Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj and the adjacent Collegiata church of the Assumption are the only surviving structures of the ancient urban nucleus of Valmontone. The town was completely razed in the bombings of World War II and was later rebuilt according to criteria that completely altered its original layout. The refugees who lost their homes during the war occupied the palace and remained there until the mid-Sixties.
The palace still shows damage due to the many events that have taken place in the last fifty years and that for all that time prevented any serious attempt to restore it. The war damage, the subdivision for residential use and the long habitation by refugees, followed by years of abandonment after they moved out, were responsible for the most severe damage undergone by the building.
In 1651, when Camillo Pamphilj (Rome 1622-1666), nephew of Innocence X, then pope, acquired the feudal property of Valmontone from the Barberinis, his was the most powerful, wealthiest family of the time. The prince drew up an extremely ambitious project for his new country estate: a monumental palace of 365 rooms in a complex which would include guest facilities, an armory, stables, granary, prison, marketplace and shops. At the time, historians referred to the project as the «Panfilian town» and it was interpreted as one of the last examples of the Renaissance theory of the ideal city.
In 1652 the ancient castle of the Counts of Valmontone was demolished and in 1654 construction began on the new palace, which was completed in 1670 and incorporated a part of the existing medieval village spared from the demolition.
The chief architect for the original project was the Jesuit Benedetto Molli while, from 1666, the worksite was assigned to Antonio Del Grande (1607 ca. – 1679 ca.).
The architectural plans which, after Camillo’s death in 1666 were probably amended with respect to the original design, were presented as a compromise between various types of noble palaces, country homes and fortresses.
The cycle of frescoes preserved on the noble residential floor of the palace is one of the most representative examples of Roman paintings of the mid 17th century. Despite the poor state of conservation caused by the events of the last decades, as stated above, thanks to an action of restoration undertaken in recent years and still under way, most of the painted decorations have been restored to good legibility.
The cycle covers the ceilings of the noble floor of the palace, mainly on the vaults, with the exclusion of the Prince’s Hall in which the entire surface of the walls is painted in trompe l’oeil. The iconographic program depicted in the four main halls is the Allegories of the Elements – Air, Water, Earth and Fire – and in the four chambers, the Personification of Continents. In two adjacent rooms to these latter, the centers of the vaults contain the only religious images of the cycle: God the Father and St. Agnes.
To paint the frescoes, between about 1657 and 1661, Camillo called several of the leading figures of the Roman art world like Pier Francesco Mola – who was appointed artistic director – Gaspard Dughet, Guglielmo Cortese, Francesco Cozza and, lastly, Mattia Preti.
MUSEO LORENZO FERRI
Museo Lorenzo Ferri
The Lorenzo Ferri Museum, part of “Museo Civico Città di Cave” and included in the Territorial Museum System Pre.Gio., is dedicated to the sculptor, restorer and sindonologist Lorenzo Ferri (1902-1975).
A few kilometers from Rome, the Lorenzo Ferri Museum is divided in two sections: the main section that hosts a collection of artworks and a second separated section dedicated to the Monumental Nativity.
The section of the museum, which opened in December 2013 at Via Cavour 23 in the former Mattei’s Hospital, hosts a collection of plaster casts made by the artist highly representative of the different phases of his career, from the 20s to 70s.
Among the most significant and well-known artworks, it hosts the sketches of Roman sculptures such as the statue of Trilussa and Giolitti, Ecce Homo, Christ Alpha-Omega and Christ the Redeemer; the bronze doors competition reliefs for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the oil painting “Eve in Eden” and the sketches of monument for Knock Shrine in Ireland.
The section of the Monumental Nativity, opened in December 2012 at the underground halls of the former Augustinian Monastery, hosts the giant nativity made by Ferri with more than 4 meters high statues: the nine plaster statues, sculpted between 1947 and 1948 after winning the competition organized by Pallottini Fathers in order to renew the crib of Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome, depict the Epiphany with Mary and the baby Jesus,
St. Joseph at right of the Virgin and in front of them the three Magi, one kneeling, with their pages bearingofferings.
The main section of the Lorenzo Ferri Museum is accessible to persons with handicap.
In both sections there is a tactile path that allows to people with visual disabilities to enjoy the exhibition space and to know artworks: through information panels and dedicated workstations with scale models of some statues, it’s possible to understand shape and size of the originals one.
