Castel Sant’Elia

Castel Sant’Elia is a municipality in the province of Viterbo surrounded by an area rich in water and vegetation and located on a tuff plateau, bordered by deep ravines. Castel Sant’Elia was originally a vicus of the Agro Falisco, then the centers were abandoned in the Roman period. In these centuries the consular roads, Amerina, Flaminia and Cassia, acquired importance and became the main connections of the territory. Castel Sant’Elia was repopulated in the Middle Ages and the town became the property of the Abbey of San Benedetto di Pentoma. For a long time it was dependent on the church and subsequently became a fief governed by a succession of various families including the Colonna, the Orsini and the Farnese, who built the new Castle.

After other ups and downs, the town became the property of the Marquis Lezzani at the end of the 18th century. In the historic center there are some thirteenth-century fortifications with Renaissance bulwarks and an intricate maze of narrow streets and houses. Of particular note is the eighteenth-century Villa dei Petretti. The religious architecture is very numerous and one of the places to visit is the rock church of San Leonardo, created inside a tuff ridge. The two most significant monuments which are located outside the historic center deserve particular mention: the sanctuary of Maria Santissima ad Rupes and the Basilica of Sant’Elia.