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Ronciglione: Art, Folklore, and Nature in the Cimini Hills and Along the Via Francigena

Ronciglione is located in one of the most picturesque areas of the Tuscia Viterbese, in the Cimini Mountains, and is situated along the Via Francigena, the famous route that led pilgrims to Jerusalem during the Crusades period.

Art, Folklore, and Nature in the Cimini Hills and Along the Via Francigena

The oldest part of Ronciglione, its medieval section, is perched on a tuff hill near the Cimini Mountains, precisely at the confluence of two watercourses: the Rio Vicano and the Fosso Chianello. Ronciglione boasts a highly evocative village and valuable architectural landmarks, such as the Church of Santa Maria della Provvidenza, the Cathedral of SS. Pietro e Caterina, and civil buildings like the Rocca (“I Torrioni”), the Town Hall, the Fontana Grande or degli Unicorni, and the Casa Museo of the venerable Mariangela Virgili. Near the town lies Lake Vico with its natural reserve.

Lake Vico is a crystal-clear lake that reflects Monte Fogliano and Monte Venere, an area believed to have originated from lively volcanic activity, but legend traces it back to Hercules’ club. It’s a confined space where various ecological landscapes come together. The Natural Reserve encompasses a wide variety of natural environments or ecosystems, including extensive high forested areas of beech and oak trees that include centuries-old specimens.

The Ronciglione Carnival

Ronciglione is best known for its Carnival, which features unique events like the swimming race where horses compete in a fiery palio, but without jockeys. The Carnival has Renaissance-Baroque origins and has been celebrated for 130 years. During the festive days, the entire town transforms into a medieval city. The Red Noses and a group of Hussar-costumed horsemen perform, racing through the town’s narrow streets. This reenactment commemorates an event that occurred during the defense of the Papal State by the French garrison.

Events in Ronciglione

Among other events, there’s the Palio delle Barche in July, featuring a beautiful historical procession through the town’s streets. There’s also the Feast of Saint Anna and the Fried Pizza Festival, the Festival of the Villages, and the Christmas event called “Passeggiando tra i Presepi,” which translates to “Strolling among the Nativity Scenes.”