Ischia di Castro

Going on towards the capital city of the Castro duchy, we enter the territory of Ischia di Castro. On the road through the modern part of the village, we walk past the school building that hosts the Archaeological Civic Museum "Pietro e Turiddo Lotti". Then we reach the old town, with the massive Ducale palace. Within the tangled medieval town centre, we find the church of S.Ermete - hosting a XV century baptismal font - and the church of S.Rocco, decorated with Mannerist frescoes.

Near the village stands the church of Madonna del Giglio, with frescoes dating back to the XIV and XV
centuries. The Castro plateau can also be reached by means of the so-called "vie cave" (hollow roads). These are ancient roads - probably dating back to the Etruscan period - which are deeply enclosed in the tuff hills, probably in order to soften the slopes and shorten the distances. The tuff plateau - equipped with incredible natural defences - once hosted an important Etruscan settlement, as indicated by the large surrounding necropolis. Between the XVI and XVII century, Castro was the capital of the Farnese duchy, which was conquered and razed by the papal troops in 1649 by order of pope Innocent x. Nowadays, nature has taken full possession of the place, hiding the ruins of the village with trees and shrubs. During the second half of the XIX century, many crimes were committed under the shadow of the forests, but one of these had an incredible and grotesque feel. It was when the most dangerous gang in the whole Tuscia - at the time led by Davide Biscarini and including Domenico Tiburzi, Domenico Biagini, Vincenzo Pastorini as well as another brigand still unknown - was found by the Carabinieri in a cave by the Paternale creek. Aware of the dangerous situation, Pastorini and the unknown brigand ran away immediately. Biagini whose foot was injured, escaped tumbling down from a precipice. The leader Biscarini was shot to death in the back while the one who would soon become the most famous and notorious brigand of Tuscia, Tiburzi, had to run away in his underwear because he had just hung his trousers to dry.

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