Cave of Orlando in Sutri

01015 Sutri VT, Italia

Simona Bertolaso



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A remote tale tells of Orlando’s Grotto, one of the many cavities dug out of the tufa rock and used by the Etruscans as tombs. According to the legend, Charlemagne did not share the relationship that his sister Berta had with the warrior Milone, by whom she was pregnant, so he repudiated her and drove her away. Berta in his long wanderings came to Sutri and here, in a cave, gave birth to his son Orlando.
Charlemagne in his long journey to Rome, where he was going to be crowned emperor, stopped in the town and met his nephew, took him with him and made him a trusted champion of the crown.
Orlando’s grotto can still be seen along the Via Cassia in the direction of Rome, where there is a large cavern accessed by a small path. But the link between Sutri and France is certainly not reducible to pure and simple legend.
In the Middle Ages Sutri was in fact one of the main stages of the Via Francigena, the great road that, following the course of the Roman consular Cassia, connected Paris to Rome.

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