Museo Lorenzo Ferri
23, Via Cavour – 00033 Cave (Roma) IT
Phone: +39 06 9507310
Fax: +39 06 9581363
From October to May
Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu-Fri 9.30/12.30 – 15.30/18.30
Saturday-Sunday 9.30/12.30 – 16.00/19.00
From June to September
Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu-Fri 9.30/12.30 – 16.00/19.00
Saturday-Sunday 9.30/12.30 – 16.30/19.30
Extraordinary openings: 24 and 31 December – 9.30/12.30
Closing days: January 1, August 15 and December 25
(For any extraordinary openings and closings consult the information channels)
National Museum of Archeology at Palestrina
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Palestrina
The lovely Renaissance doorway is your access to another time, long ago. As soon as you go through it, you’ll be surrounded by the objects and furniture of an ancient era, in which men and nature were rules by a pantheon of divinities that were often temperamental and capricious.
The location was once the site of the ancient temple of Fortuna Primigenia, and its remains can still be seen. The first floor of the museum offers an overview of the religious objects and celebratory images of the goddess. Instruments and votive offerings, once stores in the shadow of the sanctuary, now see the light in precious showcases, in the spectacular rooms of the museum.
The second floor will take you among the priceless bronzes recovered from the necropolis, funeral urns and votive terracottas will bring to life the lost pageantry of the Prenestine countryside. This area was also the site of many domus (Roman villas) with lovely mosaics, many of which are on view at the museum.
The last floor houses what is perhaps the most precious item in the entire collection, a Nilotic mosaic with colored tiles, a wonder of colors and artistic talent that opens a window on the Hellenistic epoch.
Don’t leave without taking a long stroll through the archeological area in front of the museum, where the remains of the sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia provide a majestic contrast to the natural beauty of the place.
According to local legend, the great god Saturn commanded its foundation and, from its earliest origins, it was the cherished land of noble leaders. You can still perceive the solemnity of its early days when you enter the hushed atmosphere of the cathedral, erected on the site of the ancient acropolis of the Roman town: it is a real jewel of Romanesque art. You proceed along the central nave on a mosaic floor and come to the access to the crypt. This exceptional place is known as the “Sistine Chapel of the Middle Ages” and is worth the entire visit. Notice the elegance of the Romanesque arches with their marvelous decoration, and the precious mosaic floor beneath your feet, while all around you gorgeous frescoes depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament complete the impressively majestic atmosphere.
To fully appreciate the medieval period, however, you have to leave the cathedral and visit the palace that was the resident of Pope Boniface VIII, with its double lancet windows on the first floor, overlooking a vast loggia in gray stone. The building has gone down in history as the site of the famous episode of the “Schiaffo d’Anagni” (The Anagni Outrage), the event that led to the “Avignon Exile”.
Before you leave, don’t forget to spend some time in the many taverns and inns, where you can enjoy typical local dishes and products that will add a memorable flavor to your visit.
Water is often a focus in the structures of the villa and interacts continuously with the buildings, completing and enhancing them. All this is the product of a highly creative mind with exotic tastes, and Hadrian, supervising his staff of architects, was able to turn his home into a sort of reverie, a dreamscape that best represented the way his mind worked and revealed his interests, particularly for Greek culture and Egyptian cults. It is not unusually to encounter, along the paths and broad avenues of the place, statues with a typical oriental flavor that bring to life, in the forms and costumes, the ancient land of the pharaohs. This cosmopolitan cultural contributes further to make the villa an enchanted place, where anything could happen.
The charm of the ruins of ancient glory, immerse in the vegetation, has already had a magnetic attraction for men since the neoclassical age. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience that same delight, as you walk, in the twilight hours, along the paths and observe the jagged lines of the ruins emerging from the green, when a golden light seems to coat the buildings still standing with precious materials: the last gleam of the waning day restores the glory of a place that was once the site of regal meetings and where now, a little at a time, nature is once again staking her claim.
Terme di Fiuggi
The little town, perched on a high plateau, seems to watch over its springs from above. The springs are located in a forest of chestnut trees, where the water flows from a depth of between 8 and 20 meters. Its long climb through in a deep limestone formation makes it rich in beneficial properties. The best way to get all the healthy benefits of the water is to drink it directly from the spring early in the morning. Treatment consists of a regular lifestyle, a carefully studied diet and relaxing walks in the natural setting of the town’s woodland heights.
