Genazzano is a small village in the countryside of Rome, a delightful town to be discovered. Despite its small size, there are many surprises, making the visit engaging and exciting. Genazzano is part of the Grand Tour of the Roman Coutryside.
A small village in the countryside of Rome, Genazzano is a delightful town to be discovered. Despite its small size, there are many surprises, making the visit engaging and exciting.
Chosen by the ancient Romans as a holiday resort, history continues to live on in its streets, in its sanctuaries and churches, all of which are works of great architectural and religious value.
The historic center of town, located atop a spur of volcanic tuff at a height of 375 meters, is extremely evocative, and leans towards the Prenestini Mountains and the Valle del Sacco.
The Colonna Castle
The Colonna family castle stands out to symbolize a glorious past. I recommend starting the visit at the castle, in such a way that you can then continue the itinerary downhill. In fact, a particularity of this beautiful town, is its hillside location, its picturesque charm and panoramic views.
Of evident medieval origin, the Castle assumes the appearance of a fortress during the period in which the Colonna family settled in Genazzano. It subsequently became a prestigious papal residence but with the advent of the Second World War the complex suffered heavy damages. Thanks to the impressive restoration, today it is a lively cultural center.
The Hamlet of Genazzano
Leaving the castle behind us and walking towards the town of Genazzano, we find the Church of San Nicola, one of the most important sacred places for the local residents. It can be ascribed to the XIII century and is characterized by its precious wooden ceiling and the Cosmatesque style floor.
Leaving this sacred place you feel as though you are inside a picture; look around, go past the iron gate located in the square and continue to walk forward. A succession of staircases, colourful corners, the vivid hues of the clothes on the line, arches, porticoes and passages with barrel vaults will brighten your walk towards the next stop: the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Buon Consiglio.
This is a place of pilgrimage and a place of worship to which the community of Genazzano is very devoted. A neoclassical building, its notoriety is due above all to the sacred image that is kept inside, a Madonna with child that, according to legend, was transported here in flight in 1467 from Albania by angels in order to save it from the raids that occurred during the invasion of the Ottoman troops.
From here I suggest that you stop at the Church of the Holy Cross, which is no longer used for worship since it was converted into a War Memorial for veterans. Admire the frescoes of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that decorate its walls, and the burial ossuary in the center of the nave.
Continue towards the Porta Romana and a few steps away you’ll find one of the most beautiful places of Genazzano: the Nymphaeum. It was built in 1500 at the behest of the Colonna family whose ambition was to achieve their dream of Arcadia by building a structure immersed in lush vegetation among trees and small pools of water where you can walk, study, spend time in contact with nature. The presence of a frigidarium in a small octagonal room located in the northern part of the structure, inside which there is a circular pool, suggests that it was also a place used for bathing.
But historians disagree on the use to which the Nymphaeum of Genazzano was destined. Some claim that due to a design error, the construction was never completed. Suffice it to say that the Bramante Nymphaeum is one of the smallest hidden and enchanting places of Genazzano and in the Roman countryside.
Genazzano is a place with a romantic charm and an unmissable destination during your Roman holidays. I was lucky enough to be here by chance on the first Sunday of July and I was amazed: before me an incredible view, a cheerful party-like atmosphere and hundreds of people gathered together to create a colorful tapestry made of flowers and natural elements arranged in amazing designs throughout the town streets.
Speaking with the locals I discovered that it was the Infiorata, a tradition very much felt by the residents of Genazzano that is handed down from generation to generation. Shortly thereafter, that floral tapestry became the site of a procession in honor of the Sacred Heart and discovered that the paintings served as a theater for representations of scenes from the sacred scriptures.
A crescendo of indescribable emotions … it was like being catapulted into a distant past. Genazzano is like a ray of sunshine that suddenly comes on a rainy day and there is nothing better to do than enjoy it, along with the warmth of friendly Italians.