The Rocca Albernoz, or Fortezza Albornoz, is located on the eastern edge of Orvieto‘s historic centre. Built in the 14th century, the castle now serves as a public park. The funeral of the Italian freedom fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi was held here.
Rocca Albernoz Orvieto
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Via Postierla, 301, 05018 Orvieto. It is now a public park and admission is free. The Fortezza Albornoz is open 24/7.
History and description
There used to be a temple known as the Augurale in Etruscan times in the spot where the castle was constructed. The original name of the fortress was Rocca di San Martino.
It was the Pope’s envoy, Egidio Albernoz, who ordered its construction around the mid-14th century. In those days, both the city cemetery and Orvieto’s most important buildings were located in this area.
There used to be a small building at the entrance to the square castle, which was protected by a moat and could only be entered via a drawbridge.
In 1395, the castle was almost completely razed to the ground. It was not until the mid-15th century that it was rebuilt with additional protection in the form of a circular defensive wall.
After the sack of Rome in 1527, Pope Clement VII fled to Orvieto. To ensure that the city would not run out of water, he had the Pozzo di San Patrizio built. Later, he had a second well built in order to supply the castle with water.
This well used a water storage facility already built in the 13th century. The architect who designed it was Antonio da Sangallo the Younger.
The work on the fortress was completed in 1620. There is an inscription referring to a restoration under Pope Alexander VII.
In 1831, a large part of the castle was again demolished. The moat was filled with soil in 1888, which was necessary for the construction of the funiculare.
After the castle had been turned into a public park, the funeral of the Italian freedom fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi was held here. It is still a public garden. There is also an amphitheater which is often used for concerts and other events.