SAN VENANZO and its roots…



Schermata-2015-04-22-alle-11.50.34The origins of San venanzo can be traced back to about five million years ago, following the advent of a compressive tectonic phase, which pushing from South West to North East brought out the first land from the Mediterranean sea to form the elongated dorsal of the Apennines. It was only in the later stage soothing, about a million years away, which is next to the structure Apennine a wide strip parallel antiappenninica, resulting in extensive areas of depression which feature large geologic variability of Umbria. In essence it is widely known that in Piocene, as a result of tectonic events mentioned above, to characterize the Umbrian territory was the great basin of Lake Tiber.
This extensive lake surface was shaped like an inverted Y from Città di Castello found his bearings in NW-SE direction and, at Perugia forked, because of Martani Mountains, in the two branches of the Umbrian Valley south to Spoleto the Middle Tiber Valley up to Todi where the branch of the inverted Y is SO incassava in the structure of Peglia through the choke Forello and Corbara Lake to the confluence of the Tiber and Paglia. The backbone of this tract, characterized by the alignment Città della Pieve – Monte Peglia was in fact the true boundary between the lake environment and continental. Too bad that the man was not yet present, the Peglia fact would have enjoyed for many thousands of years of a beautiful lake view. And he did not even human viewers the extraordinary and singular eruption that in more recent years, so to speak, gave place 250,000 years ago to the geology of the hill of San Venanzo. To find out first were, at the end of the nineteenth century, studies of the Senator of the United Eugenio Faina which appurarono that leakage of fiery magma from the earth came about at the end of a long cuniculo, according to three different branches and as many volcanic vents firing the cap of the main one on the top of its crater. The aggression of successive exogenous agents and emptying the small lake, which for centuries had to occupy the crater of the volcano, now extinct, modeled the final appearance of the hill on which, with ups and downs, you weave much later, at the end of ‘ Ice Age, the history of peoples and civilizations originated by the appearance of Neanderthal man and the ‘meeting, that he will prove lethal, with Homo sapiens from the African continent.


Schermata-2015-04-22-alle-11.55.58Many are the remains (buccheri, stamps, pottery ….) Found in the archaeological sites of the dorsal Civitella dei Conti – San Venanzo – Poggio delle Civitelle and kept in the local Museum Volcanological witness the presence of human settlements on Peglia in the first centuries BC and is very plausible that in the heyday of the Etruscan city of Velzna and its subsequent transformation into Urbe Vetus, sprung from Roman domination, the territory sanvenanzese have done, just for the city of Orvieto, a valuable feature for controlling the hilltop outpost traffic of oil, wine, weapons and pottery to the side of Perugia and the Trasimeno. This brought about the birth of a real border corridor that was enriched in time of castles and fortifications and favored, among other things, the spread of Christianity as the history of the same Holy Martyr Venantius. Tradition has it that the young Roman soldier, forced to flee for his commitment to the principles of the Christian religion, I find shelter in local campaigns where he worked the miracle of water source made ​​gush from a rock and ended up giving its name to the castle same.
So it was that, in the second half of the first century AD, the path was defined as part of the famous Byzantine Corridor along which the same heirs of the great Greek-Roman Empire, already own a lot of land around Rome, kept the main street Escape to connect with the possessions of Ravenna and Venice. The way in fact offered an ideal shelter to the overwhelming power of the Lombards, who, with the Grand Duchy of Spoleto, guarding their own domain on the other side of the Tiber. The backbone of preappenninica Peglia that came to constitute itself as a more safe and secure path on which triggered the natural continuation of the Via Amerina. Moving along the hilly stretch of Castel dell’Aquila Avigliano Umbro And Montenegro, once crossed the city of Todi, the major artery branched fact, at the height of Fratta Todina, including a branch that went east towards Perugia, Gubbio and Flaminia and a western branch that sheltered the castles of Collelungo, Rotecastello, San Venanzo, Pornello, Montegiove, Montegabbione, Monteleone and Città della Pieve arrive until I closed and reopened the way for continuation into the Adriatic Sea along the direction Cortona , Gubbio and Fano dodging in fact, left the Lombards of Tuscia and right ones of the Duchy of Spoleto. No wonder, therefore, that the armies of the Franks of Charlemagne before and Federerico Barbarossa then have actually traveled more or less the same road leaving obvious signs.


