- For the city in the province of Lecce, see Castro, Apulia.
Castro was an ancient city on the west side of Lake Bolsena
Lake Bolsena is a crater lake of central Italy, of volcanic origin, which was formed starting 370,000 years ago following the collapse of a caldera of the Vulsini volcanic complex into a deep aquifer. Roman historic records indicate activity of the Vulsini volcano occurred as recently as 104 BC,...
in the present-day comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...
of Ischia di Castro
Ischia di Castro
Ischia di Castro is a comune in the Province of Viterbo in the Italian region Latium, located about 90 km northwest of Rome and about 30 km northwest of Viterbo....
, northern Lazio, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...
. It was destroyed at the conclusion of the Wars of Castro
Wars of Castro
The Wars of Castro is a term referring to a series of events in the mid-17th century revolving around the ancient city of Castro , which eventually resulted in the city's destruction on 2 September 1649...
in the 17th century.
Early historyThe settlement of Castro was founded in prehistoric times, and was later the seat of an unspecified Etruscan
Etruscan cities flourished over most of Italy during the Roman Iron Age, marking the farthest extent of Etruscan civilization. They were gradually assimilated first by Italics in the south, then by Celts in the north and finally in Etruria itself by the growing Roman Republic.That many Roman cities...
city, probably Statonia
Statonia was an ancient Etruscan city located in what is now southern Tuscany , central Italy.The ancient town was located south-west to the modern Pitigliano, in the area of Poggio Buco, not far from the localities of Corano and Poggio Formica, where several prehistoric tombs have been excavated....
. In the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...
it had a castle (Latin: castrum), hence the name. Although an autonomous commune, it remained nonetheless under Papal suzerainty
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...
. In 1527 a pro-independence faction assumed power, but they were later ousted by Pier Luigi Farnese, whose family was to rule Castro until the 17th century. In the same year another Farnese, Gian Galeazzo, sacked it in the wake of the Sack of Rome
Sack of Rome (1527)
The Sack of Rome on 6 May 1527 was a military event carried out by the mutinous troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Rome, then part of the Papal States...
Ten years later, in 1537, three years after the election of Alessandro Farnese
Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III , born Alessandro Farnese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation...
as Pope Paul III, it became the seat of an independent Duchy
Duchy of Castro
The Duchy of Castro was a fiefdom in central Italy formed in 1537 from a small strip of land on what is now Lazio's border with Tuscany, centred on Castro, Lazio, a fortified city on a tufa cliff overlooking the river Fiora which was its capital and ducal residence...
under his son Pier Luigi Farnese. The town, which in the meantime had been reduced to "gypsies' huts" (in the words of a contemporary), was reconstructed according to the design of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger
Antonio da Sangallo the Younger
thumb|250px|The church of Santa Maria di Loreto near the [[Trajan's Market]] in [[Rome]], considered Sangallo's masterwork.thumb|250px|View of St. Patrick's Well in [[Orvieto]]....
The Renaissance and the Wars of CastroThe Farnese treated Castro well and consecutive family patriarchs made improvements to the City including churches and their own Palazzo Farnese.
Between 1639 and 1641, the Farnese, then led by Duke of Parma Odoardo Farnese
Odoardo Farnese was Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 1622 to 1646.-Biography:Odoardo was the sole legitimate son of Ranuccio I Farnese and Margherita Aldobrandini...
, came into conflict with the powerful Barberini
The Barberini are a family of the Italian nobility that rose to prominence in 17th century Rome. Their influence peaked with the election of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini to the papal throne in 1623, as Pope Urban VIII...
family of Pope Urban VIII
Pope Urban VIII
Pope Urban VIII , born Maffeo Barberini, was pope from 1623 to 1644. He was the last pope to expand the papal territory by force of arms, and was a prominent patron of the arts and reformer of Church missions...
who responded by sending an army to occupy Castro. The Farnese and the papacy fought a stalemate war and the Pope surrendered and agreed to treaty terms only months before his death in 1644.
When Pope Innocent X
Pope Innocent X
Pope Innocent X , born Giovanni Battista Pamphilj , was Pope from 1644 to 1655. Born in Rome of a family from Gubbio in Umbria who had come to Rome during the pontificate of Pope Innocent IX, he graduated from the Collegio Romano and followed a conventional cursus honorum, following his uncle...
replaced Urban he set about forcing Duke Odoardo's son Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma
Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma
Ranuccio II Farnese was the sixth Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 1646 until his death nearly 50 years later.-Birth and Succession:...
to adhere to the conditions of the peace treaty. Ranuccio refused to pay the reparations and, not long after, the citizens of Castro were accused by Pope Innocent of murdering their local Bishop. Innocent X sent troops to Castro and had the city razed on 2 September 1649, and erected the infamous column reading "Quì fu Castro" ("Here stood Castro"). It was never rebuilt.
- The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, Chapter XXIV - Author George Dennis describes the ruins of Castro in this 1848 book.
- "Farnese and its history" - a brief description of Castro's history, and how it appears today.