Surroundings of Rome: Anagni, the city of the Popes
Anagni, known as the city of the popes, is located in the province of Frosinone, about 50 km from Rome. The short distance from the capital makes Anagni perfect for an excursion during a stay in Rome. The history of the city of the popes is fascinating. No other place can boast a similar record, being the site of 14 popes of the Catholic Church. Every centimetre of Anagni tells about a glorious past destined to immortality among palaces, cathedrals and crypts. Here you are what is worth of a visit to the medieval city of Anagni.
What to see in Anagni
The most famous character of Anagni was Pope Boniface VIII, also known as Pope Benedetto Caetani. He is connected to an event very important in history and literature: the slap of Anagni. The event took place at the Palazzo dei Papi, one of the city's most illustrious monuments. The middle ages gave Anagni great historical and cultural buildings, including the Town Hall and the Cathedral of Santa Maria. There are also other attractions deserving a visit, even if dating back to other than the golden age of Anagni. Among these, we can mention the Casa Pendente and Casa Barnekow.
The Palazzo dei Papi
The main attraction of Anagni is the Palazzo dei Papi, also known as Palazzo di Bonifacio VIII. Its built dates back to the early 13th century, and it was destined to the Conti's family. Today, the entire complex has become a museum, where a permanent exhibition is dedicated to the historical Jubilee of 1300, and to Pope Bonifacio VIII. Within its walls, the famous insult Pope Benedict Caetani suffered, by his rival Sciarra Colonna, SUPPORTING THE French army. In the first years of the 1300's, the problems between Pope Bonifacio VIII and Filippo IV king of France had exceeded the danger level. On September 8th 1303, the pope was arrested within its room, currently known as Palazzo dei Papi. The building is famous for the beautiful frescoes dating back to the 1200s.
The two most famous rooms are the Sala delle Scacchiere and the Sala delle Oche. The first is known for hosting the so-called Outrage. The second one is known for the spectacular fresco representing the birds that gave the name to the room. The other attraction located inside the palace where Boniface VIII and the other popes born in Anagni lived is the Sala del Giubileo. They are located on the second floor, and on the first level, there is Sala Gregorio. You can visit the Palazzo dei Papi every day, from 9am to 1pm and from 3pm to 7pm. The ticket price is 5 euros, reduced price ticket costs 3 euros.
Once you have completed your visit at the Palazzo dei Papi, you can continue your journey to discover Anagni by visiting the Palazzo Comunale, another building enhancing the medieval era experienced by the city of the popes. Unlike other attractions in Anagni, the Palazzo Comunale has not linked its history with one of the city's 14 Popes.
Its built dates back to the second half of the 12th century, about 100 years before the pontificate of Boniface VIII. Palazzo Comunale's best known room is the Sala della Ragione, where Anagni's representatives met to discuss the problems of the city. Approximately 300 years after the construction of the building, the Loggia del Banditore - the lodge - was added, by the will of of Pope Innocent IV. On the façade of the Palazzo Comunale you can finally see the coats of arms of the families who took part in the history of the building. These include the Orsini, the Della Rovere and the Caetani - family of Boniface VIII.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria
In Piazza Innocenzo III there is the Cathedral of Santa Maria, one of the masterpieces in the city of Anagni. It was built between the late 12th and early 13th century. The facade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria is in Romanesque style and presents the so-called Loggia di Bonifacio Benedicente, built during the fourteenth century. Also worth of note is the tall bell tower of the church, one of the symbols of Anagni. The interior of the Cathedral is best known for the famous crypt of San Magno, artistic masterpiece of medieval art in Lazio and Italy.
Not surprisingly, the crypt of San Magno was also renamed "Sistine Chapel of the thirteenth century", because of the spectacular frescoes by an artist still unknown. The visit of the Cathedral of Santa Maria gives you the opportunity to admire the Museo del Tesoro and the Oratory of Saint Thomas Beckett. If you have planned the visit of the city of Anagni on late August or early September, you can take part to the known medieval and Renaissance Theatre Festival, taking place in Piazza Innocenzo IV, every year, from 20 years.
Casa Barnekow and the other attractions of Anagni
The Anagni itinerary continues with a visit to the Casa Barnekow, a building pursued by the wealthy Swedish Alberto Barnekow in the 19th century. Inside of it, you can admire dozens of epigraphs, made - as the historical sources tell us - by the same Scandinavian esoteric noble man. Another building worth of mention for a complete tour of Anagni is the Casa Pendente.
Located not far from City Hall, it is one of the most photographed attractions by tourists who spend a few hours around the streets of the historic medieval city. The Palazzo Traietto is also worth of a visit, property of the Caietani's family and Pope Boniface VIII. Traietto is the name of the family currently living there, but it was formerly known as Palazzo Caetani, decorated by an eighteenth-century style façade. Finally, you can complete the circuit corresponding to the city walls, characterized by the crossing of Porta Cerere, Porta di Tufoli and Porta di Santa Maria.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
For this location we recommend Hotel Panama Garden, ideal for discovering Rome thanks to its strategic location.