Index Museo Civico

Tolfa and Montefiascone have the most sensational positions of all the towns between the Tiber and the sea ? its ruined castle is even higher, on a trachitic pinnacle from which you can see to Kingdom Come.

Wayland K. and Young E. (1990) Nothern Lazio London, John Murray Ltd 

The urban development of Tolfa allows us to trace clearly the various historical and economic phases that have determined the town's expansion. However, information is lacking about who built the most beautiful palaces, and  exactly when. Little is known about the Medieval period and its most important buildings, the Castle, the Baronial Palace, and the church of Sant'Egidio. From the Renaissance period we have an unflattering description by the poet Anibal Caro, who is said to have lived in the Baronial Palace. And we know that Agostino Chigi, the contractor for the alum quarries from 1501 to 1520, built the church of the Sughera, but we do not know where he lived during his stays in Tolfa, or even whether one of the Renaissance palaces was built by him. While awaiting a study of these buildings, as promised by the Norwegian Institute of Rome, or until local researchers find information about these buildings in the archives, we invite you to make a a virtual  tour of Tolfa, illustrated to a large extent by the period postcards collected by the GAR (Archeological Group of Rome).
Arriving in Piazza Vittorio Veneto (generally known as Piazza Nova), one is immediately attracted by the long balcony which looks out over the countryside and from which, on a clear day, one can see Rome and the Appenine mountains. This balcony was built in the 1930s to provide a worthy setting for the  Palazzo Comunale (town hall).        Before beginning our walk along Via Roma, we see on our right the Monumento ai Caduti (war memorial).  The principal  building in Via Roma, at No. XX, is the Palazzo Buttaoni. We continue to Piazza Giacomo Matteotti (Piazza Vecchia) where we set out up Via Frangipane. At No. 12 we find the old Palazzo dei Priori, known now as the Palazzaccio, with the clock tower above it. Following the external walls of medieval Tolfa, we pass under the arch of the Palazzo della Ragione before starting the winding climb to the castle summit. Before arriving there we come to the church of the Madonna della rocca from the steps of which we have a panoramic view of the town. Between the church and the castle there is a path, often overgrown with weeds, which leads to a level area from which, to cite the authors quoted at the beginning, "?one can see to the hereafter". Descending from the castle we find ourselves in front of the Church of Sant'Egidio, and a little further down, is the Church of the Crocefisso. Following down towards the right we find the Via Costa Alta and the Palazzo Celli. From there, back in the Piazza Vecchia, we admire the fountain, and then we set out along Via Annibal Caro.  The buildings of this street were begun towards the end of the 1400s, and it is now lined by Renaissance and baroque palaces. At No. 37 we find the Palazzo Panetti. At No. 61, built on to the facade of the old palace at a later date, there is a tabernacle in baroque style, with an image of the Virgin Mary in it. When we reach the top of the steep part of the street we find the Convento dei Cappuccini on the left, and continuing on along the flat part we arrive at the church of the Madonna della Sughera. Annexed to it is the Convento dei Padri Agostiniani, now the site of the Civic Museum. Descending along Viale Italia brings us back to our point of departure in the Piazza Nova.