Schermata-2015-04-22-alle-12.14.31Much documented and visible is the role played by the castle of San Venanzo in the medieval period and in the Middle Ages with the castles of San Vito, Poggio Kite, Civitella, Rotecastello, Collelungo and Ripalvella which marked a watershed perpetually disputed between rival rulers of Orvieto, Marsciano, Perugia and Todi. The first written documents that relate to the castle of San Venanzo we find them in the Diplomatic Code of the city of Orvieto since 1200. If the Etruscan-Roman period are few traces, much more documented and visible is the role played by the castle of San venanzo in the medieval period and in the Middle Ages with the castles of San Vito, Poggio Kite, Civitella, Rotecastello, Collelungo and Ripalvella which marked a watershed perpetually torn between the rival domination of Orvieto, Marsciano, Perugia and Todi. The first written documents that relate to the castle of San Venanzo we find them in the Diplomatic Code of the city of Orvieto since 1200. By an act of 1295 is such that the population refused to elect a administrator designated by the Viscount Orvieto. Other documents show that in 1348 the castle was abandoned following the deadly plague that devastated the whole of Europe and that it took some years for the population to return and celebrate the sacred rites in the Church of the Holy Martyr Venantius and repopulate the castle with the restructuring of devastated homes. It ‘very likely so that it goes back to that time, the construction of the church outside the walls in honor of St. Rocco. E ‘documented fact that the saint, miraculously recovered from the infection and invoked with great devotion as a protector against the epidemic in its incessant pilgrimage along the entire peninsula, has left its traces in nearby Acquapendete. Certain historical sources testify that finally since 1394 San Venanzo was a fief of Monaldo Monaldeschi and in 1437 the Castle, after yet another refusal to fulfill its tax obligations, was totally destroyed “ob rebellionem SDN contra, contra totam homeland civitatem et contra” .


Schermata-2015-04-22-alle-12.18.44In the next period of the High Middle Ages, the castle was rebuilt and restored to its function of territorial defense but also strengthened its economy by extending the cultivation of the surrounding farmland. As he began to experience the first contracts of sharecropping, the population had in fact need to continue to reside within the walls for security.
So it was that, to adjust the increased social life of the village, it was necessary to resort to the late fifteenth century to the enactment of special statutes. A Viscount appointed by the city of Orvieto it was guarantor of compliance on behalf of the Government of Orvieto still ruled by powerful Guelph family Monaldeschi which, emerged victorious from the bloody fight with rivals fourteenth Filippeschi, strengthened and maintained for a long period its power as staunch defenders and faithful representatives of the Papal States.


If the medieval period had marked the fate of the Castle of San Venanzo as closely related to the ongoing harassment and taxes imposed by the substantial immobility of the Papal States, in the first half of the eighteenth century another great family, that of the Faina, suddenly bursts into life the Castle of San Venanzo making shocking changes to the economy of the area and putting But in fact the basis for the destruction of the castle itself. By founder Philip (late seventeenth century) building contractor originally from Montegabbione, greedy Angelo (1759-1843), the forward-looking Venanzo (1787-1868), a shrewd strategy weddings interest turned later in a targeted investment policy for the purchase of agricultural land, practically going cheap, by the Papal States to make them then fertile and productive with the process of reclamation. All this allowed soon to Faina to acquire the noble title of Conti (1848) and to get with the Count Zeffirino Faina (1826-1917) before the hand of Napoleon’s nephew Luciana Bonabarte Valentini and then the title of Senator of the Kingdom ‘ Italy by virtue of the merits acquired in patriotic Risorgimento of 1859 in Perugia. His nephew Eugenio Faina (1846-1926), son of his brother Claudius (1812-1874) killed by robbers, you must instead reclamation Holdings Spante and San Venanzo and major innovations implemented together with the introduction of Uncle first experimental vineyards, the foundation of the Faculty of Agriculture of Perugia and spread throughout the country of agricultural schools Faina.


The territory of the municipality of San Venanzo covers an area of about 169 km², the slopes of Mount Peglia, at 465 m above sea level
From the geographical point of view, is located in the western part of Umbria, sparsely populated area that enhances the image almost totally unspoiled landscape.
Marsciano is the nearest town of greater importance, which is 10 miles to the North / East; The city of Orvieto is a good 37 miles away towards South / West; to the South / East there is the city of Todi and west at about 25/30 km we find the various countries Orvietano (Ficulle, Fabro, Montegabbione, Monteleone d’Orvieto and Piegaro).
The name comes from Venancio or Venanzo, noble Roman who converted to Christianity who was martyred under the Emperor Decius, and is revered by the Catholic Church as a saint and martyr. His relics are preserved in the Cathedral of Camerino, the city where the saint was born. Legend has it that St. Venantius, returning from Rome with his neck his death sentence, has stood in the vicinity of the village, which were being built the first houses. To water the horses of the soldiers who were holding, pierced with a sword the rock upon which a horse was resting his paw and water gushed from the slot. Still in the village of San Venanzo remembers this event celebrating a Mass on the Sunday before May 18 at the shrine built in the vicinity of the spring that flows along the stream Faena. The place is called “I trace of San Venanzo” to the fact that the rock seems to have impressed the footsteps of a horse.
To visit, in San Venanzo, the great tower that dominates the country, the rest of the medieval castle, the church of Our Lady Liberator, which houses a painting of the school of Perugino, villa Faina, historic building in the heart of the capital.
The richness of San Venanzo lies, as before mentioned, in its pristine natural environment, the most evocative of the region. Of great natural Park of the Seven Brothers, located near the summit of Mount Peglia: the green area is home to a protected nature reserve and the center of environmental documentation of Mount Peglia.
In this area, 265 thousand years ago, was one of three active volcanoes ‘bonsai’ identified by recent studies, which have enabled us to develop also the trend of tourism environmental education with the opening of the Park and Museum Volcanology. The Museum, active since 1999, is a reference point for students and scholars who want to deepen the study of igneous, metamorphic and forms of volcanism. Pearl of the museum is the venanzite (from which many derive the origin of the name), volcanic rock unique in its kind that can be displayed on site in a former quarry which is the hub of the Volcanological Park, real museum outside.
The educational and scientific interest of the territory is also evidenced by the remains found during archaeological excavations at Poggio delle Civitelle. The material found confirms the presence of the Etruscans and supports the hypothesis that the Poggio Civitelle was a defensive outpost for Orvieto, inside a weapons factory, given the large amount of ferrous material discovered on the site.
Nearby, the area is dotted with a myriad of towers and medieval castles spread in the villages of Rotecastello, San Vito in Monte, Pornello, Ripalvella, Poggio Kite, Civitella dei Conti, Collelungo, with the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Light, and Ospedaletto , area of tourist attraction for its pine forests.


