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All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to romapip@quipo.it. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in February 2011.

To the Italian visitors of my web site

Ferdinand Gregorovius' Walks - Genazzano

German historian Ferdinand Gregorovius spent his first summer at Genazzano in 1856; he rented a small room under the roof of a house in the centre of the town; notwithstanding the modesty of his accommodation (in his diary he complained about the heat), he definitely enjoyed his holiday and he returned to Genazzano in the following years; he described the town in Aus der Campagna von Rom (About the Roman Campagna).

The main gate of Genazzano

Genazzano is located a few miles east of Palestrina, but it is a much smaller town. It was built on a tufo ridge which was easily fortified by building a short wall on its southern side, because deep ravines protected it on the other ones; Genazzano has only one gate which has some resemblance with those of Palestrina.

View of Genazzano
View of Genazzano from S. Maria del Buon Consiglio (left) to Palazzo Colonna (right)

When Gregorovius first saw Genazzano he had the impression of watching a procession as if the houses were moving towards Palazzo Colonna at the top of the hill. Although the houses of Genazzano have been modernized since Gregorovius visited the town, they still convey the image of a procession.

Main street and reference to Ferdinand Gregorovius
(left) Bell tower of S. Paolo; (centre) the main street between the house where Ferdinand Gregorovius sojourned and S. Maria del Buon Consiglio; (right) a picturesque corner

All the churches and other important buildings of Genazzano are aligned along the street which crosses the whole town from the gate to Palazzo Colonna; a plaque commemorates Gregorovius who in 1857 returned to Genazzano; he was not the only foreigner staying in this house opposite S. Maria del Buon Consiglio as in his diary he mentioned having met Thomas Buchanan Read, an American poet and painter and his pretty wife.
Some verses by Buchanan Read are similar to the account Gregorovius made of his walks in the countryside near Genazzano.
Deep in a sacred, summer wood
I hid me from the world away,
In sandal shoon and hermit hood,
To sit with Nature, night and day.
(Rural Poems - 1857)
In 1859 Gregorovius stayed at another place in Genazzano with two painters: Karl Lindemann-Frommel (German) and Hugo Oskar Von Mohrenschild (Estonian); he went there again in 1861.

Main street, gothic window and reference to Ferdinand Gregorovius
Gothic windows: (left) Casa Apolloni; (right) opposite Casa Apolloni

Genazzano retains several elaborate Gothic windows which are deemed to have been built in the XIVth century; although similar windows can be seen in other towns near Rome, only Genazzano has such a large number of them.

S. Maria del Buon Consiglio and embroidered chasuble
(left) XVth century main portal of S. Maria del Buon Consiglio; (right) details of a chasuble donated by
Pope Alexander VII but bearing also the heraldic symbol (a dove) of Pope Innocent X

S. Maria del Buon Consiglio was (today slightly less) a famous sanctuary owing to a sacred image which miraculously moved from Scutari in Albania to Genazzano in 1467 when that country was conquered by the Ottomans. On September 8, 1856 Gregorovius watched the procession for the feast of the sanctuary and he described the costumes of the different peasants of the Roman Campagna. The popes used to make presents to the church: among them a finely embroidered chasuble, which was most likely started during the pontificate of Pope Innocent X and completed during that of Pope Alexander VII.
The fašade of the church was redesigned in the XIXth century, but it retains the original Renaissance portal which was decorated with the coats of arms of the Colonna family (also in the image used as background for this page).
You may wish to visit the website of the sanctuary - only in Italian in 2011 - external link.

Main view of Palazzo Colonna and heraldic symbols
(left) Palazzo Colonna; (right-above) coat of arms of Pope Martin V; (right-below) a mermaid, one of the heraldic symbols of the Colonna

Pope Martin V, the only pope of the Colonna family, was born in Genazzano and he used to return there very often. The family palace was built at the beginning of the XVth century by the pope; it was enlarged towards the end of that century and it was partially redesigned in the XVIIth century; on that occasion the balustrade was decorated with the Colonna heraldic symbols.

Older part of Palazzo Colonna and churches in front of it
(left) S. Nicola; (right) older part of Palazzo Colonna

The medieval church of S. Nicola which stands along the main street was shortened in 1616 to facilitate access to the palace; the fašade was redesigned in the XIXth century.
While the side of the palace towards the town was given a gentle appearance in the XVIIth century, the back shows the defensive purpose of the building which is also referred to as Castello Colonna.

The courtyard of Palazzo Colonna
(left) Courtyard of Palazzo Colonna with inscription celebrating Cardinal Girolamo Colonna also as "dux et princeps"; (right) passage from the rear part of the building to the courtyard

Girolamo Colonna was appointed cardinal in 1627 at the age of 23; in 1641 at the death of his elder brother Federico he took responsibility for managing the family fiefdoms; in 1630 the Colonna had sold Palestrina to the Barberini and Cardinal Girolamo decided to improve the palace of Genazzano; the courtyard was redesigned by Antonio del Grande with the addition of a second loggia; he was the family architect and he is best known for having designed the great gallery inside Palazzo Colonna in Rome; he also built the Colonna palace of Paliano.

