Capena, on the Via Tiberina, in the Tiber Valley, 30 km from Rome, is set in lush vineyards and olive groves with a splendid view of the Bassa Sabina, beyond the Tiber. Narrow streets with Roman “basoli” paving, surprising little squares, arches and wooden steps, the city gate, open on the walls, all characterize the ‘old’ village.
Cicero, in the Epistulae ad Familiares, wrote: “If you want fertile fields and vineyards go to Capena”, words that still describe the unchanged beauty of the Roman countryside around the village.
The buildings that characterize present-day Capena are the fortress or Rocca, the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, with frescoes and the elegant portal of 1477, the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate, the Civic Museum of Capena – and Torre dell’Orologio, dedicated to medieval archaeology.
Set in the silent old cemetery among cypress trees is the Church of San Leone, a high-medieval gem. It has a two-aisled nave, an intact iconostasis and frescos, the most ancient dating to the 4rth century. The Palazzo dei Monaci is also interesting, medieval but restructured in the Renaissance. It preserves, among other things, a cordonata (sloping walkway) dug into the tufa.
In addition to Roman cuisine, such as bucatini all’amatriciana, fried mozzarella, and tripe, you can taste home-made meat-filled pasta, spelt polenta with truffle, and pork chops. Local desserts include pangiallo and serpentone di Capena. The Bianco Capena DOC is excellent.
The Sagra dell’uva – grape festival and feast of San Luca are the two most important events in the town of Capena.
The Nazzano Tevere-Farfa Nature Reserve offers many ideas for various excursions in the countryside; we recommend a visit to the hermitages of Mount Soratte and the warm ferruginous waters of Lake Puzzo.