Schermata-2015-04-22-alle-12.27.23A careful analysis of the emblem of the city of San Venanzo allows us to note the presence of: a ‘eagle with talons bien planted on the towers of a castle set inside a shield with a crown on his head and stately enclosed down between an oak branch and one olive. The interpretation of this symbology based on traditional classical meaning of Heraldry reveals that:. the EAGLE is to represent the feudal power, the CORONA domination by a noble lordship. the OAK BRANCH represents strength, courage, virtue, perseverance, OLIVE BRANCH is finally to mean a clear call to peace. Now, based on logical reasoning is reasonable to think that the choice of the Eagle may arise, for example, by an explicit reference to the eagle imperial troops of Barbarossa’s where passage remains the most reliable witness in the near Poggio Kite. Or that eagle could be the testimony of its most authentic and long feudal history during which the Castle of San Venanzo grew and prospered under the rule of the powerful family of Monaldeschi of Orvieto from the beginning of 1300 until the end of 1600. San Venanzo and all other Castles Orvietano, located in the north side – east of Peglia, were in fact governed by at least one of the descendants of that family Guelph and, coincidentally, the symbol looks like a faithful copy of the medieval seal used by the City Orvieto. It ‘a fact that eventually the eagle in question does not refer in any case to one of four different branches where Monaldeschi divided after fierce internal feuds after the death of the powerful Ermanno. San Venanzo fact belonged to Monaldesci of Cervara and this excludes any connection with the fact that, along with those of the dog, the viper and the deer for example there is also that of ‘eagle. Having fielded these arguments, unsupported by documentary evidence is therefore only an attempt to provide a range of possible explanations that strive at least to suggest plausible reasoning on the choices made ​​by those who adopted them posthumously.

Schermata-2015-04-22-alle-12.27.47Sull’orma of short stories, whose reliability is linked to more or less fanciful tales handed down by popular tradition in the bloody rivalry between the different branches of the family Monaldeschi we like to remember at least two anecdotes: In 1351 the Monaldeschi (deer) did capture a young branch of the viper suspected of undermining a girl of his own faction, killed him brutally in the basement of Castle Tower Alfina and then reduced his body into pieces so small as to make food for the falcons. Another episode of the fratricidal conflict between Monaldeschi concerns that the continuing theft of livestock between Corrado Monaldeschi and Peter dell’Angus whose appendix (angus = snake) betrays the belonging to the branch of the viper already present in the territory as rulers of the castle Pornello. In the poem by Luciana Bonaparte who narrates the exploits of “Bella Imperia” (Imperia Montemarte, widow of Conrad was real lady Colleungo around 1450 and is handed down in legend as the ghost of the same castle), the irascible Corrado goes out of itself at the sight of the bloody corpse of the faithful squire sent to Peter to ask account of theft and retaliates costrigendo the hated kinsman to escape the flames and giving him the manor of Castelvecchio.
The dynasty of the Counts Faina goes great merit of all those works for which the international awards, then followed: a great enrichment of the family whose possessions stretched from Perugia to the Tuscan Maremma, the climb to the control of banks and politicians and seats , most recently, the unbridled ambition to acquire a prestigious villa newly developed at dell’aquisito noble class. Count Eugenio once also become senator, he took charge with great determination and properly orienting the resolutions of the City Council that he had already shot down the two gates to the country, in the space of about eight years he managed in order to: possession of the dominant part of the castle, overcome almost entirely the walls and houses, build a stable outside the stables for horses and houses for the workers, demolilire the old church to make a pond and promote the construction of new in the lower part, broaden the base of the interior space with the construction of the cellars, and finally by a fence to enclose the new palace of nineteenth-century style, the greenhouse, the gardens of the villa as we see it today soar on real botanical garden Grove below.