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ARICCIA (ROME)
According to a vague notice by Caius Julius Solinus, Ariccia was founded by one Archilocus Siculus in very ancient times. Ruins found in the city confirm the existence of a settlement in the 8th-9th centuries BC. Later the city was a member of the Latin League and in its territory, including the Lake of Nemi, was sited the sanctuary of Diana Aricina (or Diana Nemorensis) held by the Latin cities in common, and presided over by the Rex Nemorensis made famous in the pages of Frazer's The Golden Bough.

Under its walls the Battle of Aricia was fought (506 BC), in which the Aricini, allied with the Cumani of Aristhodemus, defeated the Etruscans led by Aruns son of Porsenna.

Aricia was definitively conquered by the Romans in the 4th century BC: it received the title of municipium, and expanded towards the valley below, in which the Via Appia connected it with Rome. Ariccia became therefore the first main posting station in the way from Rome towards southern Italy. Being rather near to the Imperial capital, and favoured by a fresher climate, Ariccia was chosen by many of the Rome's patricii as seat of their leasure villas.

Being placed in a strategic position, the city was sacked several times during and after the fall of the Roman Empire, by Goths, Vandals and, finally, by the Saracens who destroyed it in 827. The inhabitants subsequently moved to the ancient acropolis and founded a new community.

In 990 the Castrum Ariciensis ("Ariccia's Castle") was a dominion of Guido, count of Tusculum. During the reign of Pope Nicholas II the castle was absorbed by the Papal States, from which in turn passed again to the Earls of Tusculum as a fief (1116). The Roman Church regained Ariccia in 1223 with Pope Honorius III, of the Savelli family, and maintained it until the first half of the 15th century.

Ariccia began to depopulate, however: after a period under the administration of the castle of Lariano, it passed to the Genzano district, which registered only 100 people in it. Around 1400 all the territory became property of the Monastery of Sant'Anastasio alle Tre Fontane and, after a brief period under the Savelli once more, was sold to the Abbey of Grottaferrata.


The church of the Assunta by Gian Lorenzo BerniniPope Sixtus IV handed Ariccia over to the Savelli, who executed several works for improve its condition, including the draining of the lake situated in the valley (Lake of Vallericcia). In 1661 the city passed to the powerful Chigi family, who rebuilt the splendid Palazzo Savelli Chigi in the main square, in which the invaluable Chigi archives were housed. The Chigi Pope Alexander VII lived for long periods in Ariccia and changed drastically its urbanistic asset, with the important contribution of Gian Lorenzo Bernini who designed the main square and the Church of the Assunta facing the palazzo.

In 1854 Pope Pius IX ordered the construction of a bridge: this bypassed the large wood (now the Parco Chigi) in the valley, which hindered access to Ariccia from Rome along the Via Appia. The bridge was destroyed by retreating German troops during World War II (along with much of the city). Rebuilt in 1947, it crumbled suddenly in 1967 and was rebuilt again.

ARICCIA (ROMA)

La fondazione della città di Aricia sarebbe avvenuta, secondo un'incerta notizia riportata da Gaio Giulio Solino, ad opera di un certo Archiloco, re dei Siculi, in età antichissima[7]. I resti rinvenuti nella parte alta della città testimoniano di un centro risalente all'VIII-VII secolo a.C. (mura di fortificazione in blocchi di peperino). La città faceva parte della Lega Latina e nel suo territorio, comprendente anche il Lago di Nemi con gli attuali territori dei comuni di Nemi, Genzano e buon parte del comune di Albano, aveva sede il santuario federale di Diana Aricina (o Diana Nemorense).
Sotto le sue mura si combatté la battaglia di Aricia descritta da Tito Livio. Si narra, infatti, che nel 506 a.C. gli Aricini, alleati dei Cumani, sconfissero gli Etruschi, capeggiati da Arunte figlio di Porsenna.
Dopo la definitiva conquista romana agli inizi del IV secolo a.C., la città ebbe titolo di municipium e l'abitato si espanse anche nella valle sottostante, dove era attraversato dalla via Appia nel suo antico e originario percorso e per lungo tempo, la prima statio di posta lungo la Via Appia, a partire da Roma. La vicinanza con Roma e la bellezza dei luoghi favorirono la costruzione delle sue numerose ville, delle quali esistono ancora diversi resti nelle campagne circostanti.

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Additional Photos by Giorgio Clementi (Clementi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3694 W: 437 N: 9370] (52514)
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