The Orsini Castle in Nerola and the Saint Peter Crusade
“The Castle in Nerola, which will forever be famous for the events of the Saint Peter Crusade, rises atop a small mountain, almost as an island in the elbow of the current border with the Papal States, which stretches into the province of Rieti. It is surrounded by valleys and hills, some left wild and others farmed, and some stripped of any greenery centuries ago…”
This was the beginning of the report “Civiltà Cattolica” – a popular Jesuit publication – published in 1869 about an episode from two years earlier, part of the so-called “Ager Romanus Campaign” led by Garibaldi’s troupes to free Rome.
The Orsini Castle in Nerola dates back to the 11th century and was named after the aristocratic Roman family who owned it between the 13th and 18th centuries. During the Italian Risorgimento, it was occupied by volunteers under Menotti Garibaldi, son of the famous Giuseppe. The Papal Army stormed the fortress in October 1867, in what the Jesuits’ publication called “the Saint Peter Crusade”.
Three years later, the Eternal City was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy and became its capital.
Today the Orsini Castle, immersed in the beautiful countryside of the Sabine hills some forty kilometers from Rome, has become a wonderful five-star hotel.