According to an ancient legend, on days and nights when there is strong winds, in the narrow alleys of Calcata, it is possible to hear the singing of the old witches. Not only that: it is also said that this ancient village was in the past a place of ceremonial & ritual magic.
Calcata is best known for it being the home to a community of about 100 artists, bohemians, & aging hippies who started living in its abandoned houses and caves to live far from civilization and technology. The New York Times described it as what “may be the grooviest village in Italy”.
It is hard to believe that Calcata is only a few minutes drive from Rome:
Calcata (locally Cargata) is a village hanging onto a volcanic cliff in the province of Viterbo (region of Lazio), located 47 kilometres (29 mi) north of Rome, overlooking the valley of Treja river. Its history dates back to almost 3,000 years where the presence of human life in the area can go back to prehistoric times.
In the 1930s, the town was condemned by the government for the fear that the volcanic cliffs, the ancient town was built upon, would collapse. Then, in the 1960s, the artists and hippies saved the day and repopulated Calcata by purchasing the houses and restoring the ancient town. This lead the government to reverse its condemnation order.
How To Spend Your Day In Calcata?
1. Discover every nook and cranny
Calcata’s medieval architecture is well visible on the churches and the civic buildings. Walk around to discover the artistic and colorful houses surrounding this town. Calcata is a place where time has definitely stood still!
2. Buy some homemade products
Calcata has a lot of little shops that sell homemade jams and chocolate spreads (they also do food tastings)! Make sure to check the bakeries and try their sugar/butter biscuits and desserts.
Also, this town is known for being a “Halloween attraction” and so you can find handmade masks stands that are to die for!
3. Lunch at my favorite: La Terrazza Sul Treja
This restaurant serves great traditional Italian cuisine with the most amazing view of the village! The portions were generous and the dishes extremely tasty.
Start your lunch by ordering the “tagliere di salumi e formaggi” with a local bottle of red wine! The Pappardelle al cinghiale seen in the picture below is recommended.
4. Check the Treja Valley Regional Park
The Treja Valley Regional Park lies in the surroundings of Calcata. The park is a protected natural area in Lazio, established by the regional law in 1982 and makes a great place for hiking & horse-riding.