Orte – Gallese (Via Amerina)
Descrizione della tappa
From Orte to Gallese (km 14,5)
(km 20,5 if passing by Vasanello)
Road surface: mixed, mostly dirt roads
Walikng time: 4/5 hrs
Level of difficulty: easy
From the Cathedral Square (65) proceed along the belvedere overlooking the Tiber and the motorway A1 to the site of a crumbled castle. If the Tiber is low, you can see the remains of a bridge of the Via Amerina called Bridge of Pontaccio or of Augustus. Go down the road next to the arches of the medieval aqueduct that carried water to the public fountain in the square, cross the provincial road Orte Viterbo and take the stairs next to a fountain till you reach the provincial road that goes to Vasanello, thus avoiding some of the traffic.
You can go to Vasanello (73) taking the local road, and then after the Post Office, turn on to the road that leads to Castel Bagnolo (everybody will show you the way) in about 4 km. Otherwise you can go directly to Castel Bagnolo bypassing Vasanello, taking the small road that deviates on the left at the sign Azienda Agricola Castel Bagnolo (or bagnolese): this deviation is precisely at a curve just after the overpass of the highway to Viterbo that you will clearly see. Follow these signs for 4 km (towards south-south/east) until you reach Castel Bagnolo, where you can stop in the chapel dedicated to the Madonna of Loreto (67) (ask for the keys at the nearby house).
From Castel Bagnolo continue to Gallese by the dirt road until you see the monument of San Famiano (68), made by the Romanian sculptor Camillian Demetrescu and blessed by John Paul II. After the statue of this great XII century pilgrim buried in Gallese (patron of the Via Amerina), continue by the road on the right. Once on the provincial road at the village of Valli (69), turn again right towards Gallese, for approx. 1 km. In Gallese you can visit the tomb of Saint Famiano (70) contacting the parish priest Don Remo or some member of the Brotherhood. Then go to the parish hostel next to the church of St. Maria Assunta (71).
You can also take a third way to Vasanello, through the archaeological area of Palazzolo: at Orte, immediately after the stairs next to the fountain that lead to the road to Vasanello, at an ancient milestone (66) turn right uphill to the small settlement of Le Grazie, cross it and continue along the gravel road for about 2 km until you reach the bridge over the highway to Viterbo. Turn right to return to the provincial road and go uphill towards Viterbo. Pass the junction of the highway and after a few hundred meters turn left, again passing the highway, towards the archaeological area of the ancient faliscan settlement of Palazzolo (72). The directions and the red arrows will guide you to Vasanello (73), where next to the post office you will find the small road to Castel Bagnolo (the distance between Orte and Vasanello is approx 9 km, while Orte Castel Bagnolo is approx. km. 4).
At Vasanello there are some nice churches, St. Maria Assunta (X Century), San Salvatore (XI Century), the Orsini Castle (XII Century) and the chapel of San Lanno with frescos by Piermatteo d’Amelia.
From Gallese or Vasanello to Orte
From the Church of St. Famiano (70) go towards Gallese Scalo on the SP for about 1 km till reaching a
place called Valle (69), then turn left uphill on a small private consortium road. At the crossroads at the monument to St. Famiano by Camillian Demetrescu (68), turn left, cross the barriers of the consortium and the old disused railway to reach Castel Bagnolo (67). Here you can make a brief stop at Giancarlo Vitali’s farm and visit the Church dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto. At Castel Bagnolo you can choose between two itineraries:
a) direct to Orte. Continue for about 2.5 km until you reach a crossroads (third right) named Piagge Alte. The road descends gradually, continue and take the provincial road Vasanello-Orte, near the highway overpass; go right towards Orte till you reach the junctions with Le Grazie (66) and Orte (65).
b) to Orte via Vasanello. Take the so-called “Roman” bridge in Castel Bagnolo (ask the locals if you need help to find it) and from here continue along a gravel lane for about 4 km up to Vasanello (73). From Vasanello you can reach Orte by the provincial road (8 km) or you can take the road that runs through the archaeological area of Palazzolo (72) and then merges with the provincial road from Viterbo to Orte just next to the junction of the Orte-Viterbo-Civitavecchia highway. Just after the junction on the right take the the secondary road through the neighborhood Le Grazie, reach the junction with the road from Vasanello (66) and go towards Orte.
At about a hundred meters after this junction take a shortcut to the right downhill that avoids the traffic. Going down, cross the main road and then go up to the old town of Orte through a parking lot next to the Agricultural Consortium. The road climbs along the medieval aqueduct arches which brought water to the town and continues along the belvedere (overlooking the Tiber and Motorway Autostrada del Sole). If the river is low in water you can see the remains of the Roman bridge of the ancient Via Amerina. Your destination is Piazza Santa Maria, in the centre of Orte (65). If you choose the first alternative the total distance is 14 km; if you choose the second it is 20 km.