The water has been use in health treatment for centuries, as evidence by the presence of pre-Roman settlements in the surrounding territory. Through history, it served the needs of people like Michelangelo and Boniface VIII. The springs were a place of wellbeing, where everyone could take advantage of the privileges that nature gave through its springs.
From the origins, Fiuggi was not only a place of treatment but also one of relaxation and enjoyment, with many opportunities for pleasure and social interaction.
Park of Roman Castles
Parco dei Castelli
In the almost 100 sq.km. of uncontaminated parkland, many animal species roam freely, like badgers, martens, peregrine falcons, porcupines, but above all the wolves, noted not only for their link to the legend of Rome’s foundation, but also for its importance to the ecosystem of the area.
There are 16 towns within the borders of the Park of Roman Castles. The most well-known of these is, of course, Castel Gandolfo, a papal residence since 1623, ranged around the edges of an ancient crater, now Lake Albano.
The Park of Roman Castles is a fascinating plunge into nature and history, as shown by the countless archeological ruins you are likely to run into on a relaxing walk. Even in ancient times the area was very popular. The Romans have tried to preserve some of the many forests in the area, like the one near Ariccia or along the banks of Lake Nemi, considered the home of gods and nymphs. The sanctity of the place is palpable still in the hush of the vegetation.
A visit to this area is a unique experience and a must for anyone who wants to find the most authentic essence of Latium’s beauty.
This passage of styles is not entirely accidental. After the Roman period, Subiaco was the site of one of the main centers of the Benedictine cult, which built a number of monasteries and religious sites renowned for their Spartan esthetics. St. Benedict spent three years in Subiaco, where he impressed on the local clergy the Benedictine rule of severity and hard work.
An imposing fortified abbey overlooks the town, built by the Borgias to dominate the entire valley, as a symbol of the absolute power of the noble Roman family, who frequently holidayed in the area. The interiors still express the atmosphere of intrigue and conspiracy, where the battle for control could never accept compromise.
When you visit, make sure your tour includes the little street called “via degli Opifici”. This is a street that has kept the almost surreal aspect of a typical medieval village, maintaining intact all the magic of a distant epoch. It is located in the portion of Subiaco that lies close to the Aniene River, where the mills were located. They used the waters of the river to power a flour mill and an oil press, and there was also a bakery, with wood ovens, and a blacksmith’s shop.
Abbazia di Casamari
Try to take an impressive tour through time to discover the activities of the Cistercian monks who still perpetuate the preachings of St. Benedict: the management of the library, teaching, care of the pharmacy.
The heart of the abbey is its precious cloister, colored with the cheerful brilliance of a carpet of red flowers that contrasts with the pure whiteness of the marble structure. The severe simplicity of the building’s profile is a magnificent contrast to the colorful explosion of nature. The cloister is the reign of silence and meditation, where the monks read, walk and till the soil in absolute silence.
The abbey, with its rectangular structure, imitates the perfection of the cosmos and, the cloister garden is the triumph of the four elements: earth, with the plots cultivated by the monks; water, with the octagonal well; the rarefied air that permeates everything and the fire of the sun that warms and illuminates.
La certosa di Trisulti
As soon as you go through the stone entry you lose all sense of time: you’ll be living in a medieval world, crossing the stone floor to stand before the abbot, a character from the past who is just who you would expect to meet in the natural splendor of the place.
A visit to the Trisulti Charterhouse is an authentic voyage into the depths of your personality, an ideal place to find yourself.
Before you go in, stop at the ancient pharmacy, where the monks prepare ancient remedies according to the secret recipes they have handed down through the centuries. Everything you see, breathe and taste there comes from antiquity.
Abbazia di Montecassino
The subsequent reconstruction did not alter the beauty of the abbey, which has preserved the legacy of its ancient library, saved by the monks during the last war and that can still tell the history of the abbey, founded centuries ago.
A walk through the loggia of Paradiso is a delightful way to lose your cares in the surrounding blue and let yourself enjoy the total relaxation of the vast view of valley below, an enchantment of history and nature.
Gold, blue, white and read and the colors that accompany you as you descent into the ancient crypt, where austere figures full of simple charm look down on you from the height of their marble reliefs.
Discover the solemnity and sanctity of a holy place that brings inner peace to your heart as a gift that you can take away from this unforgettable visit, wherever you go.