Vetralla is a town and comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

in the Province of Viterbo
Province of Viterbo
The Province of Viterbo is a province in the Lazio region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Viterbo. It is bordered to the north by the Province of Grosseto and Siena, by the north-east with the Province of Terni and Rieti, in the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and south by the Province of Rome.It...

, in central Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, 11 km to the south of that city, located on a shoulder of Monte Fogliano.


Vetralla's dominating fortified position in the heart of Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

 territories has been continuously occupied since the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

. The Roman site, two kilometers distant, was a posting station on the Via Cassia
Via Cassia
The Via Cassia was an important Roman road striking out of the Via Flaminia near the Milvian Bridge in the immediate vicinity of Rome and, passing not far from Veii traversed Etruria...

; some ruins of walls and paving at S. Maria di Forcassi still mark the Roman Forum Cassii
Forum Cassii
Forum Cassii was an ancient town of Etruria, in what is now central Italy, situated on the Via Cassia, with the formation of which, from its name, it was certainly connected...

. The site was depopulated in the later Empire, when a smaller population retreated to the present strategic position commanding the valley, where it remained exposed to attack, in spite of the imposing walls that encircled it.

The little fortress had been incorporated into the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 from their historic beginnings with the Lombard
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 king Liutprand's Donation of Sutri
Donation of Sutri
The Donation of Sutri was an agreement reached at Sutri by Liutprand, King of the Lombards and Pope Gregory II in 728. At Sutri, the two reached an agreement by which the city and some hill towns in Latium were given to the Papacy, "as a gift to the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul" according to...

 (728) to Pope Gregory II
Pope Gregory II
Pope Saint Gregory II was pope from May 19, 715 to his death on February 11, 731, succeeding Pope Constantine. Having, it is said, bought off the Lombards for thirty pounds of gold, Charles Martel having refused his call for aid, he used the tranquillity thus obtained for vigorous missionary...

, but the lords of Viterbo
See also Viterbo, Texas and Viterbo UniversityViterbo is an ancient city and comune in the Lazio region of central Italy, the capital of the province of Viterbo. It is approximately 80 driving / 80 walking kilometers north of GRA on the Via Cassia, and it is surrounded by the Monti Cimini and...

 held it from 1110 to 1134. By 1145, Pope Eugene III
Pope Eugene III
Pope Blessed Eugene III , born Bernardo da Pisa, was Pope from 1145 to 1153. He was the first Cistercian to become Pope.-Early life:...

 was installed at Vetralla, apart from the violence and party strife of Rome; from here he issued his bull Quantum praedecessores
Quantum praedecessores
Quantum praedecessores is a papal bull issued on December 1, 1145, by Pope Eugenius III, calling for a Second Crusade. It was the first papal bull issued with a crusade as its subject....

, calling for the Second Crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...


The territory was given extensive woodlands by Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

 in 1206, which brought it into fierce contention with the lords of Viterbo who coveted the land. To this day, in the annual ceremonial Sposalizio dell'albero ("marriage of the tree"), the mayor of Vetralla reaffirms the commune's rights of possession on Monte Fogliano. The fief was entrusted through the centuries to various noble families associated with the Papacy, as lords of Vetralla: first the Orsini, then the Di Vico until 1435, when the last lord Giacomo di Vico was forcibly ousted by the cardinal-condottiere Giovanni Vitelleschi
Giovanni Vitelleschi
Giovanni Maria Vitelleschi was an Italian cardinal and condottiere.-Biography:Vitelleschi was born in Corneto , some kilometers north to Rome. He received a military education, which he refined as apostolic protonotary under Pope Martin V...

, confined in the fortress of Soriano, then beheaded. Vetralla then passed in rapid succession among a series of Papal nobles, to Cardinal Giovanni Borgia
Giovanni Borgia (1474)
Giovanni Borgia, 2nd duke of Gandía was the son of Pope Alexander VI and the brother of Cesare Borgia, Gioffre Borgia, and Lucrezia Borgia. Giovanni, also known as Juan or Joan, was the second of the Pope's four children by Vanozza de' Catanei...

, to Lorenzo Cybo (1529), and to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese in 1534.

Main sights

  • Church of San Pietro
  • Church of San Francesco
  • Church of Sant'Angelo
  • Grotta Porcina
  • Church of Santa Maria in Forocasii
  • City and Territory Museum
    City and Territory Museum
    The City and Territory Museum is a museum in Vetralla, Lazio, central Italy. It was founded in 1992 by Enrico Guidoni and Elisabetta De Minicis. It is located where part of northern walls of Vetralla used to be...

  • Rock necropolis
    A necropolis is a large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structural tombs. The word comes from the Greek νεκρόπολις - nekropolis, literally meaning "city of the dead"...

    of Norchia

External links

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