Santa Maria a Monte | Medieval Cistern

The medieval Cistern, 13th century, is located inside the Municipal Library. It is accessed through an internal courtyard that leads to a large room with a tufa ceiling reinforced by round arches. A semicircular opening reveals the water deposit created by the water table: an essential resource that was never to be lacking to supply the castle in times of peace or siege.

The cistern is flanked by an underground tunnel, now blocked off, which served as a secret military passageway that could be used by the castle defenders.

The medieval village of Santa Maria a Monte is made u of numerous underground tunnels, made up of communicating tunnels dug directly into the tuff, which formed a veritable underground city.

This hidden route may have served as a sort of water supply network for the inhabitants of the castle both in times of peace and in the event of a siege. Running under the houses, the tunnels passed under the three circles of the medieval castle walls: a secret network to pass from one circle of the walls to another without being seen by enemies or as an escape route.

During the Second World War, the underground passages were used as air-raid shelters. Partly walled in or sealed off to prevent access by the Nazis, they have undergone extensive changes that have not altered their undoubted charm.

As they are private property, they can only be visited during special guided tours.

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