From the top of a rise, the village of Proceno overlooks the via Francigena which runs on the Paglia river valley floor. The village was defined by pope Pius II as a
"noble City, once almost impregnable, defended by high cliffs on every side."
Proceno has Etruscan origins and was probably founded by Porsenna, king of Chiusi and Volsinii. In the XI century it was included in the Estate of St. Peter and was contended for a long time between the Papacy and the Empire.

At the end of the XII century it was a feud of the Aldobrandeschi counts. It was then under the control of Viterbo and later, during the XIV century, under the protectorate of Siena. In 1536 pope Paul III gave the village to the Sforza family that governed it until 1694. In 1849, during the uprising known as Roman Republic, Proceno was hardly put down by the papal troops
and managed to become part of the Italian State only in 1870. It is likely that the imposing fortress of the X century caused some kind of fear to the pilgrims walking along the via Francigena. Anyhow, they could stop for a prayer in the church of S.Martino in the eastern part of the village, which still has an original Gothic shape and interiors decorated with remarkable Sienese frescoes of the XV century.

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