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yuliangpang Castelnuovo di Porto - A travel report by yuliang
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Castelnuovo di Porto,  Italy - flag Italy
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yuliangpang's travel reports

Castelnuovo di Porto-My 3rd Report on Via Flaminia

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Castelnuovo di Porto was my third stop at Via Flaminia. It was just located immediately after Riano from Rome direction. I visited the two neighboring places at the same day, but I had totally different experiences there.

life of Castelnuovo di porto
life of Castelnuovo di porto
[short History]

Castelnuovo di Porto was a medieval town, and has a historical strong connection with Papal State. It was built by a senior Cardinal from Papal State and then being included in the diocese of Porto as a new place, after which its name took. It was sold in 1252 by the Pope to a powerful family Colonna from Rome and remained as a fiefdom of that family for centuries before it was sold to the Papal State again in 16th century.

[My Own Observation and experience in Castelnuovo]

Despite of its mediaval past, Castelnuovo di porto, like its name (new castle) is still a pretty new town if camparable to the other old towns along Via Flaminia or even to the road itself.

I had a completely different exprience in Castelnuovo di porto from Riano, where I heard big noises from the running cars and saw numerous new buildings which were still under constructions. Castelnuovo di Porto was totally settled down, and lived a peaceful and solidary life.

Castelnuovo di Porto had a realway station and a small church called "SS. Agostino e Antonio Abate" along Via Flaminia, but the center of the town and then wonderful things were all hiding in the valley behind. But you might drop your car somewhere in Via Flaminia, and got there on foot, it was just a 10-15 minute-walk.

You should not even worry about getting lost, because there was only one main road leading to the center, what you could only do was just to follow the road.

Favourite spots:
view of the town from Via Roma
view of the town from Via Roma
Castelnuovo di Porto is pretty small, all the nice places are revolving its main square: Piazza Vitorrio Veneto, including an very high castle and a church with bell power.

1. Castle

The name of the castle is called La Rocca Colonna, it has a very high and fortified base, which makes it very impressive. I had tried to do my best to find out more information about the castle, but failed. I would like to leave this job for those who will come after me.

The castle stands in the center of the main square, dominating the whole valley where the town is perched. It is very impressive if you look at the castle from the direction of Via Flaminia.

On the top of the castle, there is a palace, called Palazzo Ducale. It was closed for maintenance purposes when I got there.

2. Church

The church is called La collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, and it is a medieval product, with a bell tower from 13th century.


What's really great:
Church and the ground of the main square
Church and the ground of the main square
I liked the main square, Piazza Vitorrio Veneto. It was a good place for people getting together. When I got there, I saw many people in the church. On my first impression, I believed it was a wedding ceremony, because I saw someone holding flowers. I managed to get into the church to have a look. The atmosphere was not so happy by my instinct, I realized something wrong, it was not for a marriage. There was a messa going on, the people looked sad. Later when I travelled back to the main square again, it happened that the messa finished, and then I came up to an old lady and asked her what was going on before? She told me someone died and it was a mourning ceremony for him.

Another reason why I liked the main square was the shell-shaped decorations on the ground, they were very connected one by one, giving an impression of wave running.

People Celebrating a mourning in the church
People Celebrating a mourning in the church
The entrance to the main square, Piazza Vitorrio Veneto, was very ancient. The was a round building and walls at each side. I was not pretty sure that castle Colonna and Palazzo Ducale were two things, maybe the round building was Castle Colonna.

There was also two fountain out of the walls, one was standing alone at a square out of the walls, the other one was quite interesting, it was just in front of a building facing the entrance to the main square, there were several taps running, and people could even take water home.

nice street
nice street
Castelnuovo di Port would be an extremely perfect place for staying. What impressed me the most actually was not the castle as well as the church, but the narrow streets winding through behind the castle and the peaceful environment there. I were even thinking of someday when I was tired of the struggles with life as well as with people around me, I would like to take my family to stay there for a while. The castle provided an excellent shelter, no wind, no worry about time running, just be yourself. The small roads were quite Roman, black stone, nothing different from those that you could see in Rome. Things all around were as old as you can imagine, many buildings and theirs doors were dilapdated, but they looked lovely, because they were real, no need to hide.

Via Isola Bella, Beautiful Small Islands
Via Isola Bella, Beautiful Small Islands
I was wondering the sunset in Castelnuovo di Porto would be very nice, I could only imagine it, because when I got there, the weather was cloudy. There was a small road behind the castle, running even along the valley, you could have a perfect view of the whole valley as well as the old buildings. Unfortunately there was no sunshine. But the good thing was that there would be nobody disturbing you, all those things were yours. I thought very few tourists would come, particular in the winter time.

some places in your heart
some places in your heart
Very few people visiting does not mean Castelnuovo di porto was not a good place. If you did not like crowded tourist places, or if you just needed some time to hide away from the reality, Castelnuovo would definitely be a perfect destination. You had great things, castle, church, all those historic things to kill your time. And you had nice bars, restaurants around the main square, you would have fun of seeing people there. What's more important, the completely peaceful atmosphere of this small town would help you to find your own peace in your mind or your life. Just remember time will stop here.

view from Via Flaminia
view from Via Flaminia
There were some nice bars and restraunts aroun Piazza Vittorio Veneto. But in Castlenuovo di Porto, I did not care very much about the food, but the feeling of being at home. Imagine being at home is more important for us than the food. Whatever comes for your dinner or lunch when you stay at home, you will like it. Don't you think so?

Other recommendations:
It would not be quite disappointing if you came here just being as a tourist running against time. You might find more splendid things in big cities, nearby, such as Rome, Tivoli, Viterbo. But if you want to kick off the life presure, have your own way of travelling, you may use Castelnuovo di Porto as a good base to explore the world around.

If you like more strategic but dangerous places for perfect photographing, you would find some along via Flaminia. It was at the south of the entrance to Castelnuovo di Porto, you would have an gorgeous panoramic view of the town. But it was a little bit dangerous, the cars were passing by deadly quick. Just be careful, it deserves. I did so, and would like to share this beautiful shot with you, even it blurred a little bit for lacking of enough light.

Published on Tuesday December 2th, 2008

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Thu, Apr 30 2009 - 07:22 AM rating by johnnyess

Hi Yuliang, Very interesting report.

You said you would like to learn more about the history of the castle at Castelnuovo di Porto. You may be interested to know that this town and its castle are the setting for some of the most dramatic incidents in Robert Browning’s long narrative poem, “The Ring and the Book,” which is based on historical events which really happened.

In April 1697, a 17-year-old wife, Pompilia Franceschini, unhappily married, escaped from her husband’s palazzo in Arezzo in the company of a young priest called Caponsacchi, and attempted to reach the house of her parents, Pietro and Violante Comparini, in via Vittoria, Rome. Her husband Guido found them at the post-inn on the main road below Castelnuovo, and took them to the castle to face trial for adultery.
[More follows]

Tue, Dec 09 2008 - 04:51 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Good series of Italian reports

Wed, Dec 03 2008 - 12:23 PM rating by davidx

Well done again. I am looking forward to others.

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