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Castel Rinaldi

Castel Rinaldi

Of a significant monumental interest, this scenic village of Castel Rinaldi, a district of Massa Martana, was built, according to tradition, in 1161 by a man named “Rinaldo duke of Calabria” and it also was part of the Arnolfi Counts’ fiefdom. It was fortified probably among the XIV and the XV century.

A Guelph outpost, it was attacked by the Ghibellines from Todi who forced it to submission. It was erected in a low stability area, around the first half of the 1400 it was damaged by multiple landslides which significantly reduced the size of the castle, tearing down the apse of the church too.

Anyway even today it shows up as a massive and a huge medieval fort surrounded by mighty walls. To remedy the landslides recently it has been built a strong retaining wall. In the towers some loopholes and guns are open up, above the door two commemorative plaques of dead soldiers of the World Wars are walled and in the middle, in a niche, there is a modern statue of the Holy Virgin.

Along the way of the castle prevails the Fortress which, despite the tampering and various renovations, it preserves, enough visible, the features of an ancestral fortified manor house. In a living room inside it is preserved a fireplace of the Fourteenth century.

A must–see in this village and in the vicinity is the church of Saint Sebastiano and the Pagan Necropolis. The church of Saint Sebastiano is located inside the village walls and it still preserves the remains of the original front and of the high bell tower. The interior was entirely renovated in recent times. Into the wall nearby the bell tower was put the Todi’s coat of arms, of the XVI century.

Just a few hundred meters from Castel Rinaldi’s Fortress, close to the via Flaminia, a steep sheep – track leads to the Pagan Necropolis, of great historic and documentary interest. You can also see more than fifteen underground environments dug into the tufa, of various length and from three to four meters high, in the walls some small burials have been created dating back to II century B.C. and III century A.D., by about 20 -25 cm on each side and 30 cm deep. In all likelihood they were intended to receive the cinerary urns. Unfortunately they are hardly reachable both for its location and for its dense vegetation. In all probability, during the Middle Age they were utilized from Massa Martana’s citizens to raise pigeons.

Always near the Necropolis area on the cliff opposed to the underground environments which preserve the burial niches, you can see a small hole in the ground partially covered by the land which’s hiding a circular cave dug in the tufa rock. It has a central square column with rounded corners which is widening at the top taking the form of a mushroom. We do not know the original purpose, but being included in the sacral area of the Necropolis, it can be assumed that it was used as a temple or as tombstone area.

Near the settlement of Castel Rinaldi, the Ditch that has got the same name is making  a ten meters jump creating a wonderful waterfall. Its throw flows into a circular pond by clear waters. It is an environment marked by a high biodiversity, due to the presence of several small sources oozing from the surrounding rocks creating the ideal setting to grow specific mosses and ferns. In the past the water flow rate was more consistent and it nourished a flour mill, of which today there is only a ruin covered by ivy.

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