The sacred city of the Ernici first became the city of the Popes: this is Anagni, one of the most beautiful centers of Ciociaria. In the Middle Ages Anagni lived its moment of maximum splendor when it was the seat of the most important Popes of the time.
A legacy that is still present in the style of the town and its architecture. It is the witness of the power and grandeur typical of the Popes of that period. Anagni is set in the tuff hills of the Valle del Sacco: says that it was one of the five cyclopic cities built by the god Saturn. It was in the Middle Ages that after becoming a property owned by the Church, its territory became the seat for many Popes who moved from Rome here. And it is always in this period that some of the most important monuments of Anagni are built.
The Papal Palace and the Schiaffo of Anagni
Among these there is the Palace of Bonifacio VIII also known as the Papal Palace. His fame is also due to a rather well-known historical episode that is identified as ‘Schiaffo of Anagni’. An episode that is covered with so much legend and which concerns the figure of Pope Benedict Caetani, theocratic pontiff who Dante Alighieri placed among the simoniacs in his Divine Comedy.
Pope Caetani was arrested and imprisoned in his own city, a real shame for a pontiff, by the French of William of Nogaret and his historic enemy Sciarra Colonna. Legend has it that the latter also came, in a sense of contempt, to slap the Pope at the Sala dello Scacchiere; for others the real slap was not there but the term would describe the shame suffered by Pope Benedetto Caetani. The Papal Palace is still today the evidence of that period of splendor, halfway between dwelling and fortress.
What to see in Anagni
There are many other places of interest to visit on a tour of Anagni: the Cathedral of Santa Maria for example, which stands in one of the most beautiful squares in Lazio, or Piazza Innocenzo III. And then the Crypt of San Magno, full of impressive frescoes; the Oratory of San Tommaso Beckett, the Treasure Museum, the Palazzo Comunale, the Palazzo Trajetto, the Leaning House, the Church of Santa Sabina, that of Sant’Andrea, the Barnekow house.
A town full of charm and places of great artistic interest in which an important part of the story has been articulated, especially with reference to the world of the Popes during the Renaissance period.