic in 1849, which saw many citizens of Castiglione alongside Garibaldi. When in 1860 the pro-Piedmontese troops invade Viterbo, a strong enthusiasm awakens in Castiglione which was however suppressed by the intervention of the French. Unfortunately Castiglione, unlike Orvieto, was not annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. The border between this later one and the Papal State passed about a kilometer from Castiglione, and a customs control was placed in the church of the Madonna delle Macchie. The annexation to the Kingdom of Italy took place on 18 September 1870, two days before the breach of Porta Pia in Rome.
The town of Castiglione in Teverina today
The town lives above all on agriculture and viticulture. The ancient center has a square called Piazza Maggiore, surrounded by the Monaldeschi fortress (which cannot be visited inside), by the Municipality, by the Church of Santi Filippo and Giacomo, by a garden in which there is a monument dedicated to the fallen in war. Behind the monument, there is a beautiful view of the hills bordering the ravines park.
The wine and agricultural science museum MUVIS
At the entrance of the town stands the museum of wine and agri-food sciences set up in an old cellar purchased by Count Romolo Vaselli, who started wine production in 1942, in use until 1994. The museum is now part of the anthropological museums of the Region Latium and is the largest dedicated to wine in Europe. The protagonist of the museum is therefore wine in all its forms. At the entrance of the museum, you can see photos taken at the time when the cellar was still active. You can admire the functioning of the cellar on different levels, machinery used for the production of wine, accompanied by windows that display bottles of wine from different eras and with shapes that are not very common today, such as the flask or the Orvietine and the largest barrels in Italy, which are also some of the largest in Europe, made of chestnut wood with a diameter of more than 3 meters.
The charming Medieval village of Pomona Lands
You enter the village by crossing the Piazza Maggiore. The variety of the gates to the towns and the winding stairways are immediately striking. The village, which stands on the travertine rock, has numerous squares, including the main one, Piazza San Giovanni, where the ruins of the ancient 15th century church are located.
The unmissable stops around the old town
–Santa Maria delle Macchie
A brief stop in front of the church that marked the border between the Papal State and the Kingdom of Italy until 18 September 1870.
–The sustainable winery Trebotti
It is located in a magical place, on a hill with a breathtaking view of the Tiber valley, surrounded by
vineyards, aromatic herbs, roses, and tomatoes of different types. It was founded in 2003 by the three Botti brothers, inside which it is possible to taste and buy fine local organic and eco-sustainable wines. The winery collaborates with universities and research centers, which makes the Trebotti winery a leader in Italy for innovation and eco-sustainability. Everything is done on site, from grape cultivation to bottling. Native vines are grown, such as Grechetto, Violone, Sangiovese, and Aleatico, and non-native varieties such as Manzoni Bianco. The wine production is carbon neutral, given the use of light bottles, the underground cellar that allows less energy consumption for thermoregulation, the use of gravity for winemaking, and the fantastic donkey Jane, which helps with the ecological weeding and natural fertilizer for the olive grove. The place is absolutely worth a visit and a tasting, you will not regret it!