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Todi Castle

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TodiCastle, also known as Capecchio, is a castle located 10 miles south of the town of Todi, on a hilltop to the east side of a town called Collelungo which is part of the Municipality of Baschi, near Terni, in Umbria, Italy.

A wide panoramic view of TodiCastle from above


TodiCastle was built as a watch tower around 1100 AD, during [[Roman times, in order to protect the "Colonia Julia Fida Tuder" (Todi Roman name) for the southern boundary line. Torre d’Orlando (this was the former name of the watch tower) was built in a strategic position, to look over the area bounded by the river Tiber, the river Arnata and a famous Roman road, the via Amerina, which linked Todi to Lazio. Its strategic function continued into the Middle Ages. When Desiderius, the last king of the Lombard realm, reigned over Italy. The territory of the Julia colony was granted to the Pope; five hundred years later, in 1275AD, it became the Diocese of Todi and then the Municipality of Todi. Between the 10thcentury and the 13thcentury additional towers were built and the original one was incorporated into a castle fort, TodiCastle, composed of three corner towers and an expansive bastion wall, in order to control a wider territory. The Municipality of Todi flourished during the 13th century. Its population grew quickly and exceeded even that of today. The Municipality wanted complete control of the area, so it decided to maintain an army of more than 5.000 men and built an enormous system of fortifications, composed by dozens of fortresses, towers and fortified historic towns with city walls (“borghi” in Italian).

TodiCastle had played an important role during the cruel battles between Guelphs and Ghibellines in the 13th century. Without any windows, the fortress was completely self sufficient... Small openings ,that can still be seen, were made for bows and arrows. Vats of boiling oil were thrown from the battlements. Rain water was collected for drinking, and food for soldiers and animals had to be stored in quantity so that they could resist during any siege. Soldiers lived in the TodiCastle towers and animals in the enclosed open area. During a siege, dead soldiers were buried in this open area, so many bones and skulls have been found during renovation activities. Moreover, some secret passages under the fortress walls of TodiCastle have been found: these were escape routes which soldiers could pass through in order to survive a siege. But the importance of the Municipality of Todi was not only of a military genre, it had also a strategic relevance. As a matter of fact, the routes of communication between Germany and central Italy, including Rome, passed through the Todi territory. TodiCastle was a key point for Northern Europe pilgrims who were travelling to Rome and the area became wealthy thanks to the flow of goods due to agriculture and commerce. However, as a result of the Black Plague of 1348 AD, around the mid 14th century the great political and military power of the Municipality of Todi, such as many others, collapsed.

In the years that followed, TodiCastle stood in what had become a desolate territory of abandoned villages, the plague had decimated the local population, hunger and misery abounded. Fanaticism and ignorance were rampant and [[witch hunting] was also common. TodiCastle, abandoned by soldiers and warriors, during this period was used by wanderers. At the beginning of the 15th Century, after many years of neglect, TodiCastle was transformed into a monastery. A roof was constructed in the northern courtyard and the space was adapted to serve as a church, dedicated to St.[[Quiricus and St. Julietta|]. Nowadays, the remains of the capitolo, the alter, the sacristy and the points at which the vaulted ceiling – (which subsequently collapsed) - once joined the fortress walls are still evident. Approximately two centuries later, during the 17th century, the monastery was abandoned so TodiCastle became the object of conflicting claims amongst various local lords and, in the end, a noble family of Todi, the Landi family, gained the ownership. Despite this, TodiCastle remained abandoned for three hundred years, sacked by barbarian hordes, occupied by gangs of bandits and became the bivouac of travelers.

Afterwards, during the 20th century, TodiCastle was acquired by the Paparini family, the most important landowners of the area of of Todi and Moruzze and then, in 1974, by Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Santoro. When the castle was abandoned, it was considered a local community property, a kind of public space where farmers stored their grain and housed their pigs. There was no green grass nor trees on the property, but the hard work of the Santoro family bring it back to the ancient magnificence.

TodiCastle today


Ambassador Giuseppe Santoro bought TodiCastle in 1974 and started to restore it in 1975. Luckily, the exterior walls of the castle remained intact over the centuries and the large corner tower “Torre d’Orlando”(the most ancient part of the complex) has been perfectly conserved, so the Santoro family had to renovate just the interior of the property. The restoration required the talents of architects, artists, designers and local craftsmen, who still knew the ancient techniques of cutting stone, recreating vaulted ceilings, arches and high walls, bringing TodiCastle back to its former glory. TodiCastle was recognized as a national monument in 1980 and has been featured in numerous magazines including Architectural Digest (March 1983). At the moment, TodiCastle is one of the best preserved medieval buildings of the surrounding area. Fully restored and brought to its ancient splendor, the current look of the fortress is the result of a ten year period of restoration (from 1975 to 1985).


