|Entrance to Anagni: Porta Santa Maria|
Although I have lived in Italy for 50 years, it was only last week that I had a chance to visit Anagni thanks to a trip organized by the Viterbo archeology club where I often lecture-ArcheoTuscia.
|Apse and Chapel dedicated to St. Thomas Becket|
The main attraction for the group of Viterbesi was to compare their city with Anagni and to have a "gita" (day out) which included a nice lunch.
|high noon at Anagni's Cathedral|
My reason was to finally see Anagni's Cathedral with the 12th century frescoed crypt of San Magno which art historians consider the Sistine Chapel of the Middle Ages.
The frescoes are filled with symbolism and could be studied in detail for several hours. But that does not happen for visits are monitored for all groups, large or small..
|entrance to the lower level crypt|
Each person pays a 4 euro entrance fee to clamber down the dangerously steep stairway and enter the crypt.
|bell tower shadow on the Duomo facade|
While the guide explained the significance of the mysterious frescoes and visitors jostled to get a look, we kept an eye on the time for after 10 minutes the lights are automatically switched off.
|Comatesque floors in upper part of Duomo|
Like the Sistine Chapel in Vatican, it is forbidden to take photos and videos, so a voice shouting “No Foto!” punctuated the visit.
Here is a scan of the crypt's layout which shows how complicated
the fresco cycles are.
How does Anagni compare with our nearby papal town of Viterbo?
|bookshop at Anagni|
Viterbo’s Papal Palace complex has a well stocked bookshop and souvenir stands bursting with books and guides while the only printed material on the crypt is a poorly translated 40 page pamphlet priced at an exorbitant 7 euro.
|profferlo stairway, similar to those in Viterbo|
|a picturesque corner|
The medieval quarter of Viterbo is pedestrians only while a stroll through Anagni means dodging traffic and is best done with a local guide who can explain the town’s complicated history and lead you to the most picturesque corners.
|our guide Luca with wife Antonella|
Our guide Luca Di Cocco did an admirable job and chose an excellent Agriturismo for lunch in a country setting.
|lunch at Agriturismo San Isidoro|