Odescalchi and Orsini’s Castle tour
Orsini-Odescalchi’s castle is commonly considered as one of the most beautiful renaissance houses in Europe. It stands on a middle age village on a wonderful vantage point with a beautiful view over the lake of Bracciano. Shaped as a pentagon, it has three surrounding walls and five towers, one for each side corner.
To visit the Bracciano Castle you can go every day, with different times depending on the season and the days of the week. On weekends and public holidays it is possible to take a one-hour guided tour included in the ticket price (Morning: 10-11-12 | Afternoon: 15-16-17).
The history of the Bracciano Castle
Its history dates back to the 15th century when one of the most powerful roman families, the Orsinis, took over the property from Braccio da Montone Fortebracci. Gentil Virginio Orsini finished building the castle at the end of the century.
The castle faced many changes over the centuries compared to the original project by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. Taddeo and Federico Zuccari, brothers in architecture, and Giacomo Del Duca, Michelangelo’s scholar, made several architectural and pictorial embellishments for the wedding of Isabella De Medici and Paolo Giordano Orsini.
Odescalchi’s family prestige increased sensibly when one of its members became Pope under the name of Innocenzo XI, and they took over the castle from the Orsinis. The new owners contributed to the splendour of the house by bringing in important collections of works of art, still available to admire in some rooms. We definitely recommend visiting the
- papal hall with Zuccari’s frescos;
- the Umberto hall, named after the Sabaudian King who stayed there in 1900;
- the Trittico hall with Antoniazzo Romano’s paintings;
- the Pisanello’s hall with the portraits of some Odescalch’s family members and a wonderful pottery collection;
- the Caesar’s hall that presents the big fresco by Antoniazzo Romano celebrating Gentil Virginio Orsini’s accomplishments, beside the 17th century busts;
- Isabella de Medici’s hall;
- The Gothic hall, built by Baldssare Odescalchi, a true art connoisseur, who chose to honour the characteristic neogothic aesthetic taste of 19th century.
- Finally yet importantly, we recommend the Hall of arms with the huge Odescalchi’s collection of weapons and armours gathered from 15th to 17th century.
We also recommend visiting the kitchens, the cornerstone of the service area, where you can look at old chimneys, copper pots with Odescalchi’s crest and stuffed hunting trophies; the granary, just next to the entrance is also worth a visit.
It is possible to visit the outside towers, which assured and guaranteed the defence of the entire castle with their loopholes. We strongly recommend visiting the roof garden looking over the lake of Bracciano, conceived as a typical Italian garden dominated by two huge Lebanon ciders.
Livio IV Odescalchi decided to open the castle to the public in 1952, since then the castle has been a dynamic institution where there is enough space both for the museum as well as for the organisation of cultural and recreational events, making it one of the most beloved monuments by the Romans.
Go to Lake Bracciano with Fragrance Tour
If you want to visit Bracciano’s castle and enjoy the surrounding landscapes you could have a look into one of the experiences offered by Fragrance Tour:
- Vintage car tour: One day aboard of a vintage car as the Alfa Romeo Spider “Duetto”, a Jaguar or a Ferrari to visit the lake of Bracciano. You will have a tour of the lake guided by a car tour leader who will help you discovering the many beautiful spots around the lake and will tell you where to stop and what to see. Among our packages, you can have a look into the vintage car tour on the lake of Bracciano for incentive groups.
- Daytrip to the park of Bracciano/Martignano: a trip to the Natural Regional Park of Bracciano-Martignano, with its peculiar volcanic landscape as well as visiting the picturesque lake of Bracciano and Martignano too.
- Helicopter tour on the lake of Bracciano: you will leave from Rome and within a few minutes flight you will be able to admire the lake and the castle of Bracciano from above. You can also have lunch in a romantic restaurant with a magnificent view over the castle and reserve a guided tour of the castle