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Anagni is an important historical town in central Italy with several interesting buildings to be seen from the period around the 13th century when many popes and important families lived here and constructed their impressive buildings, and an impressive cathedral and crypt.
Anagni was also a favourite residence of Emperor Frederick II of Swabia (1194-1250) and illustrious princely families such as the Borgias, Cajetani, Colonna, Orsini among others.
Explore Anagni: tourism and travel guide
Your visit to Anagni can start from Anagni Cathedral, built between 1062 and 1105 in the place where an ancient acropolis was situated and which originally had Roman temples dedicated to Ceres, Mars and Saturn (Anagni was occupied by an important local tribe until about 300 BC, and also by the Ancient Romans. See also history of Anagni ).
Anagni Cathedral of Saint Maria
The Cathedral of Santa Maria is considered to be one of the best preserved examples of Romanesque art in central and southern Italy. Located at the top of a large and impressive staircase, you will notice straightaway 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 and with three portals and the refined décor of the “Matron Gate".
The north side of the building is also interesting and has 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 Anagni Cathedral the three naves are separated by pilasters, while in the sanctuary you can see the work of Pietro Vassalletto, the famous 13th century marble worker. The mosaic floor, composed of blocks of porphyry, was laid in 1231 by the family of the Cosma.
The most important art treasure here is held in the Cathedral crypt, which follows the division into three naves of the basilica above. The walls are beatifully painted with frescoes by Bendictine monks 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).
Palace of Boniface
Not far from the Cathedral in Anagni the Palace of Boniface is a very impressive building protected by medieval fortifications, towers and Roman walls.
The interior of the palace 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.
Other Anagni monuments
Next to this 'palace of representation' is the Traietto Palace, which served as the residence of the Pope, then next 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.
Anagni food and wine
The local wine production in Anagni is also connected to the popes who brought such prestige to the city, in particularl 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).
Among the local food products we suggest you try 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.
Where is Anagni?
You can find more local travel ideas in the Rome - Lazio guide.