Arcinazzo Romano is an ancient medieval village on an offshoot of the Affilani Mountains, near Mount Pianezza (1332 meters) and Mount Altuino (1271 meters). It is famous for its historic village and for its Arcinazzo Highlands - Altipiani di Arcinazzo, a tourist resort that shares with the municipalities of Piglio and Trevi nel Lazio.
The birth and expansion of Rome soon arrives in nearby Arcinazzo - which was originally called Ponza from the name of the Roman family of the Gens Pontia. Some legends instead trace the name back to some exiles from the island of Ponza who came to these places during the Saracen invasions.
The Romans were very fond of the Affilani mountains and the nearby Aniene valley, where several aqueducts departed that brought water to Rome, and in these areas they introduced the cultivation of the Cesanese vine, still today one of the most famous reds of Lazio.
The plateaus of Arcinazzo had been chosen as a hunting lodge by the emperor Trajan who built a large 5-hectare villa there. Many of the villa's decorations have been looted over the centuries. For example, during the 18th century they were used to decorate the church of Saint Andrew in Subiaco and in the 19th century for the arrangement of the church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Arcinazzo Romano.
Today the archaeological excavations are part of the Museum of Trajan in Arcinazzo.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, people took refuge in castles on the hills, and it seems that in this area there were at least two castles, one in Setacciara road at the highlands and one on Mount Altuino.
But the first mention of the castle and the village of Arcinazzo Romano dates back to 720 in a deed of sale preserved in the papal archives. The castle must have been part of the possessions of the nearby monastery of Subiaco.
One of the first lords was a certain Ildemondo who conquered Arcinazzo and Affile in 1087, clashing with the monastery. The abbot reconquered Arcinazzo with the help of Pope Paschal II in 1109.
From the 12th century, therefore, Arcinazzo became part of the assets of the monastery and the abbot of Subiaco had his lodgings in the tower of the castle.
The relationship between the citizens and the abbots has not always been idyllic and there are few interventions of embellishment that have been made over the centuries. At the end of the 16th century, the church of Our Lady of the Assumption was rebuilt by incorporating one of the ancient towers of the castle into the bell tower.
The abbey of Subiaco considered Arcinazzo as a quarry and in the eighteenth century the villa of Trajan was sacked to recover marble (but also lead) for their church of Saint Andrew.
From 1735 Arcinazzo Romano passed directly under the control of the Apostolic Chamber, the administrative body of the Papal State where it remained until the unification of Italy. And the very birth of the Italian state led to the need to change its name so as not to confuse it with that of the island of Ponza. The name Arcinazzo derives from Narzio, a nobleman from Subiaco, or from Arcinia, a concubine of the emperor Claudius.