In south-east direction from Rome after 35 km. , between Lago di Albano and Lago di Nemi, there is Ariccia. Aricia boasts very ancient origins. As in all Latin cities, the first inhabitants of these places had to fight to maintain their independence. “Aricia” was the capital of the Latin League at the end of the 4th century B.C., and the battle of Aricia successfully thwarted the military ambitions of the Etruscans in Southern Latium.
The “Ariccini” also fought against Rome until being subjugated in the 4th century B.C. Ariccia became one of the most important Roman communities because of its geographical position between two volcanic lakes, Albano Lake and Nemi Lake. The people of Ariccia were devout worshippers of the goddess Diana, . Her temple, located in the “Nemus Aricinum”, now Nemi, was one of the main sanctuaries in the Latin territory dedicated to the goddess .
During the Middle Ages, Ariccia was sacked and pillaged by barbarians during the Roman campaign. In 1473 Ariccia passed into the hands of the Savelli Family, which started the reconstruction of the territory, and began work on the noble palace. Acquired in the 17th Century from the Chigi, Family, the town was completely re-zoned by the architectural genius of Gian Lorenzo Bernini . He collaborated with many artists, Carlo Fontana. being the most well known amongst them.
In the beginning of the 1700’s, Ariccia became a haven for important artists and writers of the time. In the course of the 19th century, the layout of the town changed greatly when the Appian Way, which went down through the valley (Valle Ariccia) was bonified, under the auspices of Pope Pius IX. Thanks to him, in fact, a bridge with three orders of arches was constructed over the thickly wooded area (now Chigi Park), where the road reached up to Galloro hill.
About the Palazzo Chigi ,the ducal palace of Ariccia is a unique example of a baroque home which has remained virtually unchanged in its environment and with its original furnishings, and is a testament to the great wealth of one of the most important Italian papal lines: the Chigi family.
The family was also the owner of the Chigi palace in Rome which today houses the offices of the Council of Ministers of Italy. Begun in the second half of the sixteenth century by the Savelli family, the palace was transformed into a lavish baroque home between 1664 and 1672 using plans by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, with the collaboration of his young student Carlo Fontana.
The palace houses a large collection of paintings, sculptures and decoration, mostly dating back to the seventeenth century, which also came from the family’s Roman residence, which was sold to the state in 1918. Perhaps due to the Spanish feel of the décor, Luchino Visconti decided to set his famous film “The Leopard” here, filming several scenes within the palace.
The palace was given to the City of Ariccia on 29th December 1988 under special conditions, by Prince Agostino Chigi Albani della Rovere, and is now a museum and cultural center, hosting various activities such as exhibits, concerts, guided tours, meetings, and the like.
Suggested accommodation for this area : http://www.romahappydays.com/ariccia-flat/