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roccalveccE Medioeval Village
The Roccalvecce village has very old origins. For sure it was an Etruscan settlement, as witnessed by the findings in the tombs dating back to the VIII and VII centuries BC scattered all around the surrounding area.
Later it became a "castrum Romanum" as evidenced by the remainings of opus reticolatum found in the castle foundations.
During all the period between 1200 and 1300 y. the castle was owned by several Lords, the most famous of them - Ponzio - was a warlord to the orders of the noble family Monaldeschi di Bagnorea (the today Bagnoregio).
After about 100 years of various events and clashes between mercenary warlords, the castle became property of the powerful family Gatti from Viterbo.
In the year 1498 5/6 of the castle passed into the hands of Giulio and Ottaviano Colonna, Roman patricians, the remaining sixth passed to the Sienese noble Francesco Chigi.
In 1555 Camillo Colonna, Ottaviano's son, handed it over to Alberto Baglioni, whose sons Vincenzo and Paolo, being in serious economic troubles, in 1642 were forced to sell it to Prospero Costaguti, Genoese noble and Roman citizen. Later in 1685 Giovanni Giorgio Costaguti bought the remaining 1/6 of the castle still in the hands of the Chigi family.
Since then to nowadays the Roccalvecce Castle has been property of the Costaguti family.
There are two prevailing theses explaining the origin of the word "Roccalvecce".
During the Middle Ages around 1200/1300 Roccalvecce was called "Rocca del Veccio" . Historians assume that "Il Veccio" was the name of the warlord of venture who had founded it. As a matter of fact in that historical period often wars took place between the Sienese Republic and the town of Viterbo.
The "Rocca del Veccio" was located exactly on the borders between the two States and thanks to its strategic position had a major function as military outpost along the "Teverina road". In 1254 the Roccalvecce Lords of that time would submit with a special act to the Viterbo domination. From that time on many such acts followed by which the Roccalvecce castle Lords confirmed their subjection to the Viterbo commune.
At the beginning of the 1400s the Roccalvecce castle became on a permanent basis a holding of S. Peter State. Anyhow, being still a stronghold on the border between the Papal States and the Republic of Siena, it became a guard post for the papal soldiers, the famous "Swiss Guards". This presence could have given birth to the definition of "Rocca Helvetica" later turned into Roccalvecce. This theory is also confirmed by a marble tombstone visible inside the church of the castle.