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Calcata, Viterbo: the town of the witches

calcata streghe

Witchcraft and occultism: is it just merely talk or is it real suggestion? According to the sources that have been reliable up to this day, the territory that currently hosts the town of Calcata used to host an ancient altar where people used to – and even do still now in one of the underground caves – do magical and propitiatory rites linked to stellar worship.

The tale says that the subsoil of the “town of the witches” is rich of primitive energy. So much so that on a windy day you can even hear the singing voice of old witches flying through the air of the town small alleys. Also running into their best friends – the cats of course – is also very easy. So it’s not hard to fathom that Calcata is one of halloween’s hot spots.

Calcata: a fairytale hamlet

This hamlet – perched on a tuff spur right in the middle of the valle del Treja – is to to be considered evocative too because of the peculiar architectural and demographic features of Calcata. Observing it from afar the warmth of the colours of Calcata walls stick out among the rich vegetation. Once you get closer you start to notice the little details that make this place so unique.

From the outside it’s easy to spot its medieval features. Once you enter the gate of the hamlet you’re struck by an “organized confusion” of different styles and instantly you’re transported into another space and time dimension. Inside a fairy tale and fantasy scenery.

Even with the idea of mantaining as much as possibile the original look, the extensive restoration work over the last 60 years have given its structure a certain exotic vibe. This change is also due to the diversity and multiethnicity of its residents.

Once you walk your way down the narrow alleys of the hamlet and looking hard in the hidden corners you will find artisans and artists small shops. Also you will taste the flavour of a humble and colorful life, a sweet break from the city chaos.

And if you wish to soak in the atmosphere even more, don’t let the opportunity of sitting on one of the panoramic balconies and sipping on a good tea get away. Accompanied by an inviting piece of cake (homemade of course). Visiting the hamlet spaces will give you the impression of being ushered into house and live moments of everyday’s life.

Nearby it’s worth visiting the Opera Bosco museum – in the Treja valley –, an experimental outdoors two hectare lab-museum. Inside the woods there are art works made with raw material of the woods itself. The art works alongside with the seminars and multidisciplinary activities set up try to spread the importance of preserving and development of the territory..

The mistery of Jesus’ foreskin

A town so unique must have its own share of tales and anecdotes. First off, it’s been a background for several films –Amici miei and Il tredicesimo apostolo to name a couple –, but also there’s a certain story floating around about the Church of Santissimo Nome di Gesù hosting a peculiar memento up until a few decades ago: Jesus’ foreskin.

Apparently a lansquenet stole the box that held it during the sack of Rome. Then someone hid it in a cavern in Calcata. Its discovery then was celebrated for about 400 years but then about 40 years ago it disappeared again. Or maybe it was hidden again inside the Church because of its very peculiar nature.

Anyway, spend a day in Calcata. It will be an ordinary magical experience.

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