Bassano in Teverina is a small village of Etruscan origin located in a commanding position overlooking the valley of the Tiber. This area was the scene of many battles, including one of the last between Romans and Etruscans, which marked the end of the Etruscan and the beginning of the Roman supremacy. The battle took place right near Bassano, in proximity of Lake Vadimo or Vadimone, a small stretch of water sacred to both people, which Pliny the Younger described like this: "The colour is lighter than turquoise and deeper than green: the smell is sulphurous and tastes of medicine: its properties weld fractures. The extension of the lake is small, but is large enough to feel the winds, the waves and swell. It is not crossed by any boats, because it’s sacred, but there are floating islands of grass, all covered with reeds and rushes...”.
Today, the lake is much smaller than it used to be and the physiognomy of the town is that of a typical medieval village, but its history was marked by a terrible accident. In 1943, during the Second World War, a German train loaded with ammunition exploded and Bassano was completely destroyed. Its citizens, however, did not lose heart and rebuilt it piece by piece. The result? Today, Bassano boasts the title of one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Arriving in the town, at first one doesn’t realize the gem that is located in the maze of the old centre. Entering the village there are some bright modern houses, but venturing on foot through the old town you will find yourself in another time.
The journey through Bassano’s narrow streets and alleys begins entering through the main gate, located next to the Clock Tower, the main attraction of the village, which dominates the town and the valley of the Tiber. The tower is not always open to the public, but over the weekend, at certain times, you can reach the top thanks to a modern elevator hidden inside the tower itself. The town is not big, but it has all been completely and very carefully rebuilt, trying to bring it back to its original beauty. And it has indeed been a success!
This small town is an oasis of tranquillity and it’s good for the heart to see with what care its citizens have given it a new life. Everything is accurately restored in every detail, from doors to windows, you'll hardly notice any television antennas, and there are no air conditioners and outdoor bathrooms, which so disfigure the appearance of many little towns in Northern Lazio. Surely, it should be an example to follow for the development of many small villages of Tuscia, and not only those, since many are slowly dying because nobody wants to live in them and nobody takes care of them.
Many areas of the village are still destroyed and it will take time before it's all finished, but this charming village is a travel through time. Cars cannot reach the historic centre and strolling through its streets is a great pleasure, especially when you turn a corner and find a huge banana tree with small bunches of fruits that are actually growing right here in the Tiber Valley. It seems incredible that this microclimate is suitable for these tropical fruits, but to my amazement, the tree was full of little green bananas. The Bassanesi have created a real architectural gem and brought back to life something that otherwise would have been lost forever. Well done! Bassano in Teverina is undoubtedly the pearl of the Tiber Valley.