Over the centuries, TodiCastle has changed its name many times: it is also known as Casa Arsiccia, Casa Treia, and Capecchio. Some legends tell that medieval soldiers’ ghosts are still wandering along the high walls of the castle when there is a full moon. Another legend says that the Landi family started to deal with TodiCastle at the beginning of the 16th century when Gerolamo Landi’s wife, Lucrezia, died of the plague in 1523, on Christmas day. She had been buried in the chapel of the castle and an engraved stone commemorates her death. According to the legend, Lucrezia’s ghost sometimes still wanders through the castle rooms.

Tourism: TodiCastle Estate, the complex

The Santoro property, TodiCastle Estate, is composed by the Castle and 3 Villas. Each of the four facilities has a private swimming pool. The entire complex has been restored and transformed into an exclusive Historic Hotel and Villa Rentals for international guests. It has been recognized as a “Dimora Storica” by the Italian Government and also belongs to the U.E.H.H.A. (Union of European Historic Houses Association). TodiCastle Estate is the perfect location for a vacation with children, for a group of friends, for a family reunion or to celebrate a wedding. The Castle has 7 bedrooms (all with ensuite full bathrooms). Each of the Villas has 5 bedrooms. The maximum occupancy of the Estate is 40 people. The Concierge of the Estate offers to guests many services, such as chauffeur, massagist, personal trainer, cooking classes and wine tastings. The Concierge is also available to organize and give advice about tours of Umbria, Tuscany and Latium. Upon request, the TodiCastle Chef prepares and caters for the guests traditional recipes using Umbrian typical and organic products such olive oil, cheeses, vegetables and meat. The Umbria region is also world famous for its wines. On the Estate there is also an in house Restaurant, the “Umbria Grill” where guests can enjoy the views on the green hills of Umbria and appreciate the delicious food and wine.

Tourism: TodiCastle

TodiCastle is surrounded by a park of 55 [|hectares]] with more than 2000 trees. On the property, there are deer, goats, horses, donkeys and many cats. The interiors of TodiCastle are comfortable and welcoming, with many communal areas to relax, read and talk together. Each bedroom has its own style and offers a different view of the Estate park and the surrounding Umbrian landscape.

Tourism: Villa Pianesante

Villa Pianesante is a traditional 17th century, stone farmhouse that has recently been completely restored providing guests with every comfort. Situated between the medieval cities of Todi and Orvieto, the villa has amazing views of the surrounding countryside: lawns, rolling hills, olive trees, vineyards and cypresses.

Tourism: Villa Cipresso

Villa Cipresso was originally an olive oil mill, used by the local community for many centuries. It has been completely restored maintaining its traditional Umbrian country-style. It is composed by two related buildings sharing a swimming pool. Villa Cipresso has a great barbecue and a great wood oven.

Tourism: Campo Rinaldo

Campo Rinaldo is a spacious villa with panoramic views of the surrounding Umbrian countryside and the Apennines Mountains. It has been restored by famous Architect Giorgio Leoni. Campo Rinaldo lies on a hilltop and it is reachable by a picturesque country street. The Villa is extremely comfortable with indoor and outdoor communal areas.

The house has several porches and patios, making it easy for guests to stay outdoor enjoying the panorama.

Tourism: Umbria Grill

Umbria Grill is TodiCastle Estate Restaurant. Umbria Grill offers the chance to enjoy high quality gastronomic meals, all made with organic ingredients. It is the ideal place for wine and food lovers and gourmets. The Umbria Grill also offers the possibility to organize parties, private dinners and events as well as live music performances in its amphitheater. Umbria Grill specializes in barbecue, pizza and roasts baked in a Roman style wood oven. All the dishes are cooked following traditional recipes and are prepared with TodiCastle extra virgin olive oil. The wines served are produced from the grapes of local vineyards and made according to traditional methods. A very special playground has been built to reproduce the feel of a medieval village, perfect for children to have fun. The area is surrounded by a park, where rare trees and plant specimens grow. A few footpaths lead to a beautiful canyon, eroded by the streams. Archaeological ruins may be visited on the top of the hill.

External links

· TodiCastle TodiCastle Estate Official WebSite · [1] Todi Municipality Official WebSite · [2] Baschi Municipality Official WebSite · [3] Terni Municipality Official WebSite · [4] Perugia Municipality Official WebSite

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