Genzano of Roma is a town of about 24,140 inhabitants and is one of the cities that form the territory of the Roman Castles. Situated in the Alban Hills, 29 km from Rome and 465 m above sea level, Genzano is located above Lake Nemi, which you can easily get to from Genzano along a little path. The territory is also part of the Regional Park of the Castelli Romani, and the area offers numerous nature trails for walking or cycling.
Aside from its beautiful natural delights, Genzano of Rome is also known and appreciated, both in Italy and abroad, for its history and architecture. With its great palaces and historic houses, Genzano is a lively city famous for its ancient traditions, festivals and celebrations.
HISTORY OF GENZANO
The origins of Genzano of Rome are very ancient but there are dissenting views. Numerous Latin and Roman ruins have been found in the area as well as what appears to be a small settlement from around the 10th century. The historian Moroni reported that in 1255, the Cistercians built a castle and a population sprang up around it. Over the next two centuries, Genzano of Rome became the alternating domain of the Cistercian monks, the Orsini, Savelli and Colonna. In 1402, the village was completely destroyed by fire and later rebuilt. Sold around 1490 to the Colonna family along with Lake Nemi, Genzano was run by the family for almost 80 years.
After that, Genzano developed under the Sforza Cesarini family, and then their heirs and successors including the Sforza family. The urban plan of Genzano was two fold, consisting first of the old town and then later in 1708 "New Genzano" was designed by Giovanni Iacobini. The Olmata is a beautiful neighborhood of avenues lined with trees that lead in from the entrance to the city to welcome tourists arriving from Rome. After the fall of Napoleon, and the end of feudalism, Genzano became the new capital of the Holy See, and also included Nemi, Civita Lavinia (now Lanuvio) and Ardea in its jurisdiction. On September 23, 1828 Pope Gregory XVI declared Genzano to officially be recognized as a 'city'. With the fall of Rome and the end of temporal powers, Genzano became part of the Italian State.
Between the end of the 800 and the rise of fascism, Genzano had been the scene of many peasant struggles for land distribution. There was also serious damage after Second World War, largely as a result of aerial bombings in the aftermath of the landing at Anzio. Between January 31, 1944 and April 14, 1944 109 people were killed; Genzano was almost razed to the ground, having had more than 80% of its homes destroyed or heavily damaged.
THINGS TO SEE IN GENZANO
Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity: This is a catholic church whose architectural plans are in a Latin cross shape with three aisles, a semicircular apse, a main altar and ten smaller altars. The facade has two tiers. Inside the church there is a carved wood pulpit with gold embossed in the center, representing the delivery of the Rule of St. Benedict of Norcia. Other noteworthy pieces are the fourteen plates depicting the Stations of the Cross, and an oil on canvas of the Assumption. The four evangelists are depicted on the dome.
Santa Maria della Cima: Known among the inhabitants of Genzano as "Vecchio Duomo", the church was once the main religious site in the city. The facade is in baroque style and features a large Doric entablature. The portal has a curved pediment. Inside the church there is one nave which opens onto two chapels and three altars on each side. Among the works of art found here there is: a painting of the "Madonna and Child with St Philip Blacks", and a large crucifix at the foot. Saints Tigri and Vincenza were moved here from the Catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter to buried here in the church.
Church of the Annunciation: This is a Catholic church in Genzano of Rome, that has a layered façade: the bottom is Tuscan, and top is Ionic. The church has a nave with two side altars. The vaulted ceiling and the apses depict frescoes of the six sibyls, God the Father, the Evangelists, the Assumption, St Augustine and Santa Monica.
Capuchin Church: On February 24, 1629 the church was consecrated and attached to the older Capuchin monastery at the foot of the historical center of Nemi, near the Sanctuary of the Crucifix. However, because of the difficulty of bringing running water to the new monastery as well as the long distance and discomfort of getting to it, the Capuchin friars in 1637 made the decision to leave the convent and settle in Genzano with other inhabitants of Nemi, where the Duke Giuliano Cesarini II readily financed the building of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the adjacent convent.
Palazzo Sforza-Cesarini: This is a historic palace and is also one of the finest monumental buildings in the Roman Castles. The architecture of the building has some historic Roman eighteenth-century features and is right next to the large Sforza Cesarini park.
Antonini's Villa: This villa was divided on two levels and today the remains of the lower level consists of a series of rooms. The seven walls that rise to the west belonged to a single room, identified as the Calidarium. From the Calidarium, you can continue to another area that has a curved section of wall that suggests a circular room probably used as a laconicum. After an operation to clean up over grown vegetation, two blocks of lava stone were found. Most likely they were used to cover a corridor that accessed a hidden entrance to the villa, and a circular structure that was found during the excavation.
Fountains Clementine: These fountains were built in 1777 on Livia Avenue. The coat of arms were also designed above the 2 fountains were also dedicated to Popes Clement XIII and Clement XIV. The fountains have a basin-shaped sarcophagus with two rings on the front, a relief depicting spirals, grapes and a Bacchic mask; one with the face of youth one the left fountain and an elderly face on the right.
Botanical Garden: This is a beautiful romantic English-style garden, built in the mid-1800s at the behest of the Duke Sforza Cesarini Lorenzo for his wife. It covers 92000 square meters and as high as 150 meters along the cliff where it leads down to the lake. It is characterized not only by the presence of evergreen trees such as cedars from Lebanon, redwoods and oaks, but also a large network of paths and fountains and even some fake ruins.
HOW TO GET TO GENZANO
By car: From the South of Rome: Take the Naples-Rome highway and exit at Valmontone, then continue for approximately 30 km towards Velletri. Then take Via Appia, towards Genzano.
From the North: Take the GRA (circular highway around Rome) and take exit 23 to Via Appia. Follow direction towards Ciampino-Albano Laziale. Continue along the Appian Way for about 25 km right up to Genzano.
By bus: From Rome, take Metro A to Anagnina, then take the regional bus service COTRAL to Genzano and Velletri direction, or Latina.
By train: (Rome Termini Station) Take a local train from Rome to Velletri, and after you can take the bus to reach Genzano.