Santa Severa Castle, a piece of history by the sea
The castle of Santa Severa dates back to the 14th century, and has the typical fairy-tale silhouette of mediaeval fortresses. It is located in the hamlet of Santa Severa, which belongs to the municipality of Santa Marinella, a few kilometres north of Rome, in Lazio.
The castle dominates the landscape between the beach and the sea. With its unique settings, where explorers, merchants and conquerors once stayed, a visit to Santa Severa Castle is a very interesting experience.
A lavish past in one of the most evocative places in Lazio
The first written documentation on the Castle of Santa Severa dates back to 1068, when it was gifted by Count Gerard of Galeria to the Abbey of Farfa. It then passed into the ownership of Pope Anacletus II in 1130, and in 1482 it was handed over to the Order of the Holy Spirit. It was managed by the latter for five hundred years, until 1980.
It takes its name from a young Christian martyr who was killed under Diocletian's empire. The early Christian church that can still be seen in Piazza della Rocca is also dedicated to Santa Severa and her martyrdom.
The area now occupied by the Castle is of enormous archaeological significance: in the seventh century BC, Pyrgi, a major maritime port of Etruria and the ancient Etruscan city of Cerveteri, was situated there.
The Maritime Museum is dedicated to underwater archaeology
Santa Severa Castle houses the Museum of the Sea and Ancient Navigation. The exhibition and educational route is totally dedicated to underwater archaeology and ancient navigation, with interesting artefacts from the Etruscan port of Pyrgi and the nearby depths.
A brief leap into history
You cannot miss a visit to the mediaeval village of Santa Severa, with its arches and narrow stone streets that tell of the castle's history over the centuries. In the piazzale delle Barrozze, at the heart of the hamlets, stands a two-storey circular fountain, crowned by three large millstones.
Heading towards the picturesque Piazza delle due Chiese, you can visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Severa, as well as the Baptistery dedicated to Santa Severa and Santa Lucia. Inside the latter, amidst frescoes from the late 15th century, votive graffiti depicting ships can be seen, which is the work of sailors who passed through the port.
A convivial atmosphere and fresh fish abound
With its taverns and restaurants, Santa Severa offers somem excellent fresh fish: L'isola del Pescatore (Fisherman's Island) is one of the most popular restaurants and has a view of the castle, but there are plenty of alternatives, all serving the best traditional Mediterranean cuisine and the local catch.
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