Towards Gorga

The valley of the Sacco river is the main geographic guideline which opens onto the Latium plain and influences the whole mountain, hydrologic and urban structure, as well as the road system, of the Rome area. This is a difficult itinerary, which follows this valley and leads to the top of the Monti Lepini, crossing through some of the most picturesque and representative historic and artistic towns of this area.
The itinerary starts at Sgurgula train station: the nearby bridge crosses the Sacco river whose fine waterfall can be admired close to a medieval watch tower. Follow a steep slope which leads to the town, spread on top of the plain and sloping down towards the top of the colle della Rocca (hill of the fortress), where the remains of the Colonna castle are. According to tradition here, on 16 September 1303, in the piazza dell’Arringo, the conspirators met who later attacked Pope Bonifacio VIII in Anagni (known as the “slap of Anagni”). Just outside the town, close to the cemetery, stands the church of S. Maria in Viano which is well worth a visit: this was a Cistercian abbey before, and preserves interesting frescoes. Retrace your steps and turn left again towards Gorga; follow the descending hillside road through a thick wood with fine views of the underlying valley of the Rio river. Turn right at the next crossroads and once you are at the bottom of the valley, turn left and start climbing towards the town. Several rather barren U-bends offer wonderful views of the different valleys and lead to the small town of Gorga, on the monte Volpinara, which boasts a breathtaking view of the Sacco valley and a medieval castle which was owned by the Ceccano counts and then by the Doria-Pamphilj family.

Leave the town and follow a steep descent towards the bottom of the green valley and the Rio river; follow the road signs for Gavignano, passing over brooks and gentle rises, then turn left and take the road which leads to the town. Three wide U-bends, which offer views of the Monti Lepini and the town of Segni, finally lead to the town. Gavignano is the dominated by the church of the Calvario (calvary), on the top of the hill which overlooks the whole Sacco valley. Lower down is the castello baronale (castle) where Lotario dei Conti di Segni, who later became Pope Innocenzo III, was born. Leave the town and head towards the Colleferro train station, crossing through an area with gentle rises. The town is not particularly interesting, as it was built in 1912 as an industrial development centre, but the Antiquarium Comunale (municipal antiquarium; for further information, contact +39 06 9781169) preserves interesting finds from the Sacco Valley, from the Palaeolithic to medieval times.

By train: Outward journey: Roma Termini-Cassino line (get off at Sgurgola)
Return: Cassino-Roma Termini line (get off Colleferro)
By bicycle: Length: about 42 km
Difficulty: high

For further information, visit:
www.parchilazio.it
Or read:
R. Pugliesi, Lazio. Treni & bici. Il Lazio Settentrionale, Padova 2000.

Area
Via Latina