What to see in Vetralla, itinerary including the main monuments and places of interest, including Palazzo Franciosoni, Palazzo Comunale, Church of San Francesco, Church of Santa Maria di Forcassi and Grotta Porcina.
Located along the Via Cassia to the west of Lake Vico and on the slopes of the Cimini Mountains, sloping down towards the coast, Vetralla was first a Villanovan and then Etruscan settlement, with little importance during the Roman dominion and subjected, during the Middle Ages, to the numerous families who they had had in fiefdom.
Among the things to see is Palazzo Franciosoni, built between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries according to the principles of the Vignolesque school.
Inside there are interesting frescoes, probably by the Zuccari brothers, while the garden of the internal courtyard has a balustrade and a stone fountain placed on the wall located under the small balcony.
The eighteenth-century Villa comunale is a remarkable building, where one immediately notices its main feature, namely that of having a bell tower and a central clock.
In the council room there is a bust depicting Cardinal Eric Stuart, Duke of York and protector of the city of Vetralla, while on the staircase, in addition to the Roman coats of arms, you can also see those relating to the King of England Henry Eighth and to the Archcardinal of York, Christopher Bainbridge.
The Church of San Francesco, rebuilt in the eleventh century in Romanesque style, has a remarkable decorated entrance portal, inside three naves with three apses you can admire fifteenth and seventeenth-century frescoes, in addition to the funeral monument of Briobis, made by Pablo Romano.
Grotta Porcina, which is an archaeological area discovered in 1965 along the Via Clodia route, owes its name to the particular use that was once made of the ancient Etruscan tombs present, used as stables for pigs.
It is made up of a 28-meter diameter mound with three chambers in axis, of which the first chamber is characterized by a relief ceiling with regular coffers, while the second has an entrance portal decorated with a red relief .
The small Church of Santa Maria di Forcassi, in medieval times, was a stop for pilgrims who were on their way along the Via Francigena.
With origins dating back to the 10th century, this building has a single nave interior with three apses, where you can see some remains of frescoes, including a Madonna and Child Enthroned and a Crucifixion, as well as other works dating back to the period between fourteenth and seventeenth centuries.Recommended readings
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Outside it is possible to admire the remarkable rose window on the facade, which represents a Solomon's Knot embedded in the circular opening, as a symbolic sign of man's profound union with God.
Some scholars believe that Santa Maria di Forcassi belonged in the past to the Knights Templar and that it was part of an itinerary that included all the Templar churches scattered in the area around Viterbo.