Anguillara Sabazia is a small town on the coast of Lake Bracciano, 30 kilometers north of Rome. Although the lake is its main attraction, Anguillara also has a beautiful medieval center. Het stadje heeft ongeveer 20,000 inwoners.
Anguillara Sabazia travel guide
Tourist information: There is a Punto Informativo Turistico (PIT) at Viale Reginaldo Belloni (c/o Piazza del Molo); phone: +39 069968415; open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30am to 2pm and from 4pm to 7pm only.
Town hall: Piazza del Comune, 1 – 00061 Anguillara Sabazia (RM). Telephone: +39 069960001
Railway station: Anguillara Sabazia railway station is about 3.5 km outside the town centre and is on the Rome-Capranica–Viterbo line. During day time. there is a train to Roma Ostiense about every 30 minutes, a train to Bracciano every 30 minutes and a train to Viterbo every hour.From the station, there are buses to the centre. The frequency is about twice an hour and the ticket can be bought from the driver.
There are direct bus connections to Rome’s Saxa Rubra station. The company operating the connection is called Cotral. The price of a single ticket is 2.20 euros.
Most tourists who come to Anguillara Sabazia do so more for Lago Bracciano than to come and see the town’s sights. However, there are also some other interesting attractions in the town.
A large semicircle with a chord of about 87 metres is all that remains of the Acqua Claudia Aqueduct, of which only the left part can still be seen.
The Walls of Santo Stefano are the ruins of an ancient Roman villa. Part of the three-storey villa, briefly used as a cemetery during a cholera epidemic in the 19th century, has been preserved in reasonably good condition
All roads once led to Rome and the Via Clodia, of which some reasonably well-preserved sections can still be seen at Anguillara Sabazia, was one of these ancient gentleman’s roads.
Some Roman ruins can be seen in the Vicolo Grondarella.
The only active churches left in the historical center of Anguillara are the San Biagio Church, consecrated in 1756, and the Santa Maria Assunta Church.
The Santa Maria Assunta Church dates from the early 16th century, but was almost completely restored in the 18th century, which was necessary because both the structure of the building itself and the wall paintings were in danger of collapsing.
The San Francesco Church is located outside the city walls of Anguillara. There used to be a monastery attached to it, but it was demolished in the 1950s. A school should actually have been built in its place, but it never happened.
The Madonna delle Grazie Church is located outside Anguillara’s city walls, along the Lungolago. The attraction is a mural depicting the “Madonna and Child”.
The Santissima Trinità Church stands by the cemetery just outside the historic center and was consecrated in 1689.
Two older churches, San Salvatore Church and Sant’Andrea Church, have been converted into private residences.
Nowadays, the Palazzo Orsini is used as a town hall. It used to be part of a fortress and consists of a number of already existing constructions that were joined together.
The city gate dates from the 16th century and is connected to the medieval tower by a bastion from the same period. A beautiful clock is attached above the gate.
The Fontana della Terra
Anguillara’s most beautiful beaches are in a part of town called Vigna di Valle.
The town has three suburbs, namely Fonte Claudia, Stazione and Ponton dell’Elce.
A brief history of Anguillara Sabazia
Before the beginning of our era, a Roman settlement existed on the site where the historic centre of Anguillara is today. The town’s history is closely related to that of neighbouring Bracciano and that of two families, the Anguillara and the Orsini.
The town is believed to have been founded around the 2nd century BC. A wealthy Roman, Rutilia Polla, had a villa on the lakeshore, where she farmed fish to sell in Rome itself. Her villa was angular and thus (“angle” is angolo, in Italian) the town acquired the name Anguillara.
Of course, there were earlier settlements and excavations at La Marmotta have found objects indicating that the lake shore was already inhabited around 5500 BC.
After the Empire
Towards the end of the Empire, barbarians invaded the region and the Roman villas and agricultural settlements were abandoned to their fates. New villages were built on higher ground, which was easier to defend.
Of the old early-medieval Anguillara, only the spot where the historical centre is today became repopulated.
The Anguillara family
In the 10th century, the area, then virtually uninhabited, belonged to the Vatican and was administered by the Camera Apostolica, which managed the church’s property and chose the families who were given the right to collect taxes.
Around the year 950, the Anguillara family had gained control of the village. According to tradition, this had happened after Raimone Anguillara had killed a dragon. In reality, he (or someone else) had probably defeated a gang of highwaymen who were terrorizing the few inhabitants of the area.
Anguillara’s historic centre is built on ancient Roman dwellings. The first document that mentions the Castrum Angularia dates from 1020, refers to Guido Anguillara as the town’s feudal lord and names some inhabitants who had the right to fish in the lake. It is kept in the archives of the Santa Maria in Trastevere Church in Rome.
In 1090, the heir Gherardo Anguillara sided with the Prefetti di Vico in their fight against the Romans.
In 1191, when Henry VI, son of Frederick Barbarossa, was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in Rome, he and his retinue stayed at Anguillara, probably in gratitude for the loyalty the Anguillare family had shown him over the years.
In the 13th century, the Di Vico took over the fiefdom, and this lasted until 1246, when the Anguillara regained it. Dominion of the area was divided between the two families from then on.
In 1320, the lake and surrounding areas were assigned to Pietro de Pinea, a relative of the Anguillara.
After the popes left for Avignon in the early 14th century, the Anguillara moved to Capranica and to Rome, where (also through proper marriages) they soon became part of the aristocracy. This did come at the expense of Anguillara himself.
From 1443, the family extended their influence to Vetralla and Caprarola, and other towns, but the reputation that Everso II in particular and his son Francesco built up as lying tyrants cost the latter an excommunication and imprisonment in the Castel Sant’Angelo. Power over the terrritory was also returned to the Camera Apostolica.
The family managed to regain their possession for a while, but from 1490 they disappeared from the scene.
The Orsini family
In 1493, Anguillara was bought by Gentil Virginio Orsini, who lost it a few years later after a siege by Giovanni Borgia, the son of the corrupt Pope Alexander VI, briefly regained it and lost it again, before it reverted to the Orsini after that pope’s death.
The Orsini remained more or less in power until in 1551, by order of Cardinal Sforza, the Statute of Anguillare was issued, which said the whole territory was to come under one feudal lord.
In 1560, Anguillara came under the Duchy of Bracciano proclaimed by Pope Pius IV, and from then until 1693, the town’s history has actually always been linked to the Orsini. In that year, the Orsini struggled and were forced to hand over Anguillara to Francesco Grillo.
Three years later, Bracciano was sold to the Odescalchi.
One hundred and fifty years later, Anguillara was sold to the Counts Doria Eboli D’Angri.
In 1872, the name was changed to Anguillara Sabazia.
How to get to Anguillara Sabazia by car
From Rome, follow the Stada Provinciale SP493, and exit at Osteria Nuova, to take the SP5a.