Sutri is a small town located about 50 kilometers north of Rome and 35 kilometers south of Viterbo. It is located on a high piece of land along the ancient Via Cassia consular road and has fewer than 7,000 inhabitants.
Sutri city guide
The address of the town hall is Piazza del Comune, 32 (tel. +39 07616011). The postal code is 01015 and the area code is 0761. The town has no boroughs. The Tourist Office of Sutri is also located in Piazza del Comune, 45 (Tel.: 0761609380) and is open every day except Monday, from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00.
By car/public transportation
From Viterbo by car: take the SR2 (Via Cassia) in southern direction.
From Rome by car: Take the SR2 in northern direction.
Public transportation from Viterbo: From Viterbo as well as from Rome it is possible to reach the Capranica-Sutri station by regional train FR3. However, this is rather misleading, since from this station it is difficult (except for a sporadic Cotral bus) to reach the town itself. It is much better to take a direct Cotral bus to the town.
Public transportation from Rome: From the station Saxa Rubra (on the Roma Nord line) there is a regular bus connection.
A brief history of Sutri
Sutri was already an important city in Etruscan times and actually remained so until the end of the Middle Ages. From then on, the town had to endure ever new conquerors and feudal lords.
The history of Sutri starts in the Bronze Age. The city was probably founded by a people called Pelasgi. In Etruscan times, Sutri was an influential agricultural and commercial center.
There is also a myth claiming Sutri was founded by the God Saturn. The city’s coat of arms shows this God on a horse and holding three ears of corn.
In 383 BC Sutri was conquered by the Romans. In the following centuries it became an important stronghold against the various Barbarian hordes who traveled down the Via Cassia to attack Rome.
In 728, after Sutri had played a role in the war between the Lombards and the Byzantines, the Lombard king donated the city to Pope Gregory II.
From as early as the 5th century, Sutri has been a diocese. Between 1243 and 1244, Pope Innocent IV even settled there briefly, having had to flee from Emperor Federico II, whom he had put under an ecclesiastical ban.
During the Middle Ages Sutri, together with the other towns in the region, became involved in the dispute between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Having been turned to ashes during the skirmishes, the city never regained its former influence.
15th century till the present
In 1435, after having been left to decay, Sutri was united with Nepi.
The Via Cassia Cimina and the neighboring town of Ronciglione, mainly thanks to the influence of the powerful Farnese family, gained in importance, after which Sutri was mainly used as a means of exchange between influential families.
The later Pope Pius V, who would also be canonized, was the bishop of Sutri in the year 1556. The city’s cathedral contains many works of art and relics that refering to his presence.
At the end of the 18th century Sutri was conquered by the French and incorporated into Ronciglione.
Most of the attractions in and around Sutri are related to the Etruscan and Roman background of the town. The most important monuments in the Archaeological Park are the Amphitheater and the Mithraeum. The Necropolis is counted among the most important rock tombs found in the area. The mithraeum was later converted into the Madonna del Parto Church.
The most important church in Sutri is the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral.
Just outside the city, within the borders of the Parco Regionale di Sutri, is the Villa Savorelli. The Madonna del Monte Church stands in the garden of this villa.
The Santa Maria del Tempio Church is now the visitor center of the Parco Urbano.
Events and Festivals
In the 2nd week of September the Sagra del Faggiolo (“Bean Festival”) takes place. At the same time there is a crafts market.
September 16th is the birthday of the patron saint of the city, Santa Dolcissima. This is celebrated with a religious procession in which an image of the saint is carried through the city. There are fireworks and a torchlight show.