The area was inhabited by the Etruscans and Romans as reflected by the many finds uncovered. According to an unnamed source in 1657, the Latera name comes from the Etruscan word ‘Larthes’ indicating ‘Larti’ point or ‘Lucumoni’, Etruscan kings and priests.
Like other small towns it was conquered by the Romans who ‘planted’ rustic villas and later it was subject to raids of the Lombards. It seems that the first Castle Latera, now no longer visible, was built during the rule of the Lombards in a hilly area.
In the eighth century AD with the arrival in Italy of Charlemagne and the defeat of the Lombards, Latera was donated to the Benedictine monastery of the Holy Saviour on Mount Amiata.
During the Middle Ages, it has been the focus of continuous disputes between the Church and the powerful feudal lords.
Always under the control of the City of Orvieto, for a period it had to submit to the tyranny of the Prefects of Vico, installed by the archbishop Visconti.
In 1354, thanks to Cardinal Albornoz, who put peace and order into Latera, it returned again to the Church and in 1408 was granted by Pope Gregory XII to the Farnese family, who kept it until 1668, when the family died out.
The Farnese were distinguished by an enlightened government beautifying the city with palaces and churches. In the sixteenth century they established a “Monte” for loans to farmers, they banned the indiscriminate felling of forests and, in 1648 the Duke Pier Francesco Farnese ordered the construction of the aqueduct that still feeds the Fountain of the Duke.