Halfway between Rome and Viterbo, in the regional natural park of the Treja Valley, a small village stands on a tufaceous rock. Calcata’s history dates back to the Faliscan era. It was founded around the sixth century BC and in time; it took the form of a typical mediaeval village, with two gates at the entrance. The village was inhabited until 1935, when the rock on which it stands was considered unstable and therefore, the inhabitants were asked to leave. It remained abandoned until the late '60s, only to be occupied by a community of artists who still have their workshops in the village.
The town is accessible only on foot, and every alleyway that radiates from the main square, inevitably leads to a cliff that overlooks the Treja Valley. There are no buildings or monuments of particular interest; it’s the whole aura of the village with its workshops, boutiques, restaurants and tearooms that make it so unique. Each alley is to admire and explore, with its little staircases, small squares that open after an archway and balconies that overlook the cliff.
At Christmas, you can see the various nativities that are set up in the cellars, some of which go down various levels, in the depths of the rock. They definitely date back to the Faliscan period, and have been re-used throughout the Middle Ages. During this period, the town is full of papier-mâché figures that populate the main square, mingling with real people, creating an artistic and almost dreamlike atmosphere. It's the perfect place for a romantic winter walk or a day trip with friends, and it is also perfect for Christmas shopping, since many of the shops offer original items made by the artists and craftsmen who live in the town.
There is no other place like it in its kind, because the hamlet has only homes, art studios and workshops, there are no "normal" shops, there is no supermarket and, above all, there are no motor vehicles. Here, time seems to stand still, offering a breath of fresh air to the nostalgic of the old days. The town is surrounded by the beautiful Treja Valley, which offers nature trails along the river. In summer, it is lovely to rest next to the waterfalls and enjoy a picnic.
Actually, one of my favorite pastimes during the summer weekends is to ride my horse there, starting in the morning and returning in the evening.
There is nothing more relaxing than the sound of water, birds and the beat of hoofs along the paths that lead to this wonderful destination. A lovely place not to be missed, especially for nature lovers.
The journey continues the 26th of January 2014.