Gallese

The town of San Famiano

Gallese

The town of San Famiano

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Discover what treasures are hidden in Gallese

"The Marco Scacchi Civic Museum".

"The festival of San Famiano".

"The “Giro del Pappagallo” route".

The medieval town of Gallese is a place rich in popular and religious traditions.

The town of Gallese rests upon a tuff rock spur delimited on one side by the Rio Maggiore river, and on the other by the fosse of Aliamo.

The settlement grew increasingly important starting from the Faliscan-Roman age, at the time in which the two river ports were built.

Then, during the Middle Ages, a stronghold was erected so as to safeguard the so-called “Byzantine Corridor”, that was the Via Amerina, back then one of the main connecting routes within the northern Lazio region.

This small town gave birth to two men who were to be elevated to papacy: these were the popes Romano I and Marino I.

Throughout the Renaissance the town was ruled by a number of influential families: starting from the Colonna, then Della Rovere, Orsini, Altemps, and at last the Hardouin family.

Surrounded by unspoilt nature and enclosed by the ravines, the town of Gallese has kept alive to this day many of its ancient cults and traditions. San Famiano, patron saint of Gallese, is still much revered by the people of the town, and the patronal feast day remains one of the most awaited events of the year.  

Did you know… among the dukes of Gallese who resided in the town’s Ducal Palace, there was Maria Hardouin, who later became wife of the famous writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. 

Did you know… among the dukes of Gallese who resided in the town’s Ducal Palace, there was Maria Hardouin, who later became wife of the famous writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. 

The history of Gallese

The origins

Gallese lies upon a tuff rock spur, as do so many other Faliscan towns. Flanked on one side by the ravines, the cliff is also delimited by both the Rio Maggiore river and the fosse of Aliamo.

There is no certain evidence proving a past Faliscan control over this centre, yet Gallese has often been referred to as Fescennium or Aequum Faliscum. Then again there is no doubt regarding the progressive growth in importance the town experienced starting at the time of Roman domination. The construction of two great river ports along the nearby water courses dates back to that same period.

 

In defence of the “Byzantine Corridor”

The town of Gallese indeed experienced its moment of highest splendour during the 6th century. The centre was fortified, and played a crucial role in the safeguarding of the so-called “Byzantine Corridor”, namely the Via Amerina. As a matter of fact, throughout the Langobard invasions, this ancient road remained the only safe route connecting Rome to Ravenna.

The growing influence of the town is also demonstrated by the election to the Pontificate of two popes both hailing from Gallese: Marino I and Romano I. 

 

A noble residence

During the Renaissance, the town of Gallese became the subject of contention between some of the most influential families of the Agro Falisco: these were the Orsini, Colonna, Della Rovere and Carafa.

Finally, in 1579, it was the Altemps family to be elected lords of Gallese and to take on the conversion of the fortress into a Ducal Palace.  

During the 19th century and following the dominion of the Altemps, the dukedom passed onto the Hardouin family. Maria Hardouin, only wife of the famous poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, hailed from this very lineage. 

 

Ceramics and traditions

During the 20th century, the town of Gallese was engaged in the general industrial growth of the surrounding area. The industrial zone surrounding the town counts several ceramic firms, as this is one of the most typical productions of the Agro Falisco.

One of the most peculiar traditions of the town is the cult of San Famiano, a saint hailing from the city of Cologne, who died in Gallese in 1150. He later became patron saint of the town, and it is to him that the great basilica is consecrated.

The main and most characteristic festivity celebrated in Gallese is also dedicated to San Famiano, and on such occasion both the typical “bengalata” and the so-called “procession of the spinsters” (processione delle zitelle) take place.  

 

Why not experience a journey through time, retracing the steps of history by visiting the town of Gallese? Come and discover the Agro Falisco!

Where is Gallese

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