Calcata is definitely one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. Located at 45 kilometers driving North from Rome on a tuff hill from which it is possible to admire the whole Treja valley, Calcata is a unique place to stop along a day trip.
Most visitors come here to explore nature nearby since it is very close to Monte Gelato waterfalls and Treja regional Park. These are both off the beaten paths locations. However, as you step into this ancient village, you will be surrounded by a bohemian atmosphere with countless artesans shops and artists studios. Here time seems to stand still, in fact the majority of the buildings date back to the Middle Ages and its city center is almost only for pedestrians.
Check out below and discover its ancient history and highlights!
Calcata through the centuries
Calcata origins are ancient. The archaeological site of Narce, located at just 5 kilometers from Calcata, witnesses the presence of its inhabitants up to the III Century b.C.
During the Roman Age, this place was full of farms whose products were destined to the Eternal City.
However, it is in the Middle Ages that Calcata was shaped in the way we see it today. The main constructions in fact, that are still possible to admire both in the old town and in its surroundings, date back to the Middle Ages.
Despite being quite far from big cities, Calcata has always been a flourishing town until 1935, when its destiny changed forever. The Italian government said it was a dangerous place to live in because it was built over an unsafe tuff hill. It could collapse without any notice and it was abandoned soon for this reason.
During the 1970s this small town was secure and repopulated again: hippies from Rome and artists from all over the world loved its fascinating atmosphere and eventually decided to settle there. They opened their characteristic shops here so that it turned out to be a real open air museum.
What to see and do in Calcata
Pass through a large door located along the crenellated walls of the Palazzo Baronale to enter the old town of Calcata, which is a pedestrian area only. From there, whatever small alley you decide to take, you will be surrounded by tuff constructions, artists and even cats.
Calcata and nature have a deep undeniable bond: its winding alleys full of flowers and green spaces melted completely with stone buildings, turning into the picturesque place where to forget about time. Strolling along the main alleys, it is easy to find unexpected views over the breathtaking Treja Valley nearby.
If you love handmade souvenirs, do not miss out the chance of bringing home with you rare pottery pieces or paintings.
Calcata is full of cats and witches legends too: an ancient tradition recounts that on windy days you can still hear the witches singing through the sound of the wind.
When in Calcata, Palazzo Baronale is a must see. This belonged to the wealthy family Anguillara, who ruled in the area around Bracciano Lake. Today it is the headquarters of the Valle del Treja Regional Park and it still preserves stunning frescoes.
Another must see site is definitely Opera Bosco, an contemporary art Museum where local artists create exclusive exhibitions made with elements from the forest nearby.
Know before you go
You only need one hour to reach Calcata from Rome City center. Being an uphill town, the best way to reach it is certainly by car, but you should park it before entering the city center.
Being so close to the Eternal City, it is one of the most recommended Day excursions from Rome.