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Grotte di Castro

Between Etruscan and medieval times

  • Discover Grotte di Castro

    Grotte di Castro is a town in the Italian province of Viterbo, which is about 45 Km from the Capital City.

    The town is located on the northern part of an ancient volcanic cone, which belongs to the mountain range of Volsino. Above the ancient roofs, it stands the basilica built in 1625, inside which you can admire interesting paintings and visit a particular Antiquarium.

    The surrounding area is rich in Etruscan tombs, whose funerary objects can be admired inside the Civic Archaeological and Popular Traditions' Museum.

    Locals are dedicated to agriculture even today and the main activity is the cultivation of the UpperViterbese IGP potato, to which, in the month of August, a festival full of events and folk ideas is dedicated.

  • What to see in Grotte di Castro

  • Video of Grotte di Castro

  • History of Grotte di Castro

    The town's origins date back to Etruscan times, of which Grotte was a very important center. Originally it was located near the border between Vulci and Volsinii and between the VII and VIII centuries A.C. it experienced a remarkable development witnessed by the extension of the surrounding necropolis.

    Between mid-VI and III century A.C. the town went through a period of crisis due to the economic difficulties that in that period hit the whole Etruria and to Roman expansionism on volsinese territory.

    The ancient settlement was deserted already during the eighth century P.C. in conjunction with the invasion of the Lombards, which forced the inhabitants to move to the nearby safer cliff , where stands the current Grotte di Castro.

    The name "Grotte di Castro" (litterally meaning Castrum Caves) comes from the fact that the people on the run, deprived of all their possessions, were forced at first to use caves as their dwellings. However we have to wait for 1077 to see appear on a document the official name "Grotte".

    In 1119 D.C. Grotte di Castro fell under the power of Orvieto, as many of the surrounding villages and, following the looting suffered by Henry VII in 1186, the boundary wall was built.

    In the sixteenth century Grotte became part of the Duchy of Castro and in 1537 it went under the Farnese family. In this period the medieval village underwent a big urban development with the construction of the Palazzo Innocenzo Iuzzi and the palazzo del Vignola.

    Under the guidance of the Farnese, the town experienced a climate of peaceful coexistence, unfortunately destined to disappear when in 1649, the city of Castro was invaded and destroyed by the papal army of Innocent X. By now it came under the control of the Holy See, until the capture of Rome and the annexation of all the provinces of Lazio to the kingdom of Italy in 1870.

    Since then, the village found itself to be subjected to the Albertine Statute until 1946, when Italy passed from monarchy to republic.

  • Events Grotte di Castro

    • Potato Festival: in the middle of August the PGI potatoes is celebrated with a rich display of tastings and events.
    • Grotte's Summer Fest: from late July to late August, a rich carnet of events depopulated in Grotte di Castro, for the exhibition "Grotte's Summer".
    • Festival of the tortelli: in the first half of May takes place in Grotte di Castro, the festival of tortello. Rich and regional event, it represents the opportunity for visitors to taste the tortello, a typical pasta of the area, in the company of games and events.
    • Borgo flavors: tasty food and wine event of late July, it was born to raise awareness of the territory among turists and to invite them to explore places and characteristic flavors.
    • Living Nativity: during the Christmas season, Grotte di Castro helds its own typical representation of the Nativity, with many live characters.
    • Our Lady of Suffrage: in early September a solemn procession and many events are organized.

    Scopri gli eventi in corso

  • Typical Products of Grotte di Castro

    • Upper Viterbese IGP potato: oval and with a yellow paste, this potato is a high quality product, rich in minerals such as potassium and calcium. Excellent if boiled, but also as a side dish to meat and fish, it finds its excellence in the implementation of the gnocchi.
    • Oil: extra virgin olive oil with a valuable and intense flavor as its color. Excellent as a condiment for soups, bruschetta and local dishes.
    • Wine: DOC and IGT Wine both white and red, it is excellent as an accompaniment to the many typical dishes of the area.