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Four steps in the Middle Ages in Genazzano

The village, as we see it today, was formed in the 11th century, later becoming a fief of the Colonna family, to whom the castle is named. From this building, actually the Baronial Palace, the passage to Rome and Naples was easily controlled.

Genazzano: a town of “suggestive rusticity” on the border between the provinces of Rome and Frosinone

So is Wikipedia’s encyclopedic description for Genazzano, and indeed two words outline the special atmosphere experienced here. Built on a narrow spur of volcanic tufa that descends from the Prenestini Mountains to the Sacco River, the town is 45 kilometers from Rome. The name derives from Roman times when Genazzano was the vacation destination of Gens Genucia, Antonina and Iulia.

The Latin suffix “-anus” was widely used in centuriation areas to indicate someone’s possessions (anthroponym), often obtained in compensation after discharge from a military career.

Two special births occurred within its walls: that of Pope Martin V born Ottone Colonna and that of Giovanni Bracalone de Carlonibus. That is: Brancaleone; one of the thirteen famous Italian knights who won the famous Disfida di Barletta.

Since 1979 with a Transavanguardia exhibition curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, the Castle became a very active exhibition venue. Today, as an Atelier Museum, it houses works by established national painters and other aspects of local culture (Infiorata, archaeology, folk traditions, etc.).

The village, as we see it today, was formed in the 11th century, later becoming a fief of the Colonna family, to whom the castle is named. From this building, actually the Baronial Palace, the passage to Rome and Naples was easily controlled.

The Middle Ages still alive great setting for a relaxing visit

And, in fact, the municipal coat of arms is inspired by the Disfida di Barletta (1503), held over issues of Italian honor questioned by the French. Every year, between late May and June, a historical reenactment called “the Palio of Brancaleone” takes place here.

Between the Castle, which appears on arrival to the village as a granite fortress, to the “puorta,” the Roman Gate, runs the main street of the village. Paved with cobblestones, the street offers a time-machine style stroll, amid ancient architecture, aromas of cuisine and the slow pace of residents.

The largest church in Genazzano is the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Counsel, which holds within it a painting believed to be miraculous. A Madonna and Child that legend says miraculously appeared in the church when, for certain, it was first affixed in the cathedral of Shkodra in Albania.

The 15th-century apparition drew pilgrims from all over Latium, whose donations made it possible to finish building the shrine.

Other important period traces to be known

Outside the city gate, along a road leading into the countryside, is the Bramante Nymphaeum. An unfinished work commissioned by the Colonna family, it is definitely worth a visit: more attributable to artists of his school than to Bramante.

The deconsecrated Church of the Holy Cross preserves frescoes that are also interesting for their dating. The condemnable phenomenon of signing works of art, in this case leaves us with a testimony, engraved in 1347.

Famous near Easter is the “Infiorata di Genazzano” among the oldest in Italy, which won the Guinness World Record for its size in 2012.

The culture of a place is also experienced at the table: here, handmade gnocchi dominate the scene. Whether “a coa de sorica” (rat tail) with meat sauce, “a sassetto” with sauce and diced zucchini, or “tiritello” (whole wheat flour).

Black piglet from the Prenestini Mountains and red and white wine with the name of the village are very welcome presences on local menus.

With the Blog of Rome and Latium Region, Around Rome guides you to discover the territories for the pleasure of satisfying curiosity and putting culture at the service of people and businesses.

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Edited by il NETWORK | text Andrea Franchiniphoto Ezio Bocci

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