San Lorenzo – Antico

April 16, 2009 / Art & Archaeology
Civita di Grote di Castro
sanlorenzoantico1As far back as 770 AD, this medieval hamlet was home to inhabitants of the nearby Roman-Etruscan city, Tiro, who moved here to this low, unhealthy plot of land, hoping to find a safer place to live.

Located near the edge of Lake Bolsena, ruins of its ancient church of San Giovanni in Val di Lago still remain. Its octagonal church, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, was rebuilt in the year 1563 by the architect Pietro Tartarino, who was an apprentice of Alberto di Sangallo.

sanlorenzoantico2During the latter part of the eighteenth century, many failures in trying to decontaminate the area induced Pope Clement XIV to decide to move all homes from this hollow, unhealthy area to a higher and more livable place, in order to be safe from the frequent floods and scirocco winds which hit the plains below. People were affected by malaria and other epidemics, and trade had ceased.

Construction of a new town ended in 1778 and the next year the 356 inhabitants remaining in the old village moved to the new town, San Lorenzo Nuovo, located more than 500 meters above sea level. The original route of the Via Cassia was modified, leaving the old village completely isolated. You can find the remains today on a white road leading from the new town.

Next week, a note on the new digs, San Lorenzo Nuovo… talk about an upgrade!

Evanne Brandon-Diner

by Evanne Brandon-Diner

Chronicler of local village life in Northern Lazio, and property restoration and purchasing consultant.

2 Responses to “San Lorenzo – Antico”

  1. mary jane cryan

    I hear that speleologists and archeologists are exploring those caves, former cantine of the destroyed town,
    Travelers along the Via Cassia in 18th-19th century mention the eerie lights in the caves.

  2. Jennie DiCola

    really enjoy reading about the different places in Italy. It helps to better unnderstand where our parents came from
    keep up the great work


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