The village lies at the foot of the Cimini Mountains near Lake Vico and the history of its name is unusual in that there are various legends. The first dates it back to a temple dedicated to the god Janus (Ara Jani: Janus Altar) then called Castellaccio of Arignano.
Etruscans have left traces in the whole area as well as graves dating from the fourth century BC. Another story refers to the “Carbones”, a Roman family of powerful landowners, also mentioned by Tacitus.
In the Middle Ages the inhabitants sought refuge in hilly areas under the protection of abbeys. Carbognano appears for the first time in a document of 817 where it is quoted as a ‘Fundum Carbonianum’, ownership by the Abbey of Farfa.
In the Middle Ages several landowners have come and gone each of whom have tried to free themselves from subjection to the Papal State. The most ‘dangerous’ were undoubtedly the Di Vico and Anguillara who were fighting each other and against the Church. The two families fought for power until Pius II, in 1462, entrusted the castle to Count Cristoforo from Carbognano and then to Pietro Paolo Nardini.
Under Alexander VI the estate passed to Giulia Farnese ‘beauty among the Beautiful’, the sister of Paul III, wife of Orsino Orsini and mistress of the pope. Giulia brought many urban and architectural improvements to the town such as the construction of the Church of Santa Maria and the Baron’s Palace.
Carbognano entered the Farnese Duchy of Castro until its fall in 1649, when the town was confiscated by the Church. From 1649 the family Orsini, Della Rovere and Colonna have succeded each other, under which Carbognano was awarded the title of principality.