Grottaferrata & Abbey of San Nilo

Grottaferrata - Abbazia San Nilo - Exterior

Grottaferrata is located on the lower slopes of the Alban Hills in Castelli Romani. The city is renowned for the fascinating Abbey of Santa Maria di Grottaferrata, also known as the Abbey of San Nilo. It is the only Byzantine abbey to have survived on the slopes of the Alban Hills.

Grottaferrata is one of the symbolic villages in Christian history. In fact, the village served as shelter to several popes and important religious people. In 1004, San Nilo da Rossano settled in the village, living in the cave of Saint Agnes of Grottaferrata. After his death, the abbey was built to honor him. Pope Pius II ordered its renovation in 1492 while Pope Pius IX gave the monastery its independence in 1848.

Things to see

Miraculously, Grottaferrata did not get as damaged as the other villages of the Castelli Romani during the Second World War. The abbey can be found in the center of the village where we can admire its bell tower while inside we can be awed by a Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary. This icon was placed in the middle of the masterpiece realized by Bernini.

Grottaferrata also boasts the ruins of a medieval fortress which was first mentioned in 1140. For lovers of the Middle Ages, the village is partially surrounded by ramparts which offer visitors a fantastic setting to take unforgettable pictures. The village is also composed of several villas which in the past belonged to rich aristocrats that came from Rome to take a break from city life.

The Catacombs of Grottaferrata, also knows as the Catacombs Ad Decimum, were an important archeological site. More than 800 tombs along with frescoes and sculpted sarcophagus were found, some dating back to the 5th century. A national archeological museum now exists inside the abbey of San Nilo with some of the items found on the site.

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Grottaferrata & Abbey of San Nilo

Grottaferrata - Abbazia San Nilo - Exterior

Grottaferrata is located on the lower slopes of the Alban Hills in Castelli Romani. The city is renowned for the fascinating Abbey of Santa Maria di Grottaferrata, also known as the Abbey of San Nilo. It is the only Byzantine abbey to have survived on the slopes of the Alban Hills.

Grottaferrata is one of the symbolic villages in Christian history. In fact, the village served as shelter to several popes and important religious people. In 1004, San Nilo da Rossano settled in the village, living in the cave of Saint Agnes of Grottaferrata. After his death, the abbey was built to honor him. Pope Pius II ordered its renovation in 1492 while Pope Pius IX gave the monastery its independence in 1848.

Things to see

Miraculously, Grottaferrata did not get as damaged as the other villages of the Castelli Romani during the Second World War. The abbey can be found in the center of the village where we can admire its bell tower while inside we can be awed by a Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary. This icon was placed in the middle of the masterpiece realized by Bernini.

Grottaferrata also boasts the ruins of a medieval fortress which was first mentioned in 1140. For lovers of the Middle Ages, the village is partially surrounded by ramparts which offer visitors a fantastic setting to take unforgettable pictures. The village is also composed of several villas which in the past belonged to rich aristocrats that came from Rome to take a break from city life.

The Catacombs of Grottaferrata, also knows as the Catacombs Ad Decimum, were an important archeological site. More than 800 tombs along with frescoes and sculpted sarcophagus were found, some dating back to the 5th century. A national archeological museum now exists inside the abbey of San Nilo with some of the items found on the site.

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