Walk to S. Pio
(left) Modern bridge linking Palazzo Colonna to a garden on a bastion behind the palace; (right) ruins of the aqueduct which supplied the palace

Bridges linked Palazzo Colonna in Rome to the gardens the family possessed on the Quirinale hill; similarly their palace in Genazzano was linked by a bridge to a garden designed in a former defensive bastion; Gregorovius used to walk in this garden which is very narrow but also very long and which ends near S. Pio, a church and convent founded in 1461 by Pope Pius II and dedicated to Pope St. Pius I.

Walk to S. Pio
S. Pio - the inscription granting indulgence which was dictated by Pope Pius II

At the time of Gregorovius the church was abandoned and in 2011 it was still abandoned although a small scaffolding on its right side indicated the beginning of a restoration.

Renaissance Ninfeo
Ninfeo del Bramante

In a small valley near the main gate the Colonna built a nymphaeum which today is called Ninfeo del Bramante, although no firm evidence has been found of the involvement of that architect; most likely it was never actually completed; the remaining walls have the appearance of ancient ruins, but the serliana design of the arches is typical of XVIth century Renaissance.

Introductory page on Ferdinand Gregorovius
Palestrina (previous page in this walk by Gregorovius)
Paliano and Anagni (next pages in this walk by Gregorovius)

Other walks:
The Ernici Mountains:
The Volsci Mountains:
On the Latin shores:
Nettuno and Torre Astura
Circe's Cape:
San Felice

The Orsini Castle in Bracciano

Subiaco, the oldest Benedictine monastery

Pages on towns of Latium other than Rome In the Duchy of Castro: Farnese, Ischia di Castro, Valentano, Gradoli, Capodimonte, Marta In Maremma: Corneto (Tarquinia), Montalto, Canino A Pilgrim's Way: Via Francigena: Acquapendente, Bolsena, Montefiascone In and about Viterbo: Viterbo, Bagnoregio, S. Martino al Cimino, Tuscania, Bomarzo, S. Maria della Querce, Bagnaia, Orte, Vasanello, Vitorchiano From Civitavecchia to Civita Castellana: Civitavecchia, Tolfa, Allumiere, Oriolo Romano, Capranica, Sutri, Bassano, Monterosi, Nepi, Castel d'Elia, Civita Castellana From Bracciano to Viterbo: Manziana, Canale Monterano, Vejano, Barbarano, Blera, Vetralla Around Monte Cimino: Ronciglione, Caprarola, Carbognano, Fabrica, Corchiano, Vignanello, Vallerano, Soriano The Bracciano Lake: Bracciano, Trevignano, Anguillara At the foot of Monte Soratte: S. Oreste, Rignano, Faleria Land of the Romans' wives: Montopoli, Poggio Mirteto, Casperia, Cantalupo, Roccantica Sentinels on the Highway: Fiano Romano, Civitella S. Paolo, Nazzano, Torrita Tiberina, Filacciano, Ponzano Along Via Aurelia: Palidoro, Palo, S. Severa and S. Marinella A Walk to Malborghetto: Prima Porta, Malborghetto Branching off Via Cassia: S. Maria di Galeria, Formello, Isola Farnese To Nomentum and beyond: Mentana, Monterotondo, Palombara A Walk to Ponte di Nona: ancient monuments along Via Prenestina Via Appia Antica A short and delicious digression: Tivoli, Montecompatri, Monte Porzio Catone, Frascati, Grottaferrata, Marino, Castelgandolfo, Albano, Ariccia, Genzano, Velletri, Nemi, Rocca di Papa, Rocca Priora, Civita Lavinia (Lanuvio), 
Porto, Ostia Where the painters found their models: Anticoli Corrado, Castelmadama, Vicovaro, Arsoli Subiaco The Roman Campagna: Palestrina, Genazzano, Paliano, Anagni The Ernici Mountains: Ferentino, Alatri The Volsci Mountains: Valmontone, Colonna, Segni, Norma, Cori On the Latin Shores: Anzio, Nettuno, Torre Astura On the edge of the marsh: Sermoneta, Sezze, Priverno Circe's Cape: S. Felice, Terracina Veroli Branching off Via Flaminia: Riano, Castelnuovo di Porto, Morlupo, Leprignano (Capena)

Latium was enlarged in the 1920s with territories from the neighbouring regions: the map on the left shows the current borders of Latium; the map on the right has links to pages covering towns of historical Latium: in order to see them you must hover and click on the dots.