Many knew Ronciglione for its carnival (second only to that of Viareggio), someone else who was passionate about horses knew the Palio di San Bartolomeo (with loose horses) but today everyone knows it for being the birthplace of Marco Mengoni and for being proclaimed the Borgo dei Borghi (Village of the villages) 2023.
After the singer Marco Mengoni's victory in Sanremo, all of Tuscia was filled with pride and social networks were full of photographs and posts about the beauties of this province between Tuscany and Rome.
Suddenly I had hundreds of friends who were proud of their roots!
Perhaps we can venture to define Tuscia as 'the best of Tuscany and Rome'. Its history precedes that of Rome, with Etruscan necropolises that are part of the UNESCO world heritage for their beauty, and many of the villages are built on high ground that were once Etruscan acropolises.
This ancient history can be recognized in sections of masonry or road layouts dug into the tuff, but the main impact of Tuscia that appears to the tourist are the medieval villages where the buildings merge with the tuff rock and where the main square is enriched by a majestic Renaissance church.
The medieval village is so beautiful that some scenes of “L'Armata Brancaleone” (known in English-speaking countries as For Love and Gold or The Incredible Army of Brancaleone) were shot here, a film that today has become an icon of our Italian art of getting by, with the great Vittorio Gassman as the main actor and directed by Mario Monicelli.
For those who love history, there is a very particular episode regarding Tuscia and Ronciglione. Pope Paul III Farnese had a son and for his love of him (and the love of power) he had created a personal 'state' within the Papal States. This 'state' was the Duchy of Castro and Ronciglione was the second capital.
Thanks to this love, incredible masterpieces such as Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola were built, but its grandeur and magnificence competed too much with Rome and at a certain point they came into conflict. I think it is the only case in Italy in which the papal troops have razed a town to the ground, even pulling down the houses: this is what happened to Castro (now part of Ischia di Castro).
All this beauty led Easter day to crown Ronciglione as the Borgo dei Borghi 2023 in a competition that is promoted every year by the television program Kilimangiaro on Rai 3. Second place was Sant'Antioco in Sardinia and Salemi in Sicily, while in past competitions the title was awarded to Soave in Veneto and Tropea in Calabria.
The competition began in October and week after week this beautiful village in Tuscia won the hearts of viewers and the expert jury made up of the art historian Jacopo Veneziani, the geologist Mario Tozzi and the chef Rosanna Marziale.
At this point I really think I'm going to visit Ronciglione. And you?