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Gradoli

The medieval village a few steps from Lake Bolsena

  • Discover Gradoli

    Gradoli is a small town in the province of Viterbo, which is about 35 Km from the head city.


    It is located on the north-western hills of Lake Bolsena on a tuff spur, located in the heart of Volsino. Production land of wines Aleatico DOC of Gradoli, Aleatico of Gradoli Fortified and Aleatico Fortified reserve, Gradoli is a village that thrives on agriculture and tourism.


    Its landscape is made by ample hills and valleys, where the cultivation of vines and olive trees is widespread. Just a few kilometers from Lake Bolsena, its territory includes about 11 km of beach on the shores of the lake.


    Very impressive is also the manifestation of the "Purgatory Lunch", held on Ash Wednesday by the Purgatory Brotherhood. This brotherhood starts working on Shrove Tuesday, cruising the streets and knocking at every door asking for gifts which are then auctioned. The proceeds will be used to set up the social lunch in the Main Canteen. Noteworthy is certainly the Palazzo Farnese, dating from the early sixteenth century by a project of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger.


    The Palace houses the "Museum and Documentation Center of the Farnesian City" in which faithful reproductions of instruments from the 400, 500 and 600 centuries are preserved. Next to the palace stands the Baroque Collegiate Church of St. Mary Magdalene, while on the shores of Lake Bolsena you can admire the small church of San Magno.

  • What to see in Gradoli

  • History of Gradoli

    Gradoli, built over a tuff hill, is located nearby Lake Bolsena.

    Some news about Gradoli date back to 1113 P.C. when Matilde di Canossa gave the Church a number of possessions, including the Gradolarum Castrum, which made up what is actually known as the Lake Valley.

    The Castle of Gradoli was impressive and fortified, it had a fortress and probably a moat, and, even thaugh now turned into streets and squares, its form is still visible.

    In the thirteenth century the Church found itself at odds with Orvieto, which has long yearned possession of these and other surrounding lands. During this century the domain of the area alternated by the Church and by Orvieto. The dispute continued until the two sides found an agreement deciding to hold together the dominion over the Lake Valley.

    Tired of having two masters, the inhabitants of Gradoli, along with those of other villages, tried with little success to rebel.

    In the first half of the fourteenth century Gradoli suffered a serious looting, at the hands of Louis of Bavaria. During this time a handful of 300 valid countrymen tried to resist the siege and destruction, but had to surrender for hunger.

    In the fifteenth century the town was then divided between Pope Eugenius and the Farnese family, which whom in 1505 it passed in perpetual vicarage. In this period Gradoli flourished and became a major center of the Duchy of Castro. During the same period Pope Paul III took Gradoli as his residence and demolished the ruins of the old castle building his new residence, the Palazzo Farnese.

    After the decline of the family Farnese and the destruction of the Duchy of Castro, Gradoli returned in possession of the Church and in 1871 it definitively joined the Kingdom of Italy.

  • Events Gradoli

    • Tentavecchie: within the 3 days that precede the epiphany in Gradoli is celebrated the feast of Tentavecchie. On this occasion, people of all ages gather in the evening in the central square, armed with lids, cowbells and in general of any instrument capable of producing as much noise as possible, in order to drive away evil spirits.
    • Purgatory Lunch: Event that is held in Gradoli for over 500 years and consists of a large and festive lunch held every Ash Wednesday.
    • Feast of Aleatico: flea markets, food stands and lots of music in order to appreciate the tasteful Aleatico wine.

    Scopri gli eventi in corso

  • Typical Products of Gradoli

    • Aleatico wine: red wine, with violet hues and a fine aroma, it has a fruity flavor and a smooth taste.
    • Fortified Aleatico wine: garnet red in color, very aromatic and distinctive, it has a full sweet taste, very pleasant.
    • Grechetto wine: wine both white and red. The white one has a delicate and vinous smell, while the taste is dry and fruity, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The red instead has a very distinctive and fragrant aroma and a dry, full-bodied and very harmonious taste.
    • Grappa: noble grappa brandy, very balanced and with ripe fruit tones, warm and harmonious flavor. Extra virgin olive oil: a low acidity oil, strong in flavor and aroma. Excellent as seasoning for local dishes.
    • Purgatory beans: white kidney-shaped bean, small and delicate in flavor. It is an excellent accompaniment to the traditional recipes or just cooked with garlic, sage, bay leaf and salt.
    • Rounded Potato Viterbo IGP: rich in nutrients present in the local volcanic soil, this potato is a great product. It has a yellow paste and a high content of starch, potassium and vitamin C.