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GROTTE DI CASTRO: ETRUSCAN AND MEDIEVAL ECHOS NEAR THE LAKE

Grotte di Castro is a picturesque village in the Upper Viterbo Tuscia region, located in the northern area of the ancient Vulsinio volcanic cone that gave rise to the present-day Lake Bolsena.

Etruscan and medieval echoes near the lake

The name of the village comes from the presence of caves located beneath the cliff where the historic center now stands.

The village boasts numerous churches and architectural wonders to explore. The Basilica of Santa Maria del Suffragio deserves special mention. Dating back to 1625, it was built in Baroque style with exquisite wooden inlays and now houses a museum on the lower floor. Other churches in the historic center include the 11th-century Church of San Pietro Apostolo commissioned by Matilda of Canossa, the Church of San Giovanni, the Church of San Marco, and the Church of Santa Maria delle Colonne.

Of notable craftsmanship is the Palazzo Comunale, built in the 16th century according to a design by Vignola. Also noteworthy is the palace housing the Archaeological Museum, which showcases the life, customs, and costumes of the Etruscans, as well as the history of Grotte di Castro, through the exhibition of precious archaeological artifacts.

With an integrated ticket, you can visit the numerous tombs carved into the tuff stone in the Necropolis of Pianezza, dating back to the 7th century BC, and the Etruscan Necropolis known as the “Hundred Rooms.”

Continuing the village tour, you’ll find the beautiful Fontana Grande, constructed in 1886 to commemorate the arrival of the aqueduct.

Events in Grotte di Castro

Among the village’s traditional events and festivals are: the Potato Festival around mid-August, the Tortello Festival in the first half of May, the tasty food and wine event called “Sapori del Borgo” at the end of July, the Living Nativity Scene during the Christmas period, and the Festival of Madonna del Suffragio in early September. Although not directly facing the lake’s shores, Grotte di Castro offers the opportunity to enjoy a clean and pristine environment, thanks to its 800 meters of beach located a short distance from its waters.