Arlena di Castro is a small town (fewer than one thousand inhabitants) in the northern part of the province of Viterbo. The area is called Monti Volsini and is known for its cultivation of grain and olives.
Arlena di Castro city guide
To travel by car from Viterbo to Arlena di Castro you first follow the SP2 (Strada Tuscanese) and then from Tuscania the SP14.
Arlena di Castro used to belong to the Duchy of Castro and Ronciglione. It is built on top of the ruins of the Etruscan city of Contenebra, which was destroyed by the Romans during the wars for possession of the Tuscia area.
After the destruction of their city its inhabitants created two new settlements, Arlena and Civitella di Arlena. During the middle ages the two cities united again.
In 1534 cardinal Alessandro Farnese encouraged some families from the Umbrian city of Allerona to settle around Arlena di Castro by giving them land and exempting them from paying taxes.
Tourist attractions Arlena di Castro
Apart from the ruins of the ancient castle there are also several churches in Arlena di Castro. The most interesting one is the 15th century San Rocco Church, which contains a number of 18th century frescoes. Other churches are the Collegiata, the San Giovanni Church and the San Sepolcro Chapel.
San Rocco Church
The San Rocco Church is made of a volcanic stone called tufo. It consists of a single nave, ending in a square apse. The fresco on the left wall depicts “Maria with the saints Bartolomeo and Bernardino da Siena” and was made in 1619. The other frescoes in the church were also painted in the 17th century. The low relief terracotta in the lunetta above the entrance was made by Mario Vinci (1934-2018), a sculptor from nearby Acquapendente. The church needed to be restored after the earthquake of 1971. It is located in the Piazza San Rocco, in the historical center of Arlena.
La Piantata Etruscan tomb
In 1982, in the suburb of La Piantata the remains of an Etruscan tomb were found. it consists of a single room, the walls of which have been painted in red and black. Other decorations of this 4th century BC tomb are depictions of two shields and an Etruscan inscription.