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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Castello Orsini Odescalchi

A post at You Duped Me Lord has brought me up to speed on Tom Cruise's wedding plans ... I can't find the will to care much about it except for the mention of the place where he had planned the wedding to take place ... the Castello Orsini Odescalchi. Here's some info from Wikipedia on this medieval castle and the town where it lives ...

Bracciano is a town and commune located northwest of Rome, Italy, famous for its lake of volcanic origin (Lago di Bracciano or "Sabatino") and its medieval castle. The town is a popular tourist destination for Italians as it is situated on Lake Bracciano, a crater lake of volcanic origin. Lake Bracciano is widely used for sailing and other watersports ...

In 1419 Pope Martin V gave the fief of Bracciano to the Orsini family branch of Tagliacozzo. Under this powerful family the city developed into a flourishing town, famous in the whole of Italy for its castle, which was enlarged, starting from 1470, by Napoleone Orsini and his son Virginio. In 1481 it housed Pope Sixtus IV, who had fled from the plague in Rome; the Sala Papalina in one of the corner towers commemorates the event. Four years later, however, the city and the castle were ravaged by Papal troops under Prospero Colonna, and subsequently a new line of walls was built.

In 1494 Charles VIII of France and his troops marching against Rome stopped at Bracciano. This act led to the excommunication of the Orsini, and in 1496 the city was besieged by a papal army, though it resisted. The sixteenth century was a period of splendour for Bracciano. In 1558 the notorious Paolo Giordano I Orsini, marrying Isabella de' Medici, daughter of Cosimo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, received the title of duke of Bracciano. The economy was boosted by the exploitation of sulphur and iron, the production of tapestries and paper. The latter was favoured by the construction of an aqueduct whose ruins can be still seen in the city. Bracciano in this period had some 4,500 inhabitants.

However, the expensive tenor of life of the Orsini eventually damaged the economic conditions of the city. The last great ruler was probably Paolo Giordano II, a patron of arts and literature which made Bracciano a center of culture in Italy. The decline culminated in 1696 with the cession of the fief to the Odescalchi family, who still detain the castle ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're going to hate me for this, Crystal...

But yes, I've been there.

Took the bus up from Rome one summer Saturday to escape the heat. Both the lake and the castle are beautiful.

4:23 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

You haven't been off-wotld yet, have you? Maybe I should write about some interesting spot in the next galaxy :-)

4:50 PM  

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