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The city of Castro
Hotel Tuscania Panoramico

The top 5 places of the Farnese family

1 Valentano Castle. Perfectly restored to accommodate the Museo della Preistoria della Tuscia, this was once one of the strongholds of the Farnese family.

2 Palazzo Farnese in Gradoli. This imposing building houses the interesting Famese Costume Museum, with costumes based on those in the frescoes in the villa at Caprarola.

3 Ruins of Castro. In a wood close to the border with the Province of Grosseto.

4 Farnese. This is the town where the noble family originally came from, with the palace and a viaduct spanning the central square.

5 Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola. An imposing pentagonal building that embodies and reflects the height of the power of the Famese family.

Exploring Castro

Situated on the edge of the Selva del Lamone forest, the ruins of the town of Castro lie sattered on a hillside at an altitude of 227 m. To find them, leave Famese on the Pitigliano road. Tum off at the sign to Manciano, and follow the road for a short while until you see signs for the Santuario del Crocifisso. (An Etruscan necropolis was found near the sanctuary church including a tomb in which a famous bronze chariot was found, now housed in the archaeological museum in Albornoz Castle in Viterbo). From the car park of the sanctuary church, it's a 30-minute round trip on foot to the ruins of Castro on a charming woodland footpath.

The fact that the vegetation has invaded the town means that there is nowhere with an overview of the whole town but, if you follow the signs the paths meandering among the ruins take you to some of the most important features of the runed town, uncovered in many recent excavations.

You can see the outline of Piazza Maggiore, paved in brick. In the past, an inn, the ducal palace and the mint overlooked this spacious public area, and it was surrounded by shops. Beyond the main square you can make out the cathedral of S. Savino and the church of S. Maria, identified by a shinine decorating the transept, engraved with the name of the person who built it.

For information about the network of footpaths in the nearby Selva del Lamone Nature Reserve, consult the web site: www.parks.it/nserva.selva.lamone.

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