Ronciglione has a prime location near two rivers, a lake and the slopes of Mount Cimino that encouraged settlements since the Etruscan period when it was a commercial centre.
The Romans built a Castrum between Via Cassia Cimina and Via Cassia Clodia.
The first texts that mention Ronciglione are dated 1243 and according to historian Cipriano Manente, of the sixteenth century, it was founded in 1045 by the Prefects of Vico. It then passed to Anguillare and, after returning under control of the church, in 1526 it was appointed second capital of the Duchy of Castro, that Pope Paul III had set up for his son Pier Luigi Farnese.
The Farnese made numerous improvements, not only architectural, and reclaimed a good part of the land near Lake Vico thanks to ‘colmate’ (canals). The plentiful waters of the Rio Bravo enabled an artificial ductto be realized that allowed the installation of paper factories, ironworks, mills and printers. A print shop was one of the first in Italy to print playing cards.
With the decline of the Farnese and the destruction in 1649 of Castro by Pope Innocent X, Ronciglione returned to the Holy See, although, thanks to the industry maintained its economic and cultural vitality. In 1728 Pope Benedict XIII raised it to the rank of city.
According to a legend, the name Ronciglione may have come from a noble of French origin, a certain Rossillion, in whose arms were shown two lions. The same lions are found in the town’s banner next to the Farnese lily.
The town has two independent characteristics: the two ancient medieval villages (of Upper and Lower) with the Providence bell tower, and the Renaissance Farnese city. This was the city commissioned by Paul III in the first half of the sixteenth century when Ronciglione was appointed as the second capital of the Duchy of Castro. The Renaissance city is more airy and crossed by a long street is located on the monumental Porta Romana del Vignola.