Castel Sant’Elia is a small town in the province of Viterbo. It is located in a hilly region, close to the better known Nepi. Highlight is the Basilica of Sant’Elia.
Castel Sant’Elia City Guide
The address of the town hall is Via Umberto I, 41 (tel. +39 0761556425). The ZIP code is 01030 and the area code is 0761.
By car/public transportation
By car from Viterbo: Follow the SP1 until Belvedere Lidia and take the exit to Nepi (SS311). Continue on the SP77.
By car from Rome: Take the SR2 until shortly after Settevene and then the SP38 until Nepi, where you take the SP77.
Public transport from Viterbo: There are Cotral buses to and from Viterbo (twice a day).
Public transport from Rome: There are Cotral buses from Saxa Rubra (on the RomaNord line from Flaminio).
The name of the town derives from an ancient brotherhood called the Cenobio di Sant’Elia (Cenobites were a kind of hermit, with the difference that they lived in groups).
What to see in Castel Sant’Elia
Santuario di Maria Santissima ad Rupes: This church is part of a monastery.
Towards the end of the 18th century, the hermit Giuseppe Rodio dug a long underground passage with 144 steps to the Holy Grotto (Grotta Santa), where a painting of the “Virgin and Child” is kept and venerated. Next to this grotto is a small museum with sacred vestments from the 12th to 14th century.
The Sant’Elia Basilica was built in the 9th century, on an existing Benedictine monastery. The pulpit (12th century) was made from the fences that surrounded the presbytery in the 8th and 9th centuries. In the transept and apse there are frescoes dating back to the 12th century.
The San Giuseppe Church is of more recent date.