San Venanzo is an municipality of Orvieto and the main center of the Monte Peglia area. The origins of the town date back to the Etruscan-Roman period, from the 16th century San Venanzo became a fief of the Monaldeschi and remained part of the domains of Orvieto until the 18th century. From this century the history of the town is linked to that of another important local family the Faina.
This Faina family built on the ruins of a castle (of which today only the old tower remains), an elegant residence with a large garden attached. Today the residence is the municipal seat of the town while the garden is a public park with a picturesque pond. There are two churches of particular interest, San Venanzo Martire and Madonna Liberatrice.
San Venanzo is located in an area of great environmental value that of the Monte Peglia, since 2018 has been declared UNESCO MAB reserve in recognition of an ancient and harmonious relationship between man and the environment and its remarkable biodiversity. Sites and findings such as the breccia ossifera villafranchiana (dating back to the Paleolithic era) which constitutes the most ancient traces of the presence of man in central Italy and the Volcanological Park of San Venanzo.
To enhance and illustrate the geological features of the area, the Vulcanological Museum was created in 1999, and in 2004 a path was added that develops within the former Venanzite quarry and where 265,000 years ago three small volcanoes (called “bonsai” volcanoes) were active, whose lava flows produced effusive rocks and minerals including the “Venanzite”, a rock studied since the late 1800’s due to its unusual origin and composition, and uniqueness in the world.
The Volcanological Museum is in a building near the town hall. It displays this rare mineral as well as animal and plant fossils, and an antiquarium where it is possible to admire finds from the Etruscan-Roman period found in the territory.
The municipality of San Venanzo is a very large territory that is scattered with a myriad of medieval towers and castles spread in the small hamlets of Rotecastello, San Vito in Monte, Pornello, Ripalvella, Poggio Aquilone, Civitella dei Conti, Collelungo, and Ospedaletto.
Due to its characteristics the whole area is appreciated by lovers of trekking and excursions, lovers of nature and good food. In addition to the products of the forest (chestnuts, game, mushrooms) the processing of meat is also very appreciated, among which the “Sella di San Venanzo”.