Anticoli Corrado is a delightful hill town perched on the Ruffi Mountains, an hour from Rome by car.
Overlooking the Aniene Valley, it is a favourite spot for artists, who have been flocking there from all over the world for over a century. Painters, sculptors, engravers and writers, all bewitched by the medieval charm of the historic centre, which is full of arches and lanes – a veritable labyrinth of alleyways with coats of arms over doorways indicating the residences of noble families such as the Colonna, the Barberini, the Brancaccio.
But apart from the beauty of the scenery, illustrious visitors have also been captivated by the charm of the local women. Indeed, Anticoli Corrado, christened “the village of artists and models” in the first half of the 19th century, was discovered by numerous foreign artists, who came to Rome from northern Europe in search of the picturesque landscapes and atmosphere of the Roman countryside.
In Anticoli Corrado there are many places of great interest; to name but a few: the Church of San Pietro (11th century),the Baronial Palace (17th century), Piazza delle Ville, with its fountain designed by Arturo Martini; and the Civic Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Curiously, the town’s inhabitants often claim that: “Our town has a first name and a surname”. In actual fact, the town, built on the ancient Roman land (Anticulum) by the Benedictine monks of Subiaco, subsequently had the second part of its name added: Corrado, after Corrado D’Antiochia, descendent of Federico Barbarossa, who was Count of Anticoli.
Traditional dishes include: a kind of pasta made with wheat and maize flour, usually served with a garlic, olive oil, chilli and tomato sauce; fried pizza, a flatbread fried in oil, which may be sweet or savoury; and aniseed doughnuts. The local oil and wine are excellent.
Well worth visiting in the vicinity are: the Castle of Roviano, the Museum of Agricultural Civilisation of the Alta Valle dell’Aniene, in Brancaccio Castle.
For those interested in a religious itinerary the Benedict Trail is recommended.