But not everyone is attracted to Calcata for its artistic vibe, spiritual energy or relics. The physical aesthetic of Calcata — one of the best preserved medieval hill towns in Italy, is reason enough to draw people like Prince Stefano Massimo, who hails from one of the oldest noble families in Europe (and whose family owned Calcata in the 19th century). He lives part-time in a mansion that sprawls along the southeastern half of the village, and is composed of five homes that were combined and refashioned by a local architect, Patrizia Crisanti.
“I try to come here as much as possible,” Mr. Massimo said. “Not for the energy that people speak about, or for the artists who are living here, but because where else could you find a place that looks this beautiful.”
Calcata is also charmingly backward. There are many places to get a tarot card reading or a box of incense, but to withdraw money from an A.T.M., mail a letter or other modern conveniences, you have to drive to Calcata Nuova or three miles to Faleria.
Still, for most Calcata residents, it’s a fair trade-off. “You could walk around here in your pajamas holding a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and no one is going to judge you because you’re not tied to the proper Italian way of doing things,” said Mr. Garrison. “That says a lot about the place.”
Although the village is a popular day-trip destination, spending the night is the best way to get a real sense of Calcata. I Sensi della Terra (Via San Giovanni 1, 39-0761-587-733; www.isensidellaterra.it) rents rooms and apartments scattered throughout the village. The rooms start at 20 euros, $38, at $1.29 to the euro. And if the villagers are having one of their potluck pasta dinners on the square, they may invite you to join them. Just make sure you don’t have any plans in the morning.
For a place that isn’t stereotypically Italy, it can be pretty Italian after all.