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|— Comune —|
|Comune di Nerola|
|• Mayor||Domenico Paolini (since May 2002)|
|• Total||18 km2 (7 sq mi)|
|Elevation||453 m (1,486 ft)|
|Population (December 31, 2004)|
|• Density||79/km2 ( 200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||St. George|
|Saint day||March 23|
The name Nerola is probably derived from the Sabine word nero or nerio, which meant "strong" and "brave". The inscription on the fountain in the piazza of the town hall A Nerone tuum Nerola nomen habet traces the origin of the name back to the Roman emperor Nero, who belonged to the gens Claudia, which had distant Sabine origins. In the site traces of a Roman era villa have been found, which legend attributes as belonging to Nero himself.
In the second half of the 10th century AD, the castle Castrum Nerulae was founded by the "Sabine chancellor" Benedetto Crescenzi and was held by the Crescenzi family until 1235, when it came under the direct control of the pope. At the end of the twelfth century, the fiefdom was granted to the Orsini family, who constructed the current Castello Orsini. At the end of the 15th century, the castle was subsequently reinforced with strong towers and other defensive works, which fortified the village that it encircled. Near the castle, the chiesa vecchia (Old Church) was constructed in 1483.
In 1644, the castle and the territory of Nerola were yielded to the Barberini family along with the Montelibretti family, and from 1728, they entered into possession of the Sciarra clan, and thereby to the Lante della Rovere family, who founded the beneficial institution of the Ospedale dei Pellegrini which assisted many who journeyed along the via Salaria. In 1867, the castle was occupied by a contingent of partisans of Giuseppe Garibaldi who were fighting against papal troops.
Since passing to Marquis Ferrari-Frey in 1939, the castle has been restored and now houses a hotel.
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