Things to do in Vitorchiano – a peperino village between history and cinema

Vitorchiano, a peperino village between history and cinema

We are in the heart of Tuscia, north-east of Viterbo, between the Cimini mountains and the valley of the Vezza stream, for a view of the medieval village of Vitorchiano.

Vitorchiano, seen from the civic tower
Vitorchiano, seen from the civic tower

Like many villages in the area, Vitorchiano stands on a peperino cliff, and the image it shows of itself from afar is truly unique: inside it has preserved the typical medieval architecture and walking you can discover monuments, places, views and suggestive corners, such as the “Profferli”, that is a row of arches or stairways leading to the houses. Yes, it is one of the architectural elements that characterize the village.

The visit route

The visit begins by crossing Porta Romana, so-called because it faces the capital, of which she was a devoted servant. In the coat of arms, but also on many houses, you can read the letters S.P.Q.R. The origins of Vitorchiano, however, date back to the Etruscan period. After passing the door we enter another dimension. Within the historic core of Vitorchiano, it seems that time has stopped.

The legend

Legend has it that a local young man, a shepherd named Marzio, learned that the Etruscan army was marching on the city and ran from Vitorchiano to Rome to warn of the imminent danger. On the way, a thorn stuck in one foot, but stoically reached the Capitol, warning the Romans of the danger. Unfortunately, out of breath, he fell to the ground and died. The Romans honored him with a bronze statue that can still be seen today in the seat of the Roman town hall.

The visit to the village

Vitorchiano, church of Santa Maria
Vitorchiano, a church of Santa Maria

The city is surrounded by walls interspersed with towers and after crossing the Roman gate, take via dell’Aringa which leads to Piazza della Trinità and then to Piazza Roma, where the Palazzo Comunale, the spindle fountain, the clock tower, and the house stand. of the podestà and the Renaissance church dedicated to S. Antonio Abate.
The Town Hall was built in the first half of the 1400s. Inside, the large hall where the City Council meets can be visited. But not only. You can climb to the top of the tower, 16 meters high, called “dell’orologio” from which you can admire the panorama of the village.

The places of cinema

Vitorchiano, the places of the set of: the Brancaleone Army
Vitorchiano, the places of the set of the Brancaleone Army

Vitorchiano was the set of some scenes of the film “The Brancaleone Army” and in the village, you can visit the places chosen for the filming. The 1966 film directed by Mario Monicelli is one of the best-known films of Italian comedy and one of the director’s masterpieces. Among the interpreters Vittorio Gassman, Gian Maria Volontè, Catherine Spaak, Enrico Maria Salerno. Some panels illustrate the whole.

The Moai Statue

At the end of the tour of the historic center of Vitorchiano, the visit continues towards the Moai statue.

Vitorchiano, Moai statue
Vitorchiano, Moai statue

The Moai statue can be reached after crossing the Ponte Nuovo and walking along Via Teverina until you reach the camper square. The six-meter tall monument, in peperino, reproduces the anthropomorphic monoliths of Easter Island “I Moai” and was built in 1990 by eleven Maori originally from Rapa Nui, who came to Italy to promote the restoration of their statues.

How do I get to Vitorchiano?

Vitorchiano can be reached from the A1 motorway, Milan-Naples, Orte exit, then the Orte – Viterbo highway with the Vitorchiano exit. From Rome, you can take the train (Termini station) up to Ore and then continue by bus, or the Roma Nord train in Piazzale Flaminio, up to Vitorchiano Scalo.

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