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Trip Planner Europe  /  Italy  /  Lazio  /  Province of Rome  /  Bracciano

Bracciano

3.7
Castles · Nightlife · Wildlife Areas
Bracciano is a small town in the Italian region of Lazio, 30km northwest of Rome. The town is famous for its volcanic lake (Lago di Bracciano or "Sabatino", the eighth largest lake in Italy) and for a particularly well-preserved medieval castle Castello Orsini-Odescalchi. The lake is widely used for sailing and is popular with tourists; the castle has hosted a number of events, especially weddings of actors and singers.The town is served by an urban railway (Line FR3) which connects it with Rome (stations of Ostiense and Valle Aurelia) in about 55 minutes. Close to it lie the two medieval towns of Anguillara Sabazia and Trevignano Romano.HistoryThere is no certain information about the origins of Bracciano, on the Via Cassia overlooking the lake. It probably rose from one of the numerous towers built in the tenth century as a defence against the Saracen attacks, as implied by the ancient name of Castrum Brachiani. In the eleventh century the neighbouring territory was acquired by the Prefetti di Vico family, who turned the tower into a castle. Ferdinand Gregorovius dated the possession of Bracciano by the Orsini to 1234. The area was later acquired by the Roman hospital of Santo Spirito in Sassia and, from 1375, was a Papal possession.In 1419 the Colonna Pope Martin V confirmed the fief of Bracciano in the Orsini family branch of Tagliacozzo. Under this powerful family the city developed into a flourishing town, famous in the whole of Italy for its castle, which was enlarged, starting from 1470, by Napoleone Orsini and his son Virginio. In 1481 it housed Pope Sixtus IV, who had fled from the plague in Rome; the Sala Papalina in one of the corner towers commemorates the event. Four years later, however, the city and the castle were ravaged by Papal troops under Prospero Colonna, and subsequently a new line of walls was built.
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