From Manziana to the castle of Santa Severa

This itinerary unfolds along a gentle descent from the mountains to the sea. Visitors cross the thick wood of the Macchia Grande di Manziana (large thicket of Manziana) and the fascinating scenery of the Caldara di Manziana, a lake with sulphurous effusions, and reaches the town of Sasso. From here, gentle farmed hills lead down to the sea, close to the imposing castle of Santa Severa.

Take the Roma Ostiense – Viterbo and Viterbo – Manziana/Canale Monteranno railway line and get off at the station of Manziana. From the station, go up towards the main square in the town: from the garden you have a view of the wonderful scenery of Lake Bracciano and Castello Odescalchi.

The town of Manziana, at the feet of the Monte Calvario (541 m.) was built in the middle of the 16th century as a rural village for the Pio Istituto di Santo Spirito in Sassia (religious institute).
From the square, starting from the baroque fountain, walk a few hundred metres along a one-way road in the opposite direction until you reach the first crossing, where you take the tree-lined road to the right which leads to Via Braccianese. Once you have crossed this, you will find yourself deep in the midst of the Macchia Grande di Manziana. The entrance to this magnificent wood with its superb turkey oaks and forest trees, is marked by a barrier; once you have left this behind, follow the dirt road until you reach the asphalt.
Follow the main road which leads to the town of Sasso. Here you will find the fork in the road for the Monumento Naturale della Caldara di Manziana (marked by road signs), which you reach after a few hundred metres and is well worth a visit. This is a strip of whitish earth scattered with smoking sulphurous springs, which owes its name to the morphology of the site, similar to a great cauldron.
By following the asphalt road, which is not very busy, you can reach the town of Sasso. This only has a few houses, grouped around a square. You can access it via an embattled gate: inside there are the ruins of an ancient castle.
From Sasso, a small dirt road leads to the sea. Close to the bridge of the motorway you can take the asphalt road again which, after crossing via Aurelia, leads to Santa Severa. The station is before the historic centre of the town, but it is worth visiting its old castle (11-16th century), the walls of which enclose a small village, before leaving.

By train: Outward journey: Roma Ostiense -Viterbo, Viterbo – Manziana/Canale Monterano Return: Santa Severa – Roma Ostiense
By bicycle: Length: about 24 km
Difficulty: easy

For further information, contact: Parco Regionale Bracciano Martignano, tel + 39 06 999120220. www.parchilazio.it

Area
Via Aurelia