The Borghese Castle of Pratica di Mare
The Castle of Pratica di Mare rises on the ruins of the ancient city of Lavinium founded by Aeneas following its landing on the coast.
Property of the Borghese Family from the 1617, over time it has been the center of life of local civilization and neighboring lands.
The Castle has maintained the original architectural structure shown today by its pentagonal shape, also preserved by Antonio San Gallo the Younger.
The buildings of the village and the walls to ensure an effective protection belt, have been the subject of various restoration interventions over the centuries.
Its construction, chosen on a natural tufa hill, has made it an excellent strategic point for control and management of the surrounding territory.
The Village attached to the Castle inhabited by the farmers of the Tenuta di Pratica di Mare, was the hub of many craft activities such as the processing of silk, leather and local clays.
Naturally, there was no lack of bread production by the old oven, dairy products and vegetables.
Together with the Church of San Pietro Apostolo, located in the center of the village, a place of communion of inhabitants, they have ensured the life of the Castle over the centuries and marked the history of Pratica di Mare.
The history of the Borghese Castle
The name is very ancient and appears for the first time in its original form of Patras in a donation of the Emperor Constantine to the Basilica of S. Croce; this is how Liber Pontificalis expresses himself: "Fecit Constantinus Augustus basilicam in palatio Sessoriano que cognominatur Hierusalem, in this place constituit domum ... sub civitate Laurentum possessio Patras".
With this act began the long ecclesiastical dominance over the whole territory of Pratica that will lead to the institution, since the IX century, of a real civitas: so already under the Pontificate of Marino I (882-884) we talk about a civitas Patrica donated to the Monastery of St. Paul. This monastery was later confirmed as cum ecclesia S. Laurentii by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), reconfirmed in 1203 by Pope Innocent remained in the hands of the monks during the thirteenth century.
During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries several prestigious families such as the Capranica and the Massimo succeeded to the ownership of the Castle and during these years the name was transformed from Patrica into "Practice".
In the 1617 the Borghese acquired the Feudo maintaining its property to this day and immediately enriching it with new defenses, in particular: the Tower of the Castle was equipped with "two bronze falconetti, 50 archibugi, 25 spades ferrate, 6 spingarde and 4 codetti with its ammunition ".
The highest tower was bombed by the Germans during the Second World War and in the collapse destroyed a large part of the Palace that was never rebuilt.
The modern history of Pratica di Mare is linked to the name of Prince Camillo Borghese, who in the early years of the twentieth century, redeveloped the village, repopulated it and relaunched the agricultural activity of the Feudo. After the death of the Prince, the second marriage wife, Maria Monroy of Belmonte took over the management of the property. He started the restoration and reconstruction of the village as well as part of the Castle after the destruction caused by the Germans. He enriched the economy of the village by creating the Antica Fabrica di Ceramiche which in the course of his activity was distinguished by the value of the production, much appreciated by the International High Society.
The Prince Pierfrancesco, sole heir of Princess Monroy, who left her in the 1964, picked up the mission and continued the activity. Protagonist of the Dolce Vita made the village a center of attraction, frequented assiduously by exponents of Cinema, Art and Culture such as Sergio Leone, Pietro Cascella, Marcello Muccini, Antonio Vangelli and many others.
In the 2008, Prince Pierfrancesco and his wife Grazia, have started a new course of restoration of the entire architectural structure, starting from the center of the village, with the restoration of the Church of San Pietro Apostolo and then of the Castle.
The extraordinary future of Pratica di Mare is all in the making.
Services: on the ruins of the ancient Lavinium, an enchanted and timeless place
Visit: On appointment