Anagni is an important historical town in Italy, situated in the centre of the Lazio region and south-east of Rome. Many popes and important families lived here and constructed their impressive buildings, especially in the period around the 13th century.
A visit to Anagni can start from Anagni Cathedral, built between 1062 and 1105 in the place where the ancient acropolis was situated, which had Roman temples dedicated to Ceres, Mars and Saturn.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria is considered one of the best preserved examples of Romanesque art in central and southern Italy. Located atop a large and impressive staircase, note first how the bell tower was erected in front of the façade - this was to avert the risk of soil compaction. The romanesque style is best seen in the front façade, facing south, with its three portals and the refined décor of the “Matron Gate".
Also interesting is the north side of the building, in which there are three apses, the largest of which is adorned with a loggia with sixteen arches and eight columns.
On the western side you can see various different styles, and the chapel of Boniface VIII, while on the right the baptistery roof has a statue of the pope.
Inside, the three naves are separated by pilasters, while in the sanctuary you can see the work of the famous marble worker Pietro Vassalletto (13th century). The mosaic floor, composed of blocks of porphyry, was executed in 1231 by the family of the Cosma.
The most important art treasure here is held in the Cathedral crypt, which reflects the division into three naves of the basilica above. The walls are painted and have the most comprehensive pictorial cycle by the Roman school of the 13th century.
The paintings, depicting stories from the Bible, are attributed to three artists each with different styles, from the archaic, of Byzantine inspiration, to the most realistic forward-looking Cenne di Pepi, called “Cimabue” (1240-1301) and Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337).
Not far from the Cathedral in Anagni is the Palace of Boniface, a very impressive building protected by medieval fortifications, towers and Roman walls.
The interior is divided into large halls that are richly decorated and painted in a pure late-medieval style. Among the areas to be visited, on the second floor are the loggia, which has five lancet windows and the “Hall of the Exchequer”, in which the throne was placed.
Next to this 'palace of representation' is the Traietto Palace, which served as the residence of the Pope, then take a look at the best example of medieval civil architecture in Anagni, the 12th century Town Hall by Jacopo da Iseo, who also created the imposing portico.
Walking along Via Vittorio Emanuele you can see a few examples of elegant aristocratic homes, often once belonging to prelates and demonstrating the political and commercial importance of Anagni until the 13th century. Standing out in particular among these is the front of Barnekow House, which preserves its original external staircase, in a striking combination with some 19th century decorations created by a Swedish nobleman who bought the property.
Also connected to the popes who brought such prestige to the city is the wine production in Anagni - particularly the so-called “Cesanese” wine. This wine, produced from grapes grown and vinified in the area, is celebrated in October in the "Festival of the grape '.
This ruby-red wine was the official wine at the Papal Court of popes Innocent III Gregory IX, Alexander IV, Boniface VIII and Alexander VI (1431-1503). The city also was a favourite residence by Emperor Frederick II of Swabia (1194-1250) and illustrious princely families like the Borgias, Cajetani, Colonna, Orsini.
Among the local food products we suggest the ricotta, goat and sheep cheeses, produced by local shepherds using methods that have been handed down for centuries. Also definitely worth tasting are the goat, lamb, veal and pork reared in the area; trout from the Aniene River, honey, hams and sausages, and mushrooms.
Some delicious local dishes to try include the "Tortoli", the "Patacche", “Ciammaruche”, “timbale of Boniface VIII”, gingerbread, and, finally, the "Sagnaccia" of Anagni.
See also history of Anagni