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Farnese, like many villages in the Viterbo area, was built on a tuff cliff circumscribed by steep cliffs. The earliest settlements date back to the Late Bronze Age, and the name Farnese derives from the “farnia,” a type of oak tree that is widespread in this area.

The village of Pinocchio surrounded by woods and gentle hills

It was here that the famous Farnese family originated and took possession of the territory from the Ildebrandi family in the 13th century. With the election of Pope Alessandro Farnese under the name Paul III in the 16th century, the town experienced a period of great activity; palaces, churches, gardens, and artworks were embellished. After this period, ownership passed to the Chigi family first and then, in the 19th century, it was annexed to the possessions of the Church.
The village is accessed through the so-called “Porta Nuova” (New Gate). Built in 1613, a viaduct once connected the Farnese Fortress to the Selva, a garden that has since disappeared. After passing through the gate, you arrive at a square where the main entrance of the Rocca Farnese overlooks, and from here, the visit to the real ancient village begins: you walk through a series of alleyways adorned with plants and flowers and arrive at the small church of Santa Maria delle Nevi. In Farnese, you can also discover the so-called medieval “butti”; wells carved into the tuff that were originally used as grain silos or rainwater cisterns, and later employed to dispose of organic waste and no longer usable furnishings. The Civic Museum “F. Rittatore Vonwiller” collects ceramic materials found in these wells, allowing the reconstruction of snapshots of the daily life of the village inhabitants from the 14th century to the first half of the 17th century. Perhaps a fact not known to everyone that will enrich your visit is that Farnese was the location for most of the scenes in Comencini’s adaptation of Pinocchio. It’s possible, therefore, to search for Geppetto’s house, Mastro Ciliegia’s workshop, and the aqueduct.

Events in Farnese

Among the events held in Farnese are: the Shepherds’ Festival with an exhibition of animals; the Hunter’s Festival, one of the most important events in the province, featuring competitions of pointing dogs on pheasants, a dog show, and discussions about hunting; the Feast of Madonna delle Grazie in May; the Feast of the Assumption; the Beer Festival; the Hunting and Fishing Festival, and Farnese in Bloom.