The circuit Fondo Valle within Perlata Valley (Caldera of Montefiascone ), looks like a good passegiata with average difficulty for all nature lovers and not only. For details click on “DESCRIPTION” and download the map.
Info: OFFICE TOURISM tel. 0761.832062-60 (h 8.00 -14.00) – www.comune.montefiascone.vt.it – Agriculture and Environment Department
Medium difficulty. Overall length: 6,900 meters. Difference in altitude: 255 meters. Average travel time: 2 hours.
COAST LAKE CIRCUIT
PLACES OF INTEREST ALONG THE LAKE VALLEY ROUTE “VALLE PERLATA”- Montefiascone. THE CHURCHES.
THE TEMPLE OF MONTEDORO (1)
The original project by Antonio da Sangallo (1536-37)
In the early XIV century, along the road between Marta and Montefia-scone, in a place called Montemoro, there was a XV century shrine containing an image of the Madonna attributed to the painter Antonio del Massaro known as “Il Pastura” from Viterbo. In the spring of 1523 Montefiascone was struck by the plague and the people made a vow to build a church in honour of the Virgin Mary. The original project of the church was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1536-37) and included a large convent built around a square cloister. The present octagonal church is only a part of the original project which was abandoned for financial reasons.
CHURCH OF ST. MARIA DELLA VALLE (2)
The church, almost certainly built in the early Middle Ages, has a rectangular plan with a gabled roof and only one entrance on the west side. On the eastern side there is a higher rectangular building and on the right a bell tower. Inside, the ceiling is made up of decorative two-tone bricks with the inscription “Maria ora pro nobis” and a date, 1646. The devotion to Mary has always been heartfelt among the population and has been passed down until today with a Mass on September 8th, followed by a folk festival. The church was near the Castle of “Valle Perlata” which the ancient name of the valley derives from and takes its name from this valley”.
SAN PANCRAZIO CHURCH (3)
It is one of the oldest churches first mentioned into a privilege of Pope Leo IV in 852 and dedicated to St Pancrazio (young peasant martyr) under the name “in Nocerino” because of a probable wood of nut trees near the church. The building shows signs of three different historical periods of construction overtime. The large blocks of tufa stone are evidence of the first period. They are placed horizontally with a thin layer of mortar”.
Four shel-ves with sty-lized decorations under the ea-ves on the north side testify the origin of the early Romanesque church. Under the church there is a room excavated in the rock upon which the church was then built in order to incorporate it. The latter is probably connected to ancient rupestrian settlements of Benedictine monks.
LANDMARKS OF HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL INTEREST
HYDRAULIC MILLS (1, 2, 3)
In the valley there were three mills: “Top mill” (1a), “Middle Mill” (1b) and Bottom mill (1c), owned by the Church from 1300 to 1400. In 1901 the mills worked during the day on 2 – hours shifts. The millstones thus propelled were used to grind the wheat and other cereals such as the millet, the rye, the barley and the spelt. The mill pond was usually supplied from small reservoirs upstream of each water mill and were emptied during the working hours to be filled again later. According to certain historical texts, 1/16 of the flour had to be retained by the millers (“pro mulitura”) and the sale of this flour was forbidden. Just the middle one of the three water mills along the route is still working. The ruins of the two mills on either side of this one are presently covered by vegetation.
THE WITCHES OF COSTE (4)
The small village of Coste is interested by a legend: people believed that witches lived in this location, bewitched women who could not approach the sacraments, which had the power to be transformed into animals (preferably goat or cat) that could also turn into wind and enter homes through cracks of doors and windows. In this area, near the church of St. Pancrazio was placed the “house of Cempene” (cempene = cymbal or tambourine) where the witches met all together, reached by the devil or Crapione (goat), blue dressed like the Etruscan demons., This colour meant storms and disaster. St. Pancrazio, protector of the inhabitants of the Coste waited for the day to cancel the spells of the devil and witches, with a blessing protecting crops and the inhabitants of the valley. This location is one of the oldest, whose caves have been inhabited since prehistoric times.
GEOLOGIC NATURALISTIC PLACES OF INTEREST
MONTEFIASCONE CALDERA (1)
The depression on the west side of Montefiascone (Madonna della Valle) is a typical caldera which was formed during the last stages of the Vulsino volcanic activity about 155,000 years ago. The caldera is still clearly visible. It has an outer diameter of about 3 km and an inner diameter of about 1,5 km. Part of the town has developed along the edge of the caldera, as “the Coste and Mosse” districts
ARTESIAN WELL (6)
An artesian well is obtained by drilling a hole to reach a water deposit lying below a layer of impermeable soil. When the level of the water at rest (static level) is higher than the ground, we have an artesian well which flows naturally without having to be pumped. Some of these wells in the valley are characterized by cold mineralized water rich in iron and carbon dioxide, due to the rise of fluids from deep fractures in the soil (faults).
MINERAL WATER SOURCE
“Bagno di Valle Perlata” (“The Valle Perlata Baths”) (7)
This water springs from an ancient catchment deep inside the local hillside known as the “Bagno di Valle Perlata” (“The Valle Perlata Baths”). The waters of the basin are a mixture of warm sulphurous water and cold mineral water collected from another local spring. Documents dating back to 1471 describe how the local population considered the waters as being therapeutic. The pool was originally bowl- shaped and measured about 50 feet in diameter. The inner wall contained steps leading down to the warm healing waters to facilitate their entry and exit. The water is classified as cold mineral water. In the same locality, there are other springs, some of which were used to power the wheel of the now ruined water mill known as the “Molino di Mezzo” (Middle Mill).