The Woods of Sasseto and Edward’s final resting place


Walk between the invisible burrows of hedgehogs, badgers and martens; lose yourself between shady glades and huge beech trees with intricate roots; rest against the volcanic boulders, covered in moss and surrounded by ferns… Welcome to the Woods of Sasseto, part of the Monte Rufeno Natural Reserve in Acqua Pendente, Viterbo.

The wonderful woods – reminiscent of the one in Disney’s “Snow White” story, according to “National Geographic” – is near Torre Alfina, one of the Most beautiful villages in Italy. In 1880 Edward Cahen, a Jewish-origin Belgian banker, fell in love with this place and bought part of the village, the castle and the woods below, which were virtually impenetrable at the time.

Cahen renovated the medieval fortress and cleaned up the woods to make it accessible, adding a maze of pathways and dry stone walls that are so well-integrated into the scenery they are completely camouflaged and in harmony with the natural environment.

The only clearly human-made element is the Neo-gothic building rising in the glade: it is Cahen’s own mausoleum, where he wished to be buried.

March 21, 2019