CALCATA Village

The oasis of artists 45 minutes from Rome

Small village of Tuscia, in the province of Viterbo but only forty kilometers from Rome, here is Calcata (which means probably the road, run, calcate, precisely). The municipal territory is "divided" into two Calcata. New Calcata was built after the disastrous earthquake of 1908 in Messina and Reggio Calabria, when throughout Italy it decided to evacuate many places with a high degree of insecurity. Old Calcata, the medieval village, which, however, does not die completely and since the 1960s attracted so many "foreigners" in its magical territory. They are mostly creative artists who decide to open labs and bourgeoisie right here. One of the first discoverers of the village is the architect Paolo Portoghesi, who, like the others, is approaching Calcata, far from the city chaos, because it is a place that can blend around different groups of people looking for a lifestyle 'man. Way out of the crazy crowd, in short. The village of Calcata is perched on a tuff terrace, the one created by the ancient activity of the Sabatino Volcano, and dominates the valley of the Treja river, within the park of the same name, in a typical mixed deciduous forest. Its climate is warm-temperate, not particularly cold in winter (when snowfall is also possible) or hot in summer. Then, free to visit Calcata every season.

CALCATA Village

SUBIACO

The first monastery of St. Benedict to 50 minutes from ROME

The name From the Latin sub-laqueum, "under the lakes", the inhabited area is under the Simbruina stagnant, the three artificial lakes created by the barrier of the river Aniene, on whose right bank the Emperor Nerone had a villa. History 302 BC, the Equi are defeated by the Latins who take possession of the territory. 55 d.C. From a series of dams on the river Aniene, Emperor Nero harvested the artificial water mirrors with which he encircled his grand dwelling, of which ruins remain. 368, the pieve in San Lorenzo, built according to tradition by the Roman patriarch Narzio, is located in the primitive inhabited nucleus of the area, just beyond the remains of the Neronian walls. 497, Benedetto da Norcia settles in the valley of Aniene, at the remains of the Nero villa, to lead you for three years hermitic life; In the next thirty years it is located in the thirteen monasteries area, of which the only survivor is Santa Scolastica (originally San Silvestro); All the others are destroyed in the 9th century. During the Saracen invasions; In 937 Pope Leo VII granted to the monastery of Santa Scolastica the castellum of Subiaco, which becomes the center of Benedictine territory. XI-XII century, is the period of greater splendor of the abbey, favored by several popes; In 1224 Francesco d'Assisi is in Subiaco. 1456, Pope Callisto III institutes the commenda (donation of the use of ecclesiastical benefit to lay people or religious) by Subiaco, entrusting the government with Cardinal Torquemada; Commissar bishops are in 1467 Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (who became Pope under the name of Alexander VI) and in 1492 Cardinal Giovanni Colonna, whose family Subiaco is subject to 1608. 1465-67, two German printers of Magonza, K. Sweynheym and A. Pannartz, pupils of Gutenberg, implant in the monastery of Santa Scolastica the first typography in Italy; Among the first printed books, De Oratore di Cicero and De Civitate Dei of Sant'Agostino. 1608, the commend passes to the Borghese family and in 1633 to the Barberini, who develop the manufacturing industry in the district of Opifici. In 1775, Abbot Giovannangelo Braschi, who became Pope Pius VI, granted Subiaco the title of "city" by providing a seminary and a public library. In 1944, Anglo-American bombings damaged the old town, rebuilt at the end of the conflict.

SUBIACO

MATERA is the 2019 European Capital of Culture

A RIDE FROM ROME IN THE CITY OF SASSI

You know there must be something particularly special about a place when, despite the distance from transport hubs and tricky arrival logistics, it suddenly starts popping up on dream itineraries and bucket lists from glossy travel magazines to backpacking blogs. The ancient city of Matera is one of those difficult yet rewarding special places, located in the extreme southern province of Basilicata just a few kilometers from the border with Puglia, and tumbling down a canyon ridge overlooking the neighboring Murgia Materana Park. Not particularly near any principal airports, and set a bit off by itself at the point where the Salento peninsula “heel” attaches to Italy’s “boot”, this hauntingly beautiful place is unique and memorable enough to have been named both a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 and, just this year, the European Capital of Culture for 2019. The History of Matera At first glance, it would be easy to mistake Matera for a Middle Eastern city (indeed, parts of Mel Gibson’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” were filmed here), with its jumble of squared-off, whitewashed buildings crowded haphazardly one on top of the other in the old town, known as the Sassi di Matera, or the stones of Matera. Thought to be the site of the first human settlements on the Italian peninsula, this steep slope was formed over millennia by the erosion of the river Gravina, and the square houses tumbling down the canyon wall are actually entrances into a hidden underground honeycomb of caverns, dug out of the relatively soft sandy rock by generations of settlers who expanded the ridge’s natural grottoes and used them over time as houses, churches, and shops. Sadly, Matera has been known for much of the past two centuries as one of Europe’s most impoverished cities. The thousands of local caves, Italy’s oldest continually inhabited settlements, housed families living in such shocking squalor that the Italian government was forced to rehouse the 20,000 people who were still surviving there without electricity, sanitation, and basic civic services in the 1950s. For decades, the ancient town was abandoned and largely forgotten (or, better, a shameful symbol rarely spoken of publicly), aside from a small group of squatters who began moving in during the 1970s. From there, a quiet Renaissance began, as the barren center was slowly re-inhabited and renovated, and hip cafés, high-end hotels, art galleries, and chic retreats for artists and writers began taking over the more inhabitable caves.

MATERA  is the 2019 European Capital of Culture