The Castle of Santa Marinella
This suggestive property of the Odescalchi family is located north of Rome, along the Via Aurelia, in the historic center of the town of Santa Marinella, known for being one of the most pleasant seaside resorts of Lazio. Overlooking the sea in the oldest part of the village, the castle was part of the system of the defensive strongholds of the Holy See.
An important example of military defensive architecture, the fortress was used as a bulwark to defend the Roman countryside from possible attacks, both by Saraceni and by pirates, maintaining its function through the multiple changes of ownership, from the Lords of Vico to the Anguillara, to the Orsini, to the Barberini and the Hospital of the Santo Spirito in Sassia who owned it several times.
Since the protection requirements of the coast were less, at the end of the nineteenth century, the castle, together with the Santa Marinella estate, was auctioned and purchased by Prince Baldassarre Odescalchi in 1887 for a figure close to only three hundred thousand lire. In all, five hundred hectares dominated by the castle with a few buildings: the church still in existence, the tavern and some modest houses occupied by laborers and fishermen.
But the elevated position compared to the sea level, the exposure to the south-east, the protection of the coastal strip operated by the Tolfa Mountains, the generally mild climate in all seasons, gave the Prince Baldassarre, senator of the kingdom and great expert 'art, the idea of creating around the castle one of the first modern holiday resorts, transforming the small fishing village into an elegant elite seaside resort.
Starting from those years, the castle's residential function became predominant, thus transforming itself into a comfortable stately building, surrounded by a marvelous Mediterranean park.
Even today, to preface the park of the Castle from the driveway, enter the inner courtyard, get out and overlook the sea, it is a sensory experience fantastic for all those who are lucky enough to visit this rare as a precious corner of the Mediterranean landscape. The light, the breeze, the scent of the sea envelop the gardens of a magical yet spontaneous atmosphere. Thanks to the ideal microclimate, the many species of palms are combined with botanical essences typical of the Mediterranean maquis (privet, wild olive, pittosporum, agaves). Spring and summer offer roses, agapanthus, plumbago, bougainvillea and wisteria with characteristic violet colors. Extraordinarily unique is the presence inside the court of cactus plants of exceptional size, brought with him by Prince Baldassarre on the return of his trips to South America. They offer generous nighttime blooms in the summer.
Inside the castle courtyard, you can admire the small private church built in the 1692 by the Barberini family. The chapel, dedicated to Santa Marina, is adorned with a precious white and blue glazed ceramics, where there is a rare representation of the saint who gave the town its name.
The history of the Castle of Santa Marinella
Located on the Via Aurelia, the Odescalchi Castle of Santa Marinella stands on a promontory dominating the sea, already known in antiquity for its strategic, landscape and natural features. The site of an Etruscan port and the villa of the Ulpiano jurisconsult during the imperial Roman period, the place began to take on its present appearance in the 10th-11th century, with the construction of an imposing watchtower still existing, destined to defend the coast from the Saracen incursions.
The territory owned by the Veneranda Apostolic Chamber, in 1518 was given by Pope Innocent X to Constantine Comnenus, Prince of Macedonia. The fief, returned later to the Apostolic Chamber, was ceded to the Hospital of Santo Spirito in Sassia and, under the pontificate of Urban VIII Barberini (1623-1644) passed to Taddeo Barberini, nephew of the pope and urban prefect.
The transformation of the fortress into a real fortified castle, with a square-shaped enclosure and circular corner towers, dates back to the mid-fifteenth century, while to the Barberini period and more precisely in 1692 with the architect Giovanni Battista Contini, we owe a further expansion of the building and the construction of the current chapel located inside the courtyard.
Probably built on a pre-existing devotional place, the chapel is dedicated to Santa Marina, a Christian virgin who was martyred in Alexandria of Egypt and whose cult was propagated by Basilian monks around the 1000 and from which the name of Santa Marinella derived inhabited. On the altar one can admire a glazed terracotta depicting the crucifixion with San Sebastiano and Santa Marina, of exquisite manufacture.
In the eighteenth century the princess Costanza Barberini once again made the castle to the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, who administered it until the end of 800, when it was bought by Prince Baldassarre Odescalchi, ancestor of the current owners.
Thanks also to his foresight, it seems also on the advice of his friend Giuseppe Garibaldi, the prince put in place a real master plan, transforming the great estate in what then became the current town of Santa Marinella.
In the fifties, Santa Marinella even became, as is known, the city for the holiday of cinema.
Italian cinema lived the great experience of neorealism, while the American Studios landed in Cinecittà, realizing their great productions of historical subject.
Totò, Alberto Sordi, Anna Magnani, Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio Gassman, Ester Williams now habitués of the town attracted around them a large enthusiastic audience. Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman spent the happiest years of their union in the villa of Santa Marinella, and it was not uncommon to walk through the narrow streets and small shops around the castle, meet them with their children, or take a bath on the rocks in the company of Rock Hudson or Gregory Peck.
Faruk and Narimane, sovereigns of Egypt, spent their golden exile in this elegant seaside resort, attracting the attention of newspapers all over the world.
Today the castle is still the center of this elegant seaside town that, with its twenty-two kilometers of coastline, its beautiful Art Nouveau villas and its notoriously favorable climate, still deserves the name of Perla del Tirreno.
Services: wedding locations and charming events in Rome
Characterized by its strategic geographical position, completely surrounded by the sea and a few kilometers from Rome and the international airport of Fiumicino, the Odescalchi Castle of Santa Marinella is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, surrounded by the affection of family and friends.
For those who want to bring together the ceremony and the reception, in the castle it is possible to celebrate any kind of ceremony: Catholic in the lovely Church of San Giuseppe al Porticciolo facing the castle, or official civil thanks to the agreement with the Municipality of Santa Marinella , but also symbolic ceremonies and all the other cults that allow the execution of the outdoor ceremony.
The structure also offers support in organizing all the essential and collateral services necessary for the success of the event: from quality catering, to the choice of flowers and décor, musical entertainment, audio, video and photographic services. .
Receptions and private events
The terraces overlooking the sea, where you can have a drink waiting for the sunset, the agave park, palms and maritime pines with intense and Mediterranean scents, the sober and elegant interiors and the covered pavilion in the garden, welcome guests in an exclusive and romantic setting and offer a variety of unique scenarios where to set the different moments of the event.
The working dinner, the conference, the institutional event are enhanced by a prestigious and practical setting at the same time.
The pavilion in the garden can host up to 200 people seated in the stalls or for a gala dinner, while the inside of the living room with its comfortable lounges and the bright and Mediterranean hall Azzurra, lend themselves to meetings with an informal and relaxed atmosphere. All audio and video services are available on request.
The castle park and its large terraces are the ideal place for exhibitions and exhibitions of various kinds, presentation of books, concerts of classical and jazz music, cultural conferences.
Film sets and photo shoots
Over the years, the Castle has been a film set for many television series such as Commissioner Rex (2008), Capri (second and third series 2008 - 2010), Team Antimafia 3 (2011), Un amore una vendetta (2011), The two laws (2014).
Places of interest nearby
A reception at the castle allows guests to spend a few hours at sea or take advantage of the proximity to Rome, which can be reached by train in just over half an hour. For those wishing to stay nearby for a few days, do not miss the visit to the Etruscan archaeological sites of Cerveteri and Tarquinia.