– THE HISTORY OF TUSCANIA –
On the birth of the city of Tuscania there are various legends, among the most widespread, the one that would have the city founded by Ascanio, son of Aeneas, on the place of the discovery of twelve dog puppies, hence the name of the city Tus Cana, a second legend instead, would indicate as the founder of the city Tusco, son of Araxe and Ercole.
Beyond the legend, the origins of the city of Tuscania date back to the Palaeolithic period, subsequently the area was inhabited by the Etruscans who founded a city and many necropolises here, the period of maximum development of the Etruscan civilization in the area dates back to the beginning of the eighth century BC. , when the acropolis on the Colle di San Pietro was born. In this period the city becomes one of the lucumonia of Tarquinia. With the Romans the city, which at the time was already known by the name of Tuscana, experienced a period of intense growth, thanks above all to its strategic position, it rose in fact near the river Marta, offering control over the road that led from the Tyrrhenian Sea to Lake Bolsena and towards the inland territories of Etruria.
Starting from the 6th century BC the city also managed to gain control over the port of Regas – the current Montalto di Castro -. The subjugation of Tuscania to the Roman Empire took place in a peaceful way, drawing from it, moreover, great advantages, economic and social growth and the construction of important public works, aqueducts, spas and the Via Clodia. In 90 BC Tuscania was elected to the role of Roman municipium. In the fourth century the city became a bishopric, in 569 it was conquered by the Lombards and in 774 by the Franks led by Charlemagne who, in 781, made it a gift to the State of the Church. Between 967 and 1066 Tuscania was ruled by the Anguillara family, to then pass to the Aldobrandeschi, in 1081 it was conquered by Henry IV.
Starting from the 12th century, Tuscania became a Free Municipality while always remaining at the center of the struggles between the Papal States and the Empire which led to the conquest of the city by Frederick II of Swabia in 1240. This particular condition, the struggles between the Guelphs and Ghibellines and the consequent economic crisis that ensued, led to a slow decline of the city, in favor of the more powerful Viterbo, also raised to the role of bishopric. Thanks to the policy implemented by the papal legate, Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, between 1353 and 1367, the fate of the city was revived, even if only for a few years, in 1421 Pope Martin V, as recognition for the loyalty shown by Tuscania to the State of the Church, elevated the city to the role of County, appointing Angelo Broglio da Lavello as captain of fortune.
When the French troops of Charles VIII crossed Italy to conquer the Kingdom of Naples, they sacked the city of Tuscania, giving rise to a period of profound crisis that left the city outside of all the main events of that period. Tuscania was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1870. On February 6, 1971, an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale partially destroyed the city, killing 31 people and collapsing many historic buildings.