There are countless Rome Day Trip Tours to explore the surroundings of the Eternal City. While some of them allow you to discover the Southern part of Lazio and its coastline, this time we are heading North to the so-called Lazio Maremma and its beautiful green hills.
Located at less than 60 kilometers from Rome, the ancient city of Monterano is an off the beaten path destination surrounded by the fascinating protected area that bears the same name.
Monterano is located on an uphill position over tuff hills. Nestled between two rivers, one on the northern side and one on the southern side, Monterano features several fumaroles, where hot thermal springs and water come out.
This is a true ghost town as its inhabitants left the area for good in the XIX Century. The history of its foundation is old and it dates back to the Bronze Age. However it is thanks to Etruscan people that this town became an important center: the etruscan necropolis discovered here is proof of this.
Etruscan people named it Monterano to celebrate life after death and its god, called Manth.
The green forest nearby had a similar name: today it is still possible to walk through the same woods which are part of Manziana, a close town.
Keep on reading below to know more about the ghost city of Monterano.
How to get to Monterano
Monterano is located near Bracciano Lake, in the Northern part of Lazio.
The best way to reach it is by car, taking the SP 493 from Rome to Manziana, once there, follow the signs to Canale Monterano, which is about 2 kilometers away from the ruins of Monterano.
Since Monterano is located on the highest point of the hills, you would need to park the car before getting to the main highlights. There are more than one, but Casale Persi is the closest parking lot.
What to see in Monterano
You will reach Monterano with a pleasant walk with panoramic views of the hills and nature nearby. At the entrance of the ancient town, you will notice an impressive Aqueduct made of arches on two levels that witnesses Roman knowledge in architecture and their belongings.
This is a countryside area so you may find wild animals or cows and horses here and there.
The ruins of Monterano recounts its unforgettable past: different communities inhabited this place and left historical buildings that still can be seen today.
One of the most remarkable is definitely the Cloister of St. Bonaventura that dates back to the Renaissance. Before entering the abandoned church, you can notice the ruins of an octagonal based fountain, very similar to the one projected by Bernini for Piazza del Campo in Canale Monterano.
St. Bonaventura Church, which has been created by Bernini as well, is provided with one nave only and a small chapel on both sides.
The Castle, built and restored by Orsini-Altieri wealthy families, is an unmissable stop. While this building has medieval origins, it was enriched later with a high brick tower meant to protect the village and turned into a residence.
Monterano in the Movies
Visiting Monterano will give you a familiar sensation because it has been chosen as a movie set many times.
One of the most famous movies set here is the Italian “The Marquis of Grillo”, a comedy by Mario Monicelli recounting the life of a nobleman of the XIX Century, played by Alberto Sordi.
More renowned movies filmed here are the medieval fantasy story of Ladyhawke or the epic movie Ben Hur.