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Rocca di Papa

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Title: Rocca di Papa  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 1960 Summer Olympics, Rudy La Scala, Chiara Lubich, Monte Cavo, Grottaferrata
Collection: 1960 Summer Olympic Venues, Castelli Romani, Cities and Towns in Lazio, Olympic Equestrian Venues
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Rocca di Papa

Rocca di Papa
Comune di Rocca di Papa
View of Rocca di Papa.
View of Rocca di Papa.
Coat of arms of Rocca di Papa
Coat of arms
Rocca di Papa is located in Italy
Rocca di Papa
Rocca di Papa
Location of Rocca di Papa in Italy
Country Italy
Region Lazio
Province Rome
Frazioni Pratoni del Vivaro
 • Mayor Pasquale Boccia
 • Total 40 km2 (20 sq mi)
Elevation 680 m (2,230 ft)
Population (August 31, 2014)
 • Total 16,804
 • Density 420/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Roccheggiani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 00040
Dialing code 06
Patron saint St. Charles Borromeo
Saint day November 4
Website Official website
Convent of Palazzola.

Rocca di Papa is a small town and comune in the province of Rome, Lazio, Italy. It is one of the Castelli Romani about 25 kilometres (16 mi) southeast of Rome on the Alban Hills. It is close to the other communes of Velletri, Rocca Priora, Monte Compatri, Grottaferrata, Albano and Marino. It is the center of the Regional Park known as the "Parco Regionale dei Castelli Romani".


  • History 1
  • Main sights 2
  • Economy 3
  • Culture 4
    • Festivals 4.1
    • Geophysical Museum 4.2
    • The astronomic observatory 4.3
  • Sports 5
  • Transport 6
  • Famous people 7
  • Twin cities 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Documents from 12th century name Rocca di Papa as Castrum Rocce de Papa ("Rock Castle of the Pope"), because Pope Eugene III lived there. In 1541 Pier Luigi Farnese, with French troops, destroyed the castle. In 1855 the people proclaimed the "Rocca di Papa Republic" against prince Colonna and the Papal States government. In 1889 the "Royal Geodynamic Observatory" was built on the top of Rocca di Papa, near the little Church of the Crucified. Between 1922 and 1935 the scientist Guglielmo Marconi carried out several experiments from this building in radio-transmission, wireless transmission and broadcasting.

In 1944, during World War II, Rocca di Papa was bombed. The Center of the city was destroyed. Thirty four people died in that air strike and 35 died in a second air strike on 25 May. The city was liberated from the Nazi German occupation on 4 June 1944 by the 85th Infantry Division.

Main sights

  • Papal Fortress, known since medieval times but restored in the current form during the reign of Pope Paul III.
  • Santuario Madonna del Tufo
  • Chiesa del Crocefisso
  • Church of the Assunta, built in the 18th century. It is dedicated to the Assumption, and was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1806 in larger size.
  • Fontana della Barcaccia
  • Quartiere dei Bavaresi, built by Bavarian militiamen left here by Emperor Louis IV in 1328.
  • Via Sacra (The Sacred Way of Monte Cavo).
  • Convent of Palazzolo, located on top of a rock dominating the east shore of Lake Albano. The old Roman buildings (on the site on which some scholars place the ancient Albalonga) was turned into monasteries and a church dedicated to St Mary of Palatiolo. In the orchard of the convent is a sepulchral monument of the 2nd century BC with a staircase pyramid. Currently, the Abbey and the church belong to the English College.


The economy of Rocca di Papa is mostly based on tourism and agriculture, the latter dominated by wine and vine production.



The most important festival held in Rocca di Papa is the Roast Chestnut Festival (3rd week-end of October), in which it is possible to eat the roast chestnut (the "Rocchicianelle") with wines of Castelli Romani pouring out by stands in the streets of the town.

Geophysical Museum

The Geophysical Museum shows scientific data about the inside of the Earth. It has preservation tools and scientific documents of the geology, geography and terrestrial physics of the Earth.

The astronomic observatory

The astronomic observatory "Franco Fuligni", located in the frazione of Vivaro, is a public structure, available for whoever (skygazings, curious, mateur astronomers, groups and students) is interested in astronomy.

First funicular of Rocca di Papa, station of "Valle Oscura".


There is the Federal Equestrian Centre of C.O.N.I. – Pratoni del Vivaro. It is situated on a knoll in the center of the communal farm of "Domatore". Since 1960, when the equipment for the horse-riding events was installed for the Olympic Games, it has been the center of equestrian championships and a meeting place for horse-riders. The equipment has been improved and enlarged to form an adequate spot for the preparation of the best horse-riders, offering an excellent track with every kind of difficulty and obstacle.


The funicular of Rocca di Papa was inaugurated in 1906: it connected "Valle Oscura" to "Silvio Spaventa avenue." It worked thanks to a system of communicating large cases, with the movement furnished by the counterweights of the same ones moved by the water every time, regulated according to the number of passengers. Dismantled the previous one, an electric funicular was inaugurated on 28 June 1932, connecting the station of "Valle Vergine" with Queen Margherita Square (later, Republic Square); it remained in service until 1962. A new funicolar will be activated in later 2014, thanks to a institutional allocations of funds.

Rocca di Papa was also connected to Rome by the Castelli Romani tramway, dismantled in the 1960s and replaced by a bus service. Direct road connection to Rome is provided by the SS511 Anagnina State Road and by the Via dei Laghi (former SS217 State Road). The nearest railway station is that of Frascati.

Famous people

Twin cities


  • 1960 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. p. 81.

External links

  • Official site Geophysical Museum
  • Official site Astronomic observatory
  • Official site of Palazzola-Venerable English College

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