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Today Ronciglione is a thriving attractive town, welcoming tourists and visitors throughout the year but especially in Summer when people come to enjoy the lake, cycling and walking. Holidaymakers camping at Lake Bolsena are within easy reach of Ronciglione - a pretty route by bike or campervan.
The main high street is about 2 km long, lined with pretty pastel coloured shops and houses - some dating back to the 17th century which you can see reflected in the beautiful architectural features such as the balconies.
Ronciglione is NOT a place where you should come if you want to watch your waistline though, as there are delicious pastry shops, bakeries, ice-cream shops and cafès, plus a choice of excellent restaurants - of one which is owned by one of the Fendi sisters. There is a great bakery which only makes bread, cobs, pizzas (not your usual idea of a pizza - these are referred to as pizza rossa (red) or pizza bianca (white), served by weight or size, and are usually eaten cold) and some traditional sweet biscuits and tarts. Our favourite pastry shop is the 'Dolce Borgo' pictured below, located on Via del Lavatoio. The owners speak some English, otherwise just point! :) For delicious and very filling take-away (or eat-in) we love 'Corte dei Prefetti di Vico' on the main high street.
There are a number of famous events which take place in the town each year. Starting with Carnival in Feb/Mar, the Mille Miglia vintage car race passes through in May, and the Palio in July. If you want to practice your Italian there is an open-air cinema late evenings throughout August. We can honestly say that these are all fun events, worth experiencing at least once during your stay in central Italy and you MUST go to our favourite pastry shop!
Above you get a glimpse of the old part of town - the Borgo Medievale (Medieval village), considered one of the most beautiful 'burgs' of central Italy. It is a charming muddle of balconies, flower pots and hanging laundry - and a castle! Bring your camera or sketchbook to record the many pretty corners and alleys (which also provide cool shade in the Summer heat!) and if you would like to visit the castle then please get in touch with us through our contact form.
A Bit of History
The most ancient document mentioning Ronciglione dates to 1103 but an historian from 16th century Orvieto gave a slightly earlier date of 1045, due to the Prefetti of Vico. Later it was a possession of the House of Anguillara, a baronal familty of Latium and a Guelph family of Rome. Pope Paul II conquered it to the Papal States in 1465.
In 1526 Ronciglione became a possession of the House of Farnese, and lived its period of greatest splendour: its industries included manufacturing of copper, iron, paper, weapons and others. In 1649 the Farnese seigniory ended and was bought back by Pope Innocent X, in 1728 it received the status of city by Pope Benedict XIII.
The Ronciglionesi took active part in the Roman Republic of 1798–99: the French troops, however, crushed the revolt and burnt the city on July 20, 1799.
Monuments & sights (mostly churches):
Places to Get Wed
Well, of course there is the very charming aforementioned medieval castle situated a short walk from the main church; there is a hotel (with small spa and medium-sized outdoor pool) overlooking Lake Vico, and an estate belonging to a noble family called Villa Lina which has an area with its own private pool set in a kiwi plantation.
Claims to Fame!
The classic film 'La Vita è Bella' starring Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) was set during WWII and used Ronciglione's disused train station for the scene where they have to get on the train (about half way through), and the church of Sant'Eusebio was used as a location for one of the many films of the life of St. Francis - and infact the St. Francis Way...better known as the Via Francigena, runs through Ronciglione near the castle.