Bracciano, Province of Roma, Lazio Region, Italy

The town rises on a rock facing Lake Bracciano, one of the largest volcanic lakes in Italy, almost circular, with a length of 9.3 Km and 8.7 wide, all surrounded by the forests of the Sabatini mountains. Today the main economic activities are tourism and agriculture.

Province of Roma


The earliest settlement in the area was a military tower recorded in the 10th century AD as Castrum Brachiani, probably built in defence against Saracens' raids. In the 11th century the territory was purchased by the Prefetti di Vico, who turned the tower into a castle, and in 1234 it was a property of the Orsini. In 1419 Pope Martin V confirmed the fiefdom of Bracciano to the Orsini family from Tagliacozzo. The town became famous for its castle, enlarged from 1470 by Napoleone Orsini and his son Virginio. In 1481 it hosted Pope Sixtus IV, who take refuge here during a plague epidemics in Rome.

In 1494 Charles VIII of France marching against Rome stopped at Bracciano, and in 1496 the city was besieged by a papal army led by Giovanni di Candia, son of Pope Alexander VI Borgia, but was able to resist the siege. Also Cesare Borgia, another of Alexander's natural sons, was unsuccessful in his siege of the castle some years later. In 1558 Paolo Giordano I Orsini married Isabella de' Medici, daughter of Cosimo I, Grandduke of Tuscany, and was granted the title of duke of Bracciano.

In the early 17th century Paolo Giordano II ordered the construction of an aqueduct from the Manziana hills to the lake, which led to the establishment of a papermill and printing press, which promoted an early industrial development in the area, with the mining of sulphur and iron and the production of tapestries. In 1696 the castle was auctioned and passed to Livio Odescalchi. Then in 1804 the Odescalchi sold it to the Torlonia family, but in 1861 when prince Livio III Odescalchi married a Polish heiress, Sofia Branicka, and was able to redeem the property of the castle, which still belongs to his descendants.

What to see


Altitude: 280 m a.s.l -- Population: about 13,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 00062 -- Phone Area Code: 06 -- Patron Saint: San Sebastiano celebrated on 20th January -- Frazioni & Località: Castel Giuliano, Pisciarelli, Sambuco, Vicarello, Vigna di Valle


Accommodation in Bracciano

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