Albano Laziale is a municipality of about 40,100 inhabitants in the province of Rome and it's one of the most important of the Roman Castles district. Albano's territory includes the villages of Cecchina and Pavona and also partially includes in the Regional Park of Castelli Romani. Among the other cities in the area like Velletri, Rocca di Papa, Rocca Priora and Marino; Albano Laziale is one of the largest cities in the Roman Castles area.
One of the major attractions is without a doubt Lake Albano or the Lake at Castel Gandolfo, which attract tourists and residents from surrounding areas to enjoy long walks on the shores and romantic dinners in the many restaurants. Albano Laziale, much like Frascati and Grottaferrata, is one of the most visited of the Roman Castles area due to its extensive artistic, cultural and historic heritage. You can also taste typical Roman food and excellent local wines from around Rome and surrounding areas.
HISTORY OF ALBANO LAZIALE
The origins of Albano Laziale date back to the first millennium BC, when the area only had a small population. In 202, the emperor Septimius Severus established a large military camp called Castra Albana, which lasted until the end of the third century. In 326 the Emperor Constantine I, ordered the construction of the Cathedral dedicated to St John the Baptist. According to legend, Constantine donated various sacred remains to the newly formed Cathedral.
Following the Barbarian Invasions, Albano Laziale was ravaged first by Alaric and then by Gianserio. Over the following centuries, Albano Laziale was the scene of the cruel struggle for the possession of the Italian peninsula. In the ninth century the town was first under the Counts of Tusculum then under the papal authority with the expulsion of Hugh of Provence. In 1167 the city faced the battle of Monte Porzio against Rome and in 1434 the city fell into the hands of Cola Savelli who organized a revolt that obliged Pope Eugene IV to flee from Rome staying away for nine years. In 1604 Savelli, due to reduced tax revenue, gave the fiefs of Castel Gandolfo and Rocca Priora to Clement VIII and in 1698 the remaining possessions were auctioned off. With the right of first refusal, Pope Innocent XII chose the fief of the Apostolic Chamber. Albano in 1872 took the name of Albano Laziale not to be confused with other cities in Italy. During the Second World War, the city suffered extensive damage but was able to rebuild quickly and the cultural and commercial life as a result became stronger than ever. In 1961 the two main state run secondary schools were founded which are Ugo Foscolo State High School and the Professional Institute of State Nicholas Garrone.
THINGS TO SEE IN ALBANO LAZIALE
Basilica of St Pancrazio Martyr: The Basilica is one of the most important religious monuments of Albano Laziale, both historically and culturally. The facade of the basilica was designed by Charles Bolton in 1722. In the middle of the marble pediment, there is the coat of arms of the Cardinal Fabrizio Paolucci. At the ends of the facade there are two torches, a symbol of the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Parish Church of St. Peter the Apostle: The origins of the church are very old, it is thought that St. Peter was the evangelist of Albano Laziale. The church was strongly supported by Pope Hormisdas and was later renovated several times. Today the church holds the tombs of princes and some marble entablatures of Severian. Also note the beautiful paintings like the one depicting the "Virgin of the Sign".
Church of St Paul: Also known as the Shrine of St Gaspar del Bufalo, this church holds the relics of St Gaspar del Bufalo, founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood. Among the works to be mentioned, we suggest the eighteenth-century paintings that are behind the altars, one of which represents the anointing of St Paul.
Parish Church of Santa Maria della Stella: the church and the attached convent were built in the mid-sixteenth century, an area where it is believed also held the church of San Senator, above the catacombs. The style of the church has Baroque architecture influences both inside and outside. The church contains some important religious art including a large painting of the Madonna and Child surrounded by angels.
Sanctuary of Maria Santissima della Rotonda: Right outside the church, there is a huge Romanesque bell tower, built around the fourteenth century. Among the many important features of this church, don't miss the dome of the church, the beautiful mosaic floors, and the vestry which was added in later years as a chapel dedicated to St Philip.
Savelli Palace: Built by the Savelli, one of the most influential families in Lazio Albano, the building was built as fortification. Later the palace became the residence of the papal government, and hosted many important characters throughout its long history.
Villa Doria Pamphili: Or Villa Doria, belonged to the family Pamphili and today is one of the largest public parks in Albano Laziale.
Savelli Castle: Again, the property of the Savelli family, this castle is located in the countryside and was built during the Middle Ages.
Thermae of Cellomaio: It is believed that they were erected at the behest of Carcalla. The site currently features the remains of a medieval village where you can admire the remains of the complex of Alba Longa.
Amphitheater: This is the only amphitheater discovered in the area of the Roman Castle. Inside the amphitheater two small chapels were discovered, that prove the existence of Christian martyrdom at the time.
Catacombs of San Senators: Originally these were used as quarries in the second century but later became the burial place of Christians, including St Senator Martyr. In the seventeenth century the Church of Santa Maria della Stella was built above these tombs. The catacombs are still partly unexplored.
HOW TO GET TO ALBANO LAZIALE
Leave Rome and follow Via Appia Antica for 6 miles. Continue on the SS7 towards Poggio delle Mole; Exit this regional highway at Albano Laziale and you'll arrive in Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini.
From Termini Train Station take the regional train direct to Albano Laziale. Trains leave once every hour during the week, and once every 2 hours on holidays and weekends. For more info check the Trenitalia website.
Take Rome's regional bus company COTRAL, with buses departing every 20 minutes from the subway station Anagnina.
For more information visit the website of the Municipality of Albano Laziale