Castel San Pietro Romano and its archaeological heritage.

A reinterpretation of the acropolis of Praeneste and the Cannuccete aqueduct

Volume curated by Andrea Fiasco


The territory of Castel San Pietro Romano, due to its distinctive historical and morphological characteristics, offers interesting opportunities for research and in-depth study. Since its establishment in 2016, the Museo Diffuso has been carrying out a cultural programme aimed at promoting scientific research supported by the always attentive and helpful municipal administration. Over the years, the Museo Diffuso has offered support and promoted numerous initiatives geared towards rediscovering the cultural heritage of the village and its wonders. By sheer coincidence, several of its citizens who have graduated in recent years have chosen to address the architecture and urban spaces of Castel San Pietro Romano as their research topic under the guidance of Professor Daniela Esposito, Professor of Architectural Restoration at La Sapienza University of Rome. In the same period, the Museo Diffuso, in collaboration with the municipality, signed an agreement with the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Tor Vergata to include Castel San Pietro Romano in the research topics of the Restoration Laboratory, directed by Prof. Nicoletta Marconi. This fruitful study experience resulted in an exhibition entitled ‘Castel San Pietro Romano and its Monuments. Design proposals on the architectural heritage: a university contribution’ inaugurated with a conference under the supervision of Dr. Sandra Gatti, where the first results of these investigations were presented.

One cannot address the history of Castel San Pietro Romano without talking about Praeneste, of which it was the arx (citadel), and its polygonal walls. The aforementioned Dr. Gatti is to be credited with having carried out an extensive examination of the fortifications of Praeneste for the first time in an invaluable and organic scientific study of the wall circuit carried out in 2011, which until then had remained substantially in the background of studies on Prenestine antiquities from the Republican era. Like the wall circuit, the important aqueduct of the Cannuccete also profoundly marked the landscape of this area of the Monti Prenestini and the history of the city in the Archaic period. The growing interest on the part of those in the field can only serve to foster the emergence of new insights and up-to-date reinterpretations that provide unexpected viewpoints and stimulate research.

In such a framework of scientific contributions of which Castel San Pietro Romano has been and continues to be the focus, Dr. Andrea Fiasco’s study is a perfect fit. The author embarks on an initial re-reading of the archaeological heritage of the acropolis of Praeneste by providing evidence of a probable cult dedicated to Mars on the acropolis through a careful analysis of the epigraphic evidence. More importantly, he goes on to redefine the strong strategic military value of the acropolis and its walled circuit, which were undoubtedly linked to the prerogatives of this deity. The in-depth study of the aqueduct, which probably originated from a mixture of peoples, is interesting as well. The knowledge and techniques of the Greek populations of the Ionian area converged, like a melting pot, in Latium Vetus at the end of the 6th century B.C., resulting in a considerable development of the Latin populations. The efforts made over the years by the MuDi in agreement with the municipal administration to promote the knowledge and valorisation of the heritage of Castel San Pietro Romano have had tangible effects on the life of the small village, which has been awarded the titles of One of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy (2017) and Most Beautiful Village in the Mediterranean (2019), demonstrating that culture is able to initiate and nurture the processes of rebirth and growth in a territory.

Dr. Roberta Iacono

Director of the Museo Diffuso of Castel San Pietro Romano