La Rocca di S. Leonardo (the Rock of St Leonard) and the ruins of the Castle are clearly visible to travellers along the Via Flaminia whether they’re coming from Rome or from Umbria.
On this plateau, that at 90 metres above sea level stretches like a finger towards the Tiber Valley, traces of human presence date back to the dawn of time.
Ancient eyes rested their gaze some times in fear others with delight upon these vast surroundings – from the plains of Ramelli (east), Lucciano (west) and Campana (north) to the nearby Sabine Mountains. The village of Magliano Sabina lies right on the other bank of the Tiber, that meanders lazily along a course redesigned by humans to harness its sudden fury.
Information on the history of the Castle is rather elusive, hiding behind the thick vegetation that covers the ruins almost entirely. The land upon which they rise could tell us many a tale but for the moment they can’t be disturbed and travellers can only lose themselves in this evocative and ever-changing play of light and shadow.
The Castle was probably built to watch over river and, more so, land traffic. An intricate road network is still visible today at the foot of the Rocca and throughout the territory visible from it. And if one considers that the lookouts availed themselves of a tower more than 40 metres high…
During the years 1999-2000, the Castle was studied as part of a graduation thesis at an advanced school “for the investigation and restoration of monuments”. The subsequent reconstruction has been made possible only thanks to the generosity of the researchers involved, namely architects V. Fasolo, S. Emanuele and D. Otarola, who authorised the use of their information.
Although the area has been inhabited since time immemorial, its history is in many respects still unknown. Hence one has to proceed relying on a rather incomplete picture – precious little is left of the many and diverse artefacts that once upon a time were found here, at the core of everyday life, as revealed by documents and drawings. Historical evolution has gradually moved from the Via Flamina settlement to the current Borghetto, which started developing from the 15th century onwards.
Today, the entire area of the Castle and the old settlement are included in the Parco del Sarapollo, and that is within the boundaries of the farm.
Whilst strolling in the Park, amidst vegetation-covered ruins, surrounded by plants and animals, one has the opportunity to live the present with the help of the past, and imagine a possible future.