Vicovaro is a small town along the Aniene River in the eastern part of the province of Rome, within the Monte Lucretili nature reserve. It is situated about 300 meters above sea level and has a population of just over four thousand people.
Vicovaro travel guide
Region: Latium. Province: Rome. Postal code: 00029. Area code: 0774. The address of the town hall is Piazza Padre Pietro, n. 9 – 00029 Vicovaro (Rm). Tel. +39 0774498002. The only suburb is called San Cosimato.
Public transportation from Rome: There is a train station in the city, but it can only be reached once a day by bus from Tivoli, and that even very late at night. There is a regular Co.tral bus service from the Ponte Mammolo station (metro line B), to Stazione Valle dell’Aniene-Mandela-Sambuci, which is also in the city’s territory.
Tourist attractions Vicovaro, what to see and do
Most tourists who come to Vicovaro do so because of the natural beauty in the area. The main tourist attractions within the town are the Palazzo Cenci Bolognetti, the San Giacomo Church and the San Pietro Church. The San Cosimato Monastery has a history dating back to the 6th century. From Roman times, two sections of so-called cyclopean walls remain, separated by the also Roman road Via Valeria.
Roman Cyclopean Walls
The so-called Cyclopean walls consist of large blocks of stone stacked on top of each other without the use of cement. They were so named because the blocks were so large that they were thought to have been stacked together by the mythological Cyclopes. The walls at Vicovaro consist of two sections separated by the Roman street Via Valeria.
Tempietto di San Giacomo
The octagonal Temple of San Giacomo was commissioned by Archbishop Giovanni Antonio Orsini in the 15th century. The façade designed by Domenico da Capodistris is characterized by a portal around which there are 24 beautifully decorated niches. The upper part was designed by Giovanni da Traù. After the death of the archbishop, the temple was not completed and so the Orsini could not be buried there either. The canvas “Madonna di Vicovaro” was painted by Giacomo Triga in 1738.
San Pietro Church
The San Pietro Church stands opposite the little temple and was built in the 18th century. The designer was Girolamo Theodoli. In addition to paintings created by Salvatore Monosilio inside the church, there are also two murals on the facade.
The Palazzo Cenci-Bolognetti was commissioned in the 18th century by the family of the same name. It incorporates the former Palazzo Orsini, of which a stronghold and some towers can still be seen. The entrance gate is made in Gothic style. The Fountain of the Obelisk that stands opposite the palace dates from 1903.
Grottos of San Benedetto
The founder of the Benedictine monastic order spent about three years in one of these caves a short distance from the historic center of Vicovaro. Some of the Caves of San Benedetto were decorated with murals in the 17th century.
San Cosimato Monastery
The San Cosimato Monastery and its church are also located about two kilometers outside the city center. It was destroyed by the Saracens in the 6th century and later rebuilt and transformed into an abbey.
Sant’Antonio Abate Church
Sant’Antonio Abate Church is also located outside the center and was built between the 15th and 16th centuries. Its facade is characterized by a portico with ancient Roman columns, while inside there is a terracotta statue of the saint himself. Near the main altar is a 16th century crucifix.
San Sabino Church
The San Sabino Church as it can be seen today was built in the 17th century. However, it is likely that the church existed earlier, as materials much older can be seen at various points. In poor condition, the building is no longer used as a church.
San Salvatore Church
The San Salvatore Church is built on ruins of ancient Roman buildings. The bell gable indicates that the church was built in the Middle Ages.
Tomb of Caio Menio Basso
At km. 42,300 along the Via Tiburtina there is the funerary monument of Caio Meni Basso, which was discovered by chance during work on a railroad line. The monument dates back to the 1st century.
Madonna del Sepolcro Church
The Madonna del Sepolcro Church is a rural church and is named after an ancient sepulcher located nearby. Both the church and the monastery that belongs to it are poorly maintained.
Santa Maria delle Grazie Church
The Santa Maria delle Grazie Church dates back to the Renaissance period. The attached monastery is now privately owned.
San Rocco Church
The San Rocco Church has been restored several times since the 16th century, but probably existed before then.
Not much remains of Saccomuro Castle, halfway between Tivoli and Vicovaro, other than the ruins of a high tower dating from the 8th century, with a wall around it.
A brief history of Vicovaro
The city is located at the place where a people called Aequi had a kind of exploration post from which they wanted to expand their territory. In those days, the Aequi inhabited pretty much the entire border area between what are now the regions of Latium and Abruzzo regions.
About three centuries before Chr., the Romans took over the area. Multiple Roman ruins from this era can still be seen near the town.
In the first half of the 5th century, San Benedetto is said to have lived for three years in one of the caves a short distance from the town. Some of these caves were painted with frescoes in the 17th century.
Like the rest of the region, it came under the rule of the Orsini family in 1190. As a fiefdom of these powerful lords, the town flourished and developed into an important castle.
The Orsini themselves had multiple palaces built, the most important of which is the Palazzo Baronale, erected in the 13th century.
The San Giacomo Church was built in the 15th century.
In the early 16th century, the castle managed to withstand an attack by the Valentini.
In 1672, the Bolognetti took control of the city. They were to hold it until the abolition of the feudal system.
In the 18th century, the Bolognetti family had the Palazzo Bolognetti built. The San Pietro Church dates from the same time.
By car from Rome
Take the toll road E80 or the slower SR5 (better known as Via Tiburtina) from the Grande Raccordo Anulare. The distance from the center of Rome is about 45 kilometers.