Papal fortress & Museum of Architecture of
Sangallo the Younger

The Papal Fortress, which is the ancient stronghold built by Innocent the Third at the end of the XII century, rises 633 meters above sea level in defence of Montefiascone.

The Papal Fortress rises on the top of the hill, in a strategic position for the possibility to dominate a large surrounding area. The various cultures, alternating on the hill during the centuries, left traces sufficient to confirm a frequentation that goes from the Eneolithic period to the present day.

From the XIII century, the popes, up to Paul the Third, take care of the fortress in different ways, realizing enlargements and fortifications.

In particular it was radically transformed by the intervention of Innocent the Third and Urban the Fifth. The latter chose it as his summer residence during the years he stayed in Italy: from 1367 to 1370.

During Avignon captivity, the Montefiascone’s fortress was the center of political affairs of the entire Saint Peter’s Patrimony in Tuscia, name of the current district of Viterbo. It played a crucial role especially thanks to Cardinal Egidio Albornoz.

At the end of the XV century, Alexander the Fourth started a military adjustment program for the papal fortresses. Antonio da Sangallo the Older drew a plan for the restoration of the fortress of Montefiascone. The aim was to adapt it to the new war needs arising with the use of gunpowder and cannons.

In the early XVI century, Pope Julius the Second ordered the continuation of the Fortress’s restoration. Later, Leo the Tenth entrusted the direction of the factory to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger.

The beginning of the decadence of the monument is attributed to Paolo the Third Farnese. He transferred the cannons of the Fortress to the Stronghold he erected in Perugia and moved to Viterbo the headquarters of the Rector of the Patrimony.

At the end of the XVII century the Fortress was ceded to Cardinal Barbarigo, who took some material for the construction of the Seminary and used the surviving structures as a warehouse and print house.

Inside the Fortress there is the Museum of Architecture of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. Here you can admire and understand the works of the great Renaissance artist.

Opening Hours

Opening times from Tuesday to Sunday

  • Morning: 09.00 – 13.00
  • Afternoon: 15.00 – 17.00

Last entrance: 30 minutes before closing

Museum Tickets

The ticket includes the entrance to the Papal fortress and to the Museum of Architecture of Sangallo the Younger. Audio-guide included.

Full ticket price: 4,00 €
Reduced ticket price: 2,50 €

Free Entry:

  • children up to 12 years old
  • residents in Montefiascone
  • disabled people with a certificate attesting more than 74% disability
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