This itinerary is outstanding in that, with-in just a few kilometres, it takes in places of unurpassed beauty in terms of both history-archeology and nature. In just a few minutes one can get from the sea (Civitavecchia, S. Marinella, S. Severa), the hills (Tolfa and Allumiere), the mysterious world of the Etruscan and Lake Bracciano, basically everything you could wish for just a stone’s throw from Rome.
We start from Civitavecchia, known in the past as Centumcellae, with its port founded by the Emperor Trajan n the 2nd century AD. We’ll drive around the 16th Century Forte Michelangelo that dominates the Monumental Port and was commissioned by pope Julius II della Rovere to defend the city. The building of this Fort involved the finest archetects of the time such as Bramante, Sangallo the Younger and finally Michelangelo.
After a panoramic drive we’ll reach the Lake Bracciano that the Romans called “Sabatinus Lacus” because its waters fill a series of craters in the Sabatini Mountains. Its origin is volcanic and its size (36 square miles, with a perimeter of about 20 miles), makes it one of the largest lakes in italy.
We will discover the ancient town that is built up on many levels of Anguillara Sabazia, a very pictoresque town with its medieval lanes, round 15th Century Rocca tower, Church of the Assunta, monumental 16th Century town gateway with a clock and lookout post above it, overlooking the lake, the 16th Century Palazzo Baronale with frescoes of the school of Raffaello.
Following the banks of the lake we pass Vigna di Valle Air Force History Museum and come to Bracciano.
The town of Bracciano covers the green heights above the lake and is dominated by the impressive large, stately Castello Orsini Odescalchi, built by Napoleon Orsini in 1470, a typical example of military architecture built by the gentry. The Castle’s structure is pentagonal in shape, with large cylindrical towers, and is still in excellent condition today.
Inside there are numerous works of art such as the frescoes of the Zuccari in the Camera Papalina, the timber ceiling in Sala III painted by Antoniazzo Romano and the marble busts of Paolo Giordano Orsini II and his wife Isabella de Medici, sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Recently (Nov. 2006) a star-studded wedding celebrated in the fairy-tale setting: a glowing 15th-century castle in this medieval lakeside town: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
At the end of the tour we will discover the pretty medieval historical center of Bracciano which developed around the castle. It will be a great opportunity to stroll in its alleys and enjoy the breathtaking views of the lake.