Ronciglione is a small town which, from the tuff spur where it’s perched, overlooks the southern shore of the Lake of Vico. The necropolis (columbaria) scattered in the tufa valleys show that the settlement was inhabited since Etruscan times. Traces of Roman suggest that Ronciglione has been a castrum built to control the intersection of the consular roads Cassia and Cassia Cimina. The medieval settlement has been founded by the 11th c., by the will of di Vico’s family, who built the large towers, I Torrioni to protect the only natural access to the village. The building has undergone many renovations: the last one took place in the years 1475-1480 by the Florentine architect Giovanni Dolci, who added the circular keep and the four corner towers. Between 1526 and 1649 Ronciglione has been a feud of the Farnese: under their wise lordship the town lived a period of great development and splendor, during which important monuments such as the Porta Romana, the Town Hall, and the Fountain of unicorns were built. The Romanesque Church of St. Mary of Providence is a must visit: it was built on the edge of a cliff in the 11th c. The Duomo, designed by Rainaldi, was built in 1671: it’s dedicated to Saints Peter and Catherine. The Romanesque Church of St. Eusebius is worth a visit: it’s situated on the way to Rome, 2 km. (1,25 miles) away from the village.
Lake Vico (Italian Lago di Vico) is a caldera lake close to Ronciglione and Caprarola. It is one of the highest major Italian lakes, with an altitude of 510 m. The lake is surrounded by the Cimini Hills, in particular by the Fogliano (965 m) and Venere (851 m) mountains. It is part of the Lake Vico Natural Reserve. According to legend, the lake was created by Hercules, who defied the local inhabitants to wield his club. When he did this, a stream sprung up and formed the lake. The lake is drained by the River Vicano. Before the construction of a tunnel by the Etruscans, the lake was probably deeper than today, the Monte Venere constituting an island within it.