Faleri Novi

Faleri Novi

A timeless place

Faleri Novi is a unique site of the Agro Falisco, as it represents an ideal bridge between two ancient civilizations, recalling the Roman army’s victory over the Faliscan people.

To walk through these ruins, and inside the mighty tuff rock walls, is to experience a sense of awe and mystery. For its peculiar features, such a place stands out against not only the rest of the Agro Falisco, but the whole Lazio region and Southern Etruria. 

Porta di Giove, Faleri Novi

Porta di Giove, Faleri Novi

Mura di Faleri Novi

Mura di Faleri Novi

Resti di Faleri Novi

Resti di Faleri Novi

Scavi di Faleri Novi

Scavi di Faleri Novi

Percorso dentro la città

Percorso dentro la città

Chiesa di Santa Maria Di Faleri

Chiesa di Santa Maria Di Faleri

Abside Chiesa di Santa Maria di Faleri

Abside Chiesa di Santa Maria di Faleri

Chiesa di Santa Maria in Falleri da dietro

Chiesa di Santa Maria in Falleri da dietro

Rising from the ashes of war

The town of Faleri Novi was founded by the Romans in the year 241 B.C, after the devastation of Faleri Veteres, the Faliscan capital city.

15.000 people perished during this conflict, which culminated in the destruction of the city. Unlike the previous town, which was perched atop a tuff rock spur, the new Faleri was built on a level plane, as it was easier to control. Shortly after, the Faliscan inhabitants who had up to then ruled over the territory, were relocated to the new settlement.

Faleri Novi was later abandoned throughout the Middle Ages as a consequence of the Barbarian invasions. So as to defend against these, the people of Faleri returned to settle in their original home town, and it is from here that the present citadel of Civita Castellana gradually developed. 

 

Throughout the tour

The city walls have in large part remained untouched to this day, for an overall perimeter of 2018 metres and a total of 50 turrets still standing. Still visible at present are also the remains of the theatre, the forum, and a number of dwellings. Then, moving northward and outside of the walls, one can encounter the ruins of an amphitheatre.

The city was vertically crossed by the Via Amerina, whereas the Via Cimina cut through the buildings horizontally. Of the six original city gateways, only two have been spared by time, and these are the gates of Jupiter and of the Ox. Upon the arch of the first one, we see a duplicate of an ancient engraving of the god’s features (the original piece is exhibited within the National Museum of the Agro Falisco). The Gate of the Ox stands instead along the south-eastern stretch of the walls, and derives its name from its decoration depicting the head of such animal.

 

The Church of Santa Maria di Falleri

The Church of Santa Maria di Falleri, was built during the Middle Ages within the city walls. This vertically structured building is one of the best preserved of the area.

The very first construction dates back to the 12th century, and was carried out by the Cistercian monks. The edifice presents a peculiar layout of the apsidal area, making the church an example of unique architecture. The main portal is the work of Lorenzo and Jacopo Cosmati, both from this famous family of Roman marble-workers. These artists were particularly active throughout this territory, for instance the great cathedral of Civita Castellana is also attributed to the two.

 

The dove of light

At the first light of the longest day of the year, that is the summer solstice, the specific angle of inclination of the sunbeams, triggers an unusual phenomenon. The rays of sunlight pass through the lancet window in the central apse, and by doing so they cast the silhouette of a dove spreading its wings upon the interior walls of the church. Year after year this event draws the attention of the curious, of visitors and tourists, reaching the church at five in the morning, so as to witness such a suggestive interplay of lights.

 

The town of Faleri Novi stands as a crossroads between different ages and historical events, and therefore it is a required stop during one’s visit of the Agro Falisco.

Laying between the towns of Fabrica di Roma and Civita Castellana, Faleri Novi is a must-see landmark one simply can’t miss when travelling through the Agro Falisco!

Where is Faleri Novi

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