Friday, 23 January 2009

A Day in the Castelli

This time last week I was in the Castelli, the little towns in the Alban Hills just outside Rome. After a sublime lunch at Monte Porzio (where the English College had a villa up until 1918 - above you can see a view looking down to Rome), I popped into Frascati. The exterior of the Cathedral (below) had been restored since my last visit:

Respects were paid at the site of the original tomb of 'Bonne Prince Charlie' - his young brother, the Cardinal Duke of York, was of course bishop of Frascati between 1761 and 1803. Although the body of 'Charles III' was moved to St Peter's in 1807, his praecordia is still near this monument :

There was also an amazing crib, based on a Piranesi print of the Porto di Ripetta on the Tiber, featuring the Croatian church (San Girolamo degli Schiavoni) and to its right the little chapel of San Gregorio dei Muratori (up until recently the HQ of the Fraternity of St Peter in Rome). This view can no longer be seen due to subsequent town-planning. The actual Nativity Scene was tucked away in the corner, in true Roman style:

It was good to see Cardinal Henry Stuart remembered in a special exhibition at the Scuderie Aldobrandini per l'Arte, rather unimaginatively called La Biblioteca del Cardinale (though the Cardinal's library was only part of the exhibition's focus). It's on until 15 February, in case you're passing through Rome. There were many familiar portraits, many of which I had only seen as illustrations in books, and I was particularly pleased to buy a large, well-illustrated catalogue (anyone interested in the 'Cardinal King' should get a copy).

Before leaving Frascati, I popped over to Cardinal Stuart's former residence of La Rocca. It was here that the last of the Stuarts died on 13 July 1807:

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