Anguillara Sabazia rests on the shore of Lake Bracciano, only 30 kilometers north of Rome but a placid world away. This fascinating town got the name from an ancient Roman villa called "Angularia", as it used to sit where the shore makes a right angle. The local history of the town is tied to the Anguillara family for centuries. The Anguillara's owned a number of buildings in Rome, too so that they did not live year-round at the lake. The locals apparently didn't love them because of their arrogance and underhanded activities. According to a legend, the family used to send brigands to rob and plunder merchants and pilgrims at the crossroads to Rome.
The family kept the feudal holding until 1488. It was sold to Gentil Virginio Orsini d'Aragona. In 1693, the town passed from the Orsini's to the Grillo family rule, when debts forced the Orsini to give both Trevignano Romano and Anguillara to that family, and Anguillara passed to Francesco Grillo dè Mari, duke of Mondragone.
During the last decades Anguillara has flourished as a tourist destination and weekend getaway for Romans. The lakefront promenade hosts lots of holiday villas and many people have bought charming houses downtown, while it has also become popular with commuting Romans (who buy the newer condos near the train stations).
The lakeshore features a pleasant path along it, a dock for ferries to Bracciano and Trevignano Romano, and cafes, restaurants and shops. The old town sits up above, accessed through a gateway, with a main street that leads to the top and the church, with overlooks and pretty views. Just inside the gate is a piazza with a fountain and a great panorama over the lake, appropriately called the belvedere (meaning beautiful view). The view and the town were featured in the American TV show, Everybody Loves Raymond. Across the piazza is the 16th-century Palazzo Baronale, that now holds the town hall, with restored frescoes. Behind the Palazzo stand the bastions of the Medieval Tower, nowadays seat of Museo della Civiltà Contadina e della Cultura Popolare. The Church dell'Assunta, bears a painting of "Madonna col Bambino" and another of "Assunzione" by Muziano along with gilding and angels.
The lower part of the town holds the Church of St Biagio, patron saint of the city. Not far from the the historical centre is the Church of St Francesco, dating back to the 15th century, which exhibits a number of notable frescoes and the Church of Trinità. Close to Anguillara are the ruins of Roman villas, the "Mura di Santo Stefano" and "Muracci di Sant'Andrea".
Anguillara Sabazia is really a charming town, and in nice weather there is fresh-water swimming, canoeing, or fishing. In summer, ferries go to the other towns, so you can enjoy a glimpse of those, as well. There are restaurants and pizzerias with lake fish, Roman-style specialties, and more, plus gelaterias and lake front bars for a drink with a view.
Have a quick look at some of the events:
- June – Corpus Domini, Infiorata
- June – Anguillara Produce
- June/July – Fish Festival
- August – Estate Insieme
- September – Festa di Settembre (September Party), the popular "Palio dei Rioni", and many other collateral events to mark the cultural vocation of a lovely.
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