The little town of Segni is twinned with Mycene and this is by no means coincidental. It is a little gem that dates from the Bronze Age and, as we all know, the more time passes, the more fascinating a place becomes. It is surrounded by hefty Cyclopean walls interspersed with numerous gates opening along the whole length of them, the most famous being the Porta Saracena, topped by a monolith over three metres long. Indeed it was in the town walls and the Porta Saracena that the similarity with the Greek town of Mycene was noted, hence, probably, the twinning. This gate is one of the most stunning monuments of all time and is better conserved and of greater significance than all other monuments of this kind. It has attracted historians, artists and explorers for centuries. In the days of the Grand Tour many foreign visitors (including Edward Dodwell, the famous Irish painter) did sketches and paintings of the gate.
After a long walk uphill we reach the Acropolis of Segni, where the Church of San Pietro stands; it was built on the foundations of a Roman temple originally dedicated to the Goddess Juno Moneta, dating from the 3rd century BC. Its interior is amazing. It was in this church that Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was canonised in 1173. The original walls of the cell of the Temple of Juno, made of huge square blocks of stone, have been preserved. There is also a large Roman cistern, which tourists find fascinating and which is used for cultural events. From here a stunning panoramic view of the whole Sacco Valley can be enjoyed.
The Archeological Museum of Segni, which recounts the history of the town, should not be missed. The museum is housed in the ancient Palazzo della Comunità, built in the 13th century in the heart of the old historic centre. It has been open to the public since 2001, with exhibition space devoted to the ancient town as well as new acquisitions relating to not just the town itself, but also the surrounding area.
Little gnocchi with chestnuts are the local speciality – not to be missed!