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Ferdinand Gregorovius' Walks - Alatri

Gregorovius found Alatri a very rich town in comparison with Ferentino. The 1863 map I use to illustrate the itineraries of this section, clearly indicates that Alatri was at that time the most important town in the area (today Frosinone is more important). The wealth of Alatri came from wool and felt-hat factories. He saw many recent buildings and even a fountain which showed the prosperity of Alatri.

Palazzo Comunale and Chiesa dei Padri Scolopi
Palazzo Comunale and Chiesa dei Padri Scolopi

The most interesting church in Alatri is S. Maria Maggiore, known in particular for its fine rose-window which quite unusually is designed around a square. On the side of the church one can see an inscription with the coat of arms of Bonifatius IX (1389-1404): the reference to the pope (keys of St Peter) is separate from the family coat of arms.

S. Maria Maggiore
S. Maria Maggiore

Alatri has a few interesting medieval buildings, some of them in the form of a tower. Gregorovius was very highly impressed by the colossal walls which surround the acropolis of Alatri and wrote that he admired these walls as an example of human strength more than the Colosseum in Rome. The area around the acropolis had been cleaned just a few years before Gregorovius visited it. On the occasion of the visit of pope Gregorius XVI, the citizens of Alatri had all worked for ten days to clean the walls and build an access to the upper part of the acropolis.

Palazzo Gottifredo and inscription quoting Gregorovius
Palazzo Gottifredo and inscription quoting Gregorovius

The colossal walls of Alatri are made by layers of gigantic stones: at some points there are up to 14 layers of stones. There are only two accesses to the top of the acropolis.

The Colossal Walls and Porta Civita or Maggiore
The Colossal Walls and Porta Civita or Maggiore

One of the two gates has still on the top two phallic symbols: these symbols were very common on Roman gates and they meant good luck for those who went through the gates. From the top of the acropolis one has an excellent view over the Ernici Mountains.

Porta Minore and view from the Acropolis
Porta Minore and view from the Acropolis

Gregorovius ends his account by describing a visit to nearby Certosa di Trisulti, a Carthusian monastery where he spent a night.

Introductory page on Ferdinand Gregorovius

Other walks:

The Roman Campagna:

The Volsci Mountains:

On the Latin shores:
Nettuno and Torre Astura

Circe's Cape:
San Felice

The Orsini Castle in Bracciano

Subiaco, the oldest Benedictine monastery

See my Home Page on Baroque Rome or my Home Page on Rome in the footsteps of an XVIIIth century traveller.

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