Known with the nickname "City of Popes", thanks to the presence for centuries of a papal residence and for being the birthplace of several popes (Innocent III, Gregory IX, Alexander IV and Boniface VIII), Anagni is one of the most important centers of the Ciociaria area in the province of Frosinone, located in the middle valley of the river Sacco. Although its history is closely linked to events that affected the Roman Empire and later with those of the Papal States in the Middle Ages, the area was inhabited since ancient times, as evidenced by the fossils of a homo erectus and some stone tools, one of the oldest in Italy. The discovery of Etruscan finds, instead, strengthen the hypothesis of a relationship, primarily commercial, which was established, at the times, with another local tribe (the Ernici). Conquered by the Romans in 306 B.C., it was proclaimed, at first, "prefecture" and then "municipality". Anagni was the Summer residence of Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, Lucius Seventh and Caracalla.
In 1160, during the struggle between Alexander III and Frederick Barbarossa, the Pope, in an ecumenical council, excommunicated the Emperor, the Antipope Victor IV, and all their followers. In the XII century, the town was a free municipality, while in the next century, it fell under the domination of the Caetani. In 1303 Boniface VIII, at war against Philip IV the Fair, just before pronouncing excommunication against the King of France, was imprisoned by the French and the troops of Guglielmo di Nogaret and Giacomo Colonna, but was later released by the insurgent citizens. Legendary, on this occasion, is the slap that Giacomo Colonna gave to the Pope, known, historically, as "the slap of Anagni".
Sites of Interest:
- the Cathedral of Santa Maria, located on the ancient acropolis of the city, is a splendid monument of Romanesque art constructed on the ruins of a pre-existing early Christian building. The imposing bell tower is detached from the body of the church. The interior is divided into three naves and apses. Here prevails a Gothic style, with beautiful "cosmateschi" mosaic floors, the Bishop's chair, the canopy and the chandelier, all artworks of the artist Pietro Vassalletto, and a series of valuable frescoes. Worth a visit is also the charming medieval crypt with three naves and apses, 21 arches supported by columns and a superb "cosmateschi" mosaic floor;
- the XIII century Palace of Boniface VIII, famous for being the scenario of the famous historical episode of the "slap of Anagni". Already property of the Conti family, it was later purchased by the Caetani in 1295 and presents an overview characterized by a large portico with arches, surmounted by a loggia with double windows;
- the XII century Town Hall, built by Jacopo da Iseo, a rearrangement of two existing buildings, connected by an impressive series of round arches, on which is located the "Sala della Ragione". On the North side, it is possible to admire the Loggia of the Auctioneer and the coats of arms of the families of the Orsini and the Caetani;
- Palazzo Traietti, formerly Palazzo Caetani, which once belonged to Pope Boniface VIII, features an XVIII century façade embellished by a balcony supported by columns in Neo-classical style;
- the remains of the ancient defensive walls, in particular the chamber of "Arcazzi di Piscina" (III-II century B.C.) and the gates of the city (Porta santa Maria, Porta Cerere and Porta San Francesco);
- Casa Barnekow, named after a prominent Swedish noble, that in the XIX century purchased the house and decorated the façade with frescoes and religious and esoteric inscriptions, written in different languages;
- the XIII century Church of Sant'Angelo, profoundly renovated in the XVIII century;
- the Church of Sant'Antonio Abate, the Saint who played an important role in the community in the XIII century, now houses an auditorium;
- the Church of San Giacomo, renovated in the XVIII century, is decorated inside with a wonderful cosmatesco floor, a tabernacle and a Cross of the XIII century;
- the XIII century Abbey of Glory;
- The remains of the fortified Monastery of San Giorgio in Montes;
- the Church of St. Andrew, founded in the XII century;
- Villa Magna, located on the slopes of the Lepini Mountains, is a complex of rustic farmhouses, medieval and taro-Republicans remains.