Discovering the ruins of Monterano

The itinerary, which lasts for 2 and 1/2 hours, is easy and offers unusual views with a mysterious atmosphere. The gentle Tolfa hills covered with fields and forests hide the imposing ruins of the abandoned town of Monterano, which lies on a tufaceous plateau. The Nature Reserve protects the special beauty of the environment: streams, birch forests, tuff valleys overgrown by ferns, and, not far from the abandoned town, steaming solfataras, all offer magic views.

The path starts at the centre of the town of Canale Monterano, where some sign posts indicate the Nature Reserve (Riserva Naturale).
Just outside the town, in the Diosilla district, is the parking area closest to the reserve. From here take the steep downward path indicated by red signs: you will immediately see the Diosilla waterfall. Continue along the Fosso Fonte del Lupo (ditch), among oak forests and tufaceous crags, until you cross a stream, from where the first area of boiling sulphurous springs can be viewed. From the signpost which shows that the area is part of the reserve, take the uphill path towards Monterano. The path crosses a tufaceous ridge and is made easier by steps dug out in the rock. A fountain and the remains of an aqueduct announce the beginning of the medieval town, which was definitively abandoned at the end of the 18th century, although even before then a malaria epidemic had driven the population away. Among the thick vegetation, the medieval town’s ruins can be viewed. The town’s main square is dominated by the ruins of the Altieri Palace, which incorporates a fountain by Bernini; from here, proceed along the downhill path in order to reach the S. Bonaventura monastery, surrounded by fields.
From behind the monastery take the path that leads uphill towards a plateau, and from here a flight of downward steps on the right. Proceed south until you reach a fork in the road, and take the narrow path on the right dug out in the rock which leads to the bottom of the valley, where the Bicione stream flows into the Mignone. Follow the Bicione upstream and return to the starting point.

Time 5 hours
Marked itinerary Not marked
Difficulty Average

For further information, contact:
Riserva Naturale di Monterano. Tel. +39 06 9962724. www.parks.it; www.parchilazio.it

Area
Via Claudia Braccianese