Between history, sea and mystery: discover the charm of Santa Severa Castle, a historical jewel on the outskirts of Rome, Italy

An hour's drive from Rome, this seaside resort is well worth a weekend visit. This little known wonder offers the ideal atmosphere for a stay of relaxation, art and good food. All by the sea.

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Things to do in Santa Severa

Visit the Castle

The Castle of Santa Severa owes its name to Severa, a young Christian martyr who is said to have died here in June 298 AD together with her brothers under the Diocletian empire. The church from the second half of the 5th and beginning of the 6th century is dedicated to her.

The entire area originated in ancient times, with the construction of Pyrgi in the 7th century B.C., one of the most important commercial ports in the Mediterranean basin and the main port of Caere, today’s Cerveteri, where the Etruscans, as well as the Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians landed over the centuries.

Look for the Castle Ghost

Every castle has its legend, right? Yes, oviusly! So, here is the Santa Severa Castle’s legend.

In an unusual tomb preserved in the castle are a mysterious nobleman’s (or knight’s) remains. This sarcophagus, with a cross engraved on the lid, protected a skeleton inside in a strange position, almost kneeling. The explanation for this posture is that the man was buried still alive.
So, the ghost within the castle walls is the soul that wandering in eternal damnation of this poor knight (or nobleman) who somehow enjoys frightening his – evidently unwelcome – guests.

Indeed, there are many accounts of mysterious footsteps, doors opening for no apparent reason, coloured lights and silhouettes suddenly appearing and objects moving about.

Admire the history of women’s dress through the centuries during a visit to the Castle

A special and interesting journey through the centuries with more than 30 dresses to admire from the Middle Ages to modern times. This is a wonderful permanent exhibition that can be admired while walking through the halls and corridors of the Castle.

Stroll through the Medieval Village

The historical centre of the small medieval village is surrounded by walls, characterised by stone houses and narrow streets joined by small arches.

There are small craft shops in the village where you can find special and nice ceramic and wooden objects as well as typical souvenirs.

Look at the ruins of the Early Christian Church

Near the Piazza della Rocca, just in the opposite of the drawbridge leading to the castle entrance, you can admire the oldest church of the village, dating back to the early Christian period. It was probably dedicated to the martyr Severa. According to sources, was built near the sea, near the castle fortress, precisely where the martyrdom of the Saint took place.

The myth of Severa of Pirgy

Severa of Pirgy was a Christian who was brutally murdered on the beach, together with her brothers, by order of Diocletian during the time of the last great persecution against Christians. She was buried here and later sanctified as a martyr.

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Admire the Church of Maria Assunta

This parish Church was built in 1595 due to the growing population in the village. The Church is only open for Sunday Mass at 11.30am. If you find it open, admire the fresco on the altar depicting the Madonna seated on clouds, crowned by angels.
La Chiesa è aperta esclusivamente per la messa della domenica alle ore 11:30. Se la trovate aperta, ammirate l’affresco sull’altare raffigurante la Madonna seduta su delle nubi, incoronata dagli angeli.

Look at the Baptistery

In 1482, the Hospitaller Order of Santo Spirito carried out many renovations and construction works, including the Baptistery, a small Church dedicated to Santa Severa and Santa Lucia.
In addition to the baptismal font, carved from a portion of a millstone of the Roman era, there are frescoes from the second half of the 15th century from the school of the painter Antoniazzo Romano. Among them, in the centre of the apse, there is the Madonna Enthroned with a Child.

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Visit the Castle Museum, the Museum of the Sea and Ancient Navigation and the Museum of the Territory

  • The Castle Museum is located inside the 14th-century fortress and spreads over three levels in an area of 800 square metres. Some of artefacts discovered during the excavations carried out as part of the restoration work. The visit is enriched by illustrative panels, blow-ups, video projections and 3D reconstructions, as well as the reality of the rooms, tools and weapons from Etruscan times to the present day. There is also a reconstruction of the medieval kitchen and canteen with the remains of meals and original objects found in excavations, as well as valuable artifacts.
  • The Museum of the Sea and Ancient Navigation consists of seven rooms and more than one hundred exhibits, along a route focusing on underwater archaeology and ancient navigation, which also includes evidence from the seabed of the Cerite coastline, with particular reference to the port of Pyrgi.
  • The Museum of the Territory is located inside the Castle and it documents the importance that this monumental heritage has always had in the experience of the indigenous population. This small but precious museum show photos, objects, tells the mineralogical aspect of territory, the paleontological period, work activities in the field of agriculture, mining and craft activities. You can admire in the many of the tools used in ancient times for the agricultural, as well as ancient photos testifying various human activities including the reclamation of this sector of southern Maremma. You can also admire ancient maps, minerals and fossils from the surrounding area but also other areas.

The Antiquarium is currently closed for renovation.

Take a walk on the beach at sunset

At sunset, the walls of the Borgo, the Castle and the beach are tinged with pink and golden reflections that, in intense contrast to the electric blue of the sky and sea, create a spectacular panorama.

Dine by the sea

Last but not least, a visit to Santa Severa ends with a romantic dinner by the sea. There are many restaurants where you can spend the evening.
By the way, this could be the perfect location to spend a very romantic Valentine’s Day! The sea is wonderful even in the winter season!

Things to know

At the Castle by the Sea you can celebrate a special occasion, from a wedding banquet to a graduation party. The medieval village, with its squares, alleyways and spacious rooms, is an ideal place to host any reception in an evocative setting steeped in history. Info: Weddings and Receptions

Every year during the summer period, the Castle and the Village hosts many events. Browse the events calendar by clicking Summer events

The Santa Severa Castle is open all year and it has a 40-bed hostel. The Hostel has rooms with one to four beds equipped with every comfort. Guests also have access to a common area with a fully equipped kitchen and relaxation room, and a convenient free car park. Info: Hostel

That’s all folks! Have a romantic weekend!

Ciao da Cris e Marco del blog in giro in giro

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