Torrita Tiberina – the charming Tiber River towery hamlet
Slow touring along the Tiber River climbing until the ancient castle of Torrita Tiberina
We are along the banks of the Tiber River, just a few miles before the blonde river (so-called because of the yellowish sand giving it its typical color) enters the city of Rome. But here it doesn’t flow between ancient buildings and renaissance palaces. Here it moves slowly, making big curves. Climbing the hill with our e-bikes, the panorama changes, a green line surrounded by trees, the view opens, giving the chance to see the mountains, one after the other, the new one farther than the one before. Once on top, you can dominate the entire southern part of the river valley, framed by the emerald green of Sabina hills and mountains, the Apennines, the city of Rome, and the profile of the ancient Alban Hills Volcano.
Torrita Tiberina, the castle full of towers overlooking the River
Just like all the other small villages in this area, Torrita Tiberina started like a watchtower. After the fall of the Roman Empire the area around the city was not safe anymore and groups of barbarians, Saracens, and brigands were rampaging through the countryside. There were many towers in the area, visible from each other, they were used to spot the enemy from afar and warn the other watchtowers with signals to spread the news of imminent danger and give people the chance to save themselves.
With time, some of these towers became castles, fortified places granting peasants to run inside in case of attack, and finally, people started building their houses close to the castle. This is how Torrita Tiberina, and many other villages, were born around the year 1000.
During our e-bike itineraries dedicated to Bona Dea, after the steep slope to arrive on top, we can stop in front of the main entrance of the tiny ancient town, then leave our bikes to enter the narrow alleys of Torrita Tiberina. Just after the big old portal, the main square is in front of us with the Baronial Palace (in It. Palazzo Baronale), today property of the Municipality of Torrita Tiberina. The basement of the palace is the oldest part of the castle, during the centuries continuously restored and transformed into a noble family palace when times became safer. The streets are so narrow that cars are not allowed inside, they would not even fit in them. Some circular towers are still visible among the streets, reminding us of the reason for this place’s name.
Contemporary art hosted by nature: the Fondazione Serpone, a unique experience of revelation
A few contemporary works in the towery town announce the new calling of Torrita Tiberina. Very close to the ancient village, in less than 3 minutes with our e-bikes, we can enter into a magic world of the Fondazione Serpone, welcomed by Christin Adele Pettibone, director of marketing of the art foundation. To enjoy the beautiful garden with site-specific operas from some of the most important artists of the contemporary scene is one of the highlights of our guided tours in the area.
It is a place of intense charm where art installations, usually interactive, are in harmony with the gorgeous landscape and view of the valley. It’s a garden with an ancient philosophical and intellectual meaning: a space that gives a unique chance to stop and meditate, listen, and reflect on universal issues, far from nowadays hurries.