Town in the province of Rome, located in the Castelli Romani, Ariccia, according to the Latin poet Ovid, was founded by Hippolytus, the son of the first king of Athens, Theseus, who sheltered in the Lazio region, near to Lake Nemi on the hills of Albani, after being accused of incest with his mother Phaedra, while another version, however, attests that the city was founded by some Sicilians, led by a certain Archiloco.
Ariccia certainly predates the founding of Rome, having been one of the most important exponents of the Latin League. The territories, subject to Rome in the IV century BC, soon became a popular residential area for the Roman community, unique for its geographical position, halfway between two volcanic lakes: Lake Albano and Lake Nemi. In 312 B.C. its territory was crossed by the Via Appia, on which the Romans established a "mansion" (coach station). The city shared the same fate of Rome, which began slowly and inexorably to the decline in conjunction with the "Sack of Rome", by the Visigoths under Alaric. The rebirth of the city coincides with its assignment to the Savelli family in 1473, who started the reconstruction with the building of a Baronial palace. In the XVII century the fief was acquired by the Chigi family, who entrusted to Bernini and other famous architects of the time, to the redesign of the urban plan of the city. Between the XVIII and XIX centuries, Ariccia was a preferred destination of artists and writers of northern Europe, that used to stay at the Locanda Martorelli, one of stops along the famous "Grand Tour" . In 1854 Pope Pius IX undertook the monumental construction of the viaduct with three tiers of arches.
Sites of Interest:
- the archaeological remains of the Roman "Aricia", including a stretch of defensive walls, dating from the V century B.C. and two Roman villas unearthed in the early XX century;
- Palazzo Chigi, originally built in the XVI century by the Savelli family, was transformed into a Baroque residence by the Chigi family, using a project of the genius Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The building boasts a large collection of paintings, sculptures and furniture, mostly dating from the XVII century, and exhibits from other family dwellings, including the Roman Palace of Rome, sold to the State in 1918. Today it is owned by the municipality and is seat of the Civic Museum;
- Locanda Martorelli, also owned by the Town Hall, was an important stage of the Grand Tour of Northern European artists and writers;
- the former College of St. Nicholas, today seat of the Town Hall;
- the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini; deliberately inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, was described as a "paradigmatic example of Baroque architecture". The stucco decorations of the dome are an artwork of Antonio Raggi. Inside it features works by Jacques Cortois (known as the Burgundian), Raffaele Vanni, Louis and Giacinto Gimignani, Bernardino Mei and Alessandro Mattia of the Farnese Family;
- the Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Galloro, one of the most popular Marian shrines in the region, built to honor a miraculous image of Our Lady. The current appearance of the building is the result of a project of the Bernini, who designed the façade;
- the Church of San Nicola di Bari, designed by Luigi Bernini, brother of the famous Gian Lorenzo, is now desecrated and houses a theater.