Corchiano, Vignanello and Vallerano
Corchiano is a very small town at the confluence of two streams which have deeply cut the tufa rock. Its narrow medieval streets are deserted as almost all the inhabitants of Corchiano have moved out of the historical site. The main church has a fine portal decorated with the papal symbols.
The Prince of Vignanello is not a character of a Belle Epoque operetta, but the official title acquired in the XVIIIth century by the Ruspoli family heir. The town is a sort of summary of the main Roman families.
The main entrance to Vignanello is closed by a gate called Porta del Vignola, but although il Vignola appears to have designed almost all the palaces and churches in the area, this gate cannot be attributed to him as it was erected in 1692, 120 years after his death. It is decorated with the coat of arms of the Marescotti family (a Vittoria Ruspoli married a Francesco Marescotti in 1652). In 1708 the Ruspoli asked Giovanni Battista Contini, at the time one of the main architects of Rome, to redesign the square in front of the family palace. The main building erected by Contini was the Collegiata with a Baroque bell tower which has on top the heraldic symbol of the Ruspoli.
Contini did not modify the Ruspoli castle which retains its Renaissance appearance, but he added to the castle a very fine Italian garden. The entrance to the castle is still watched over by a coat of arms showing the heraldic symbols of both the Farnese and the Marescotti families. Paulus III (1534-49) gave to his niece, Beatrice Farnese the title of Countess of Vignanello. The daughter of Beatrice, Maria Ortensia Baglioni married Sforza Marescotti and this explains why both families are shown. Contini designed another double coat of arms at the top of a building in the main square of Vignanello. The symbol of the Ruspoli (left) is associated with that of the Cesi (right): the two symbols are almost identical: Ruspoli, six mountains having on top a vine; Cesi, six mountains having on top a tree.
Vallerano is just two miles to the west of Vignanello. The town is located on a little hill at the foot of Monte Cimino and it is shown in the little icon at the top of this page.
The main entrance to Vallerano shows monuments of different periods: to the left a large round tower of medieval origin, but redesigned in the XVIth century; in the center the main gate embellished by a baroque clock; to the right, behind the gate, the fašade of the main church completed in 1751. Vallerano has also another gate inside one of the towers which strengthened its walls.
Vallerano does not have all the coats of arms of Vignanello, but it has some very picturesque spots and its simple tufa bell towers shine under the sun.
Madonna del Ruscello (ruscello = brook) is a little sanctuary outside Vallerano. It was built in honour of a miraculous statue. It is still flanked by the small houses where the pilgrims slept or bought small copies of the statue. The church, designed by il Vignola, has a fine dome and its fašade is decorated with reliefs (one of which is shown in the background of this page).
Around Monte Cimino - other pages:
Caprarola, Carbognano and Fabrica
Soriano al Cimino
some other walks:
Walks with Ferdinand Gregorovius in the Roman countryside
In and about Viterbo
From Civitavecchia to Civita Castellana
A walk to Porta Furba
Via Appia Antica from Cecilia Metella to Torre in Selci
Via Appia Antica from Torre in Selci to Frattocchie
See my Home Page on Baroque Rome or my Home Page on Rome in the footsteps of an XVIIIth century traveller