San Venanzo

San Venanzo

The town of the Museum and Park of Volcanology


The earliest traces of human settlements go back to the early Stone Age. The Etruscans also left many traces of their presence. The earliest historical records date from the Byzantine era, in about the 8th century. The town's medieval origins are documented starting from the 13th century when, due to its position, it was subject to the rule of the Monaldeschi of Orvieto for many years and shared that town's fate until the Papal States increased its dominion (16th century). San Venanzo remained in the territory of Orvieto until 1929, when it became an autonomous municipality.



Sights in San Venanzo include the large Tower that rises above the rest of the town, the remains of the medieval castle, the Church of the Madonna Liberatrice, which has a panel by from school of Perugino, and Villa Faina, a historic edifice in the heart of town. The wealth of San Venanzo is to be found above all in its pristine natural environment, one of the most beautiful in the entire region.

One particularly interesting natural location is Sette Frati Park, near the top of Mt. Peglia: the park area includes a protected animal reserve and the Mt. Peglia Environmental Documentation Center.

265,000 years ago one of 3 ‘bonsai' volcanoes was active in this area. These volcanoes were identified in recent studies, which have made it possible to develop the educational-environmental branch of tourism with the opening of the Volcano Museum and Park. First opened in 1999, the museum is a point of reference for students and scholars who are interested in the study of igneous rocks, metamorphism and forms of volcanism. The star attraction at the Museum is venanzite (named after the town), a volcanic rock that is unique in its kind in all the world, and which can be seen in nature in an old quarry which is the heart of the Volcano Park, a real outdoor museum. The educational-scientific interest in this area also regards the findings unearthed during the archeological excavations in Poggio delle Civitelle. The materials found confirm the presence of the Etruscans and supports the theory that Poggio delle Civitelle was a defensive outpost for Orvieto, and was a center for the production of weapons, given the large quantity of iron materials found at the site.

Nearby, the area is dotted with a myriad of medieval towers and castles in the outlying hamlets of Rotecastello, San Vito in Monte, Pornello, Ripalvella, Poggio Aquilone, Civitella dei Conti, and Collelungo. Other places of interest are the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Luce, and Ospedaletto, an area popular with tourists for its pine woods.

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