Volg de Rode Schoentjes in Celleno


Il borgo fantasma (the ghost town) Celleno.

14 km from Bolsena we can find “La citta che muore” (Civita di Bagnoregio). A little further south, a twenty minute drive towards Viterbo, is the village of Celleno and the old Celleno, Il borgo fantasma.
Civita di Bagnoregio “the dying city” is on the bucket list of many. The ghost village of Celleno “il borgo fantasma” is clearly less known.
In any case, it makes me very curious about this ghost town and I decide to put on my red shoes and hit the road.

Celleno il borgo fantasma Volg de Rode Schoentjes

Avanti I’m on my way to Celleno il borgo fantasma.

Celleno itself is an inconspicuous village, but there really is something very spooky in the area. I continue towards centro storico and park my car at the monastery of San Rocco, which unfortunately cannot be visited.
Signs at the entrance of the beautiful-looking monastery indicate that it is ‘privato’. That’s unfortunate…., But where is il borgo fantasma?

Celleno il borgo fantasma VDRS 5


I decide to follow the main road on the right. It is unbelievable but the small skyline of il borgo fantasma really resembles the skyline of Civita di Bagnoregio.
Here too, you can see from afar a church tower in Romanesque style giving the village its face and a steep walled path / bridge up! However, this is not separate as in Civita. In the cozy bar in front of the bridge I buy a bottle of aqua frizante. It’s hot and I’ve forgotten my water. The bar has cozy seating areas in the shade and offers a nice view of the ghost town.


Why il borgo fantasma?

When I arrive sweaty at the old village square of the borgo, I am greeted by a very passionate volunteer from the Pro Loco Celleno. A Pro Loco is a volunteer organization that in this case promotes Celleno.
He tells a lot about the history of Celleno and the origin of the name phantasma.
But first he takes me to the small church of San Donato (1000 years AD), which now houses a museum. Here you can find everything about the history of the origin of the gramophone.
Through a Romanesque-style portal made of basalt stone, I follow the more than enthusiastic volunteer inside the San Donato. There are really beautiful old gramophones and music boxes. It is a real party when you can press and turn all the buttons yourself to bring the gramophones and music boxes to life. Super fun and very interesting, but just like the eight old motorcycles in the village square, I am looking for the history of the ghost town.

Both the old gramophones and the motorbikes are an extra for the visitors of the borgo.
Who wouldn’t want their picture taken on an old motorcycle on an old village square in Celleno? I take the opportunity. They are gems.
After many compliments from me for the volunteer, I am really curious about the history of the ghost town.


We go back to 1951. High-altitude Celleno was depopulated in the early 19th century. Just like in Civita at the time, it was too unsafe to live there.
In 1951 the village was completely deserted.
What still stands today is the church tower and a wall of the old post office.
The village square is still beautifully accessible, just like the Orsini castle at the beginning of the village.
With a large watchtower and surrounded by a deep moat. Despite the museum and the beautiful old motorcycles on the market square, the village has something mysterious, perhaps “spooky”.

Slightly downhill in the borgo, a number of houses have been furnished like they used to be and further up the high part three sheep are kept to keep the ruins clean from overgrown greenery.

Friends of mine were allowed to exhibit this summer (2020) on the piece of land close to the sheep. There are, among other things, works of art Carmine Leta , Regula Zwicky and Fransesco Marzetti.

Enrico Castellani

Civita has the link via San Donatello with Francis of Assisi. In Celleno, visual artist Enrico Castellani decided to restore the castle of Orsini and to live and work there until he died in Celleno in 2017.

Enrico Castellani (born August 4, 1930), was one of Italy’s most influential artists. Associated with the Zero Movement, Movimento Arte Nucleare and Azimut.
In the 1950s and 1960s he contributed to the development of avant-garde art in Europe.
He is best known for his ‘paintings of light’ that merge art, space and architecture to transcend the boundaries of painting. His original approach is considered fundamental to 20th century art history, not only in Italy, but also on the international stage; In particular, Castellani influenced Donald Judd who saw him as the father of minimalism. Castellani has exhibited his works all over the world and represented Italy at the Venice Biennale in the 1960s, among others.

Now, Il borgo fantasma.

In recent years, many activities have been organized in Celleno.
They are happy to take a positive fight with Civita di Bagnoregio to attract more visitors.
Various festivals are organized in the summer and there is an open-air cinema in the summer.

Festa delle ciliegie Celleno

Celleno, together with S. Angelo and Roccalvecce, is the most important cherry region in the Alta Tuscia.
In June there are ‘ festa delle ciliegie ‘ every year for 3 days. The highlight was a game of spitting cherry pits.
Who oh who spits his or her seed the furthest?

Festa celleno

I will participate next year!

Ciao I am Mariët Bloemendal the creative mastermind and passionate Italy expert of “Volg de Rode Schoentjes”.

“Volg de Rode Schoentjes” specializes in extraordinaryexperience and discover holidays for singles in central Italy. Far away from mass tourism, I organize and create a base in which you can discover and experience a real Italian holiday together with other solo travelers. Winner of the Benelux Enterprise Award Best Specialist Italian Holiday agent 2020. Correspondent De Wereld from BNNVARA on NPO1.
Curious who you are going on holiday with? I would like to introduce myself.

Mariët Bloemendal

Would you like more news about Volg de Rode Schoentjes? You can follow my shoes on ….

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