What to see in Montefiascone, an itinerary including the main monuments and places of interest, including Rocca dei Papi, Cathedral of Santa Margherita and Basilica of San Flaviano.
Montefiascone is located on the Via Cassia about 15 km from Viterbo and less than 25 km from Orvieto.
The first human settlements in the territory of which Montefiascone is part date back to very distant times, in fact it is known that the Etruscans considered it a sacred land due to the presence of the legendary "Fanum Voltumnae", while the Romans connected it to Rome via the Via Cassia.
Being this location located in a strategic position, the popes and the most prominent Roman families wanted to fortify the inhabited center, where many farmers from the countryside came to find refuge against the barbarian invasions.
Towards the end of the 1200s, a majestic fortress was added to the walls, remodeled several times in the following centuries.
The foundations of the Rocca actually date back to the Etruscan period, but it was not until the year 1000 that the Lords of the time began construction work on the future Rocca.
In the period between 1058 and the end of 1500, over thirty Popes, Emperors and illustrious men took turns in Montefiascone, who chose this place as their residence and brought together the legislative assemblies.
Currently the Rocca dei Papi, after having been completely restored and improved aesthetically, is frequently used for cultural events.
The Cathedral of Santa Margherita can be seen from anywhere in the city, since its grandiose dome has a diameter that places it in third place, in order of size, after that of the Basilica of San Pietro in Rome and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.
This cult building, whose construction began at the end of the fifteenth century, remained for over a century without a ceiling, which was added in the second half of the seventeenth century by Carlo Fontana, on the occasion of the construction of the large dome.
Inside there are remarkable frescoes and other works, including a beautiful altarpiece by Della Robbia and a marble statue of Santa Margherita, the work of the school of Arnolfo di Cambio.Recommended readings
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In the Gothic Romanesque Basilica of San Flaviano, dating back to the eleventh century, particular architectural solutions can be observed, which manage to harmonize the two different stylistic interpretations.
Built over the ancient church of Santa Maria, this building consists of two superimposed and differently oriented churches.
The lower church of 1032 has an interior with three naves, embellished with frescoes made between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
The facade, facing the ancient route of the Via Francigena, is completed by an interesting Renaissance loggia, from which the popes blessed the crowd.
The Monte Falias Historical Procession takes place annually in Montefiascone, which consists of a procession of over 150 characters in medieval costumes.
It is very suggestive to witness the passage of the procession at night, dimly illuminated by the light of the torches, through the narrow and winding streets of the historic center.
Other interesting events, which always take place in August, are the Canestri fair, held on the occasion of the feast of San Bartolomeo, the anise donut festival, the east, east, east! Wine fair gastronomic and local craft weeks.
The restaurants and trattorias have kept intact the traditions of the old taverns, which in ancient times were a refreshment point for pilgrims traveling along the Via Francigena to reach Rome.
For this reason, the local cuisine is genuine and nutritious, with various dishes that include porcini mushroom bruschetta, Colonnata lard, cold cuts, various types of cheese and snails.
Among the first courses, pappardelle with wild boar, ravioli with truffle, tortelli with roe deer, polenta and vegetable soup deserve to be mentioned.
Among the main courses, the beans cooked with pork rind, local grilled meats and fish of lake origin combined with delicious seasonal side dishes are renowned.
Unmissable, as a dessert, the artisan biscuits drenched in vinsanto.
The lake and the beautiful woods that surround it are well equipped for being able to enjoy healthy walks on foot, on horseback or by bicycle, there are also numerous hotels for sleeping, including excellent farmhouses.
In the surroundings it is also possible to visit the villages located around Lake Bolsena, including Marta, Bolsena, Capodimonte, Gradoli and Grotte di Castro.