Thursday, 24th September 2020

Gita to Anagni

Posted on 07. Mar, 2011 in Carousel

On Sunday 27 February, the Irish College seminary community travelled to Anagni for the afternoon to experience something of the artistic and cultural heritage of the city.

Anagni is located 56 km south of Rome is frequently referred to as the city of the Popes. It was the Papal summer residence for long periods during the medieval age and four Popes (Innocent III (1198–1216), Gregory IX (1227–1241), Alexander IV (1254–1261) and Boniface VIII (1294-1303) were born there.

Anagni will forever be associated with the outrage that took place there.  During the dispute between Pope Boniface VIII and the French King and his allies the Colonna family, the  Pope was captured in his palace at Anagni in September 1303. Popular history recounts that the Pope was slapped by Sciarra Colonna.  The episode is remembered as Lo Schiaffo di Anagni. The incident inspired Dante Alighieri in a famous passage of his Divine Comedy, the new Pilate has imprisoned the Vicar of Christ.  Boniface was shaken by the incident and dies shortly afterwards.

The Cathedral of Anagni, dedicated to Santa Maria, in Romanesque style, was constructed during the years 1071-1105, with Gothic-style additions in the mid-13th century. The most noteworthy part of the Cathedral is its crypt, which contains the tomb of Saint Magnus of Anagni, the patron saint of Anagni, and Saint Secundina of Anagni. The frescoes covering the walls and ceiling are some of the best works of Romanesque/Byzantine art in Italy, and form a single iconographic scheme which includes natural philosophy, saints, the Apocalypse, and the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant. The unrestored Cosmati floor is in excellent condition. On the same level as the crypt is the Oratorio of Saint Thomas (Becket) – also completely frescoed though the works are not in as good condition as those in the crypt.