Allerona is a village of medieval origin, included in the list of “most beautiful villages in Italy”. Its name is linked to the ancient “Castello di Lerona” built in the 12th century as a fortified garrison of nearby Orvieto and destroyed in 1495 by the army of Charles VIII.
Of the original castle today remain the ancient walls on which the two entrances the Porta del Sole (eastern access) and the Porta della Luna (western access) open on. The name of the castle Lerona, is probably due to the association with the arbutus tree, (called “lerone” in the local dialect), a common tree in the woods surrounding the town.
On the central Piazza Santa Maria, where the castle originally stood, today the oldest buildings of the village overlook: the Santa Maria Assunta Church and the Palazzo Visconteo which originally belonged to the powerful Monaldeschi family of Orvieto.
Another noteworthy building is the Palazzo ex Dopolavoro, built in the fascist period (1926) and today partly used as a permanent exhibition of Pugnaloni, allegorical floats surmounted by the poplar tree adorned with ribbons of various colors, reproducing scenes of life and work in the fields. The characters, animals, and agricultural tools are made of wood and clay and in every representation there is the scene of Sant’Isidoro who prays while the angels lead the plow.
The landscape surrounding Allerona is a succession of green hills and valleys between which there are interesting buildings such as the Madonna dell’Acque Church, a small octagonal temple from the early 18th century, built on a pre-existing votive chapel located near a water source considered monumental, and the suggestive Villa Cahen, a rare example of liberty style architecture from the early 1900’s. The villa nestled in the woods of Selva di Meana (therefore also known as Villa La Selva), was built by Ugo Cahen, a descendant of the powerful Cahen family, which was a wealthy Jewish banking family from Antwerp.
The villa can be visited upon request. You can admire not only the majestic building, but also the park in which there are Italian gardens, English gardens and an original Japanese garden, as well as many species of plants, some of which are very rare. From the villa there is an amazing view of the Selva di Meana and the valley of the river Paglia below.
The uncontaminated nature and the secular woods characterize the hilly and sometimes mountainous territory of Allerona. Almost 2 million years ago (Early Pleistocene), the landscape was totally different. The current area of the countryside was “overlooking” an arm of the sea, which was not very deep and formed a gulf between the ridges of Monte Cetona and Monte Peglia. A sea full of life usually frequented by large cetaceans such as whales.
As evidenced between 2003 and 2008 in the clay soils of Allerona partial cetacean skeletons: scapula, fore-limb, vertebrae and ribs were found. Many of them in addition to other finds of fossil gray amber, sharks teeth, crustaceans, and mollusks, are exhibited at the Museo dei Cicli Geologici di Allerona.