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Comune di Zagarolo
Palazzo Rospigliosi
Palazzo Rospigliosi
Coat of arms of Zagarolo
Coat of arms
Zagarolo is located in Italy
Location of Zagarolo in Italy
Country Italy
Region Lazio
Province Rome
Frazioni Valle Martella
 • Mayor Giovanni Paniccia (centrosinistra)
 • Total 28 km2 (11 sq mi)
Elevation 303 m (994 ft)
Population (1 January 2011)[1]
 • Total 17,803
 • Density 640/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Zagarolesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 00039
Website Official website

Zagarolo is a town and comune in the province of Rome, in the region of Lazio of central Italy. It has 17,803 inhabitants and a total area of 28 square kilometres (11 sq mi). It lies 34 kilometres (21 mi) south-east of Rome, and it borders the municipalities of Colonna, Gallicano nel Lazio, Monte Compatri, Palestrina, Rome, San Cesareo (former frazione of Zagarolo). The historical town center of Zagarolo lies on a very narrow tufaceous hill, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) long and about 100 metres (330 ft) wide, at an elevation of 310 metres (1,020 ft), surrounded by green valleys. The south continuation of the important pilgrim route Via Francigena passes through the countryside of Zagarolo.

Zagarolo is an historical town whose origin is said to date back to the 5th century BC, when the ancient city of Gabii, a few kilometers from today's Zagarolo, was founded.[2] The town center is of medieval origin and its current urban plan was developed in the 16th century. Zagarolo is the birthplace of composer Goffredo Petrassi.[3]


  • Main sights 1
    • Outside the town center 1.1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Transport 3
  • Organizations 4
  • Twin towns 5
  • Notes 6
  • External links 7

Main sights

Most of the main attractions of Zagarolo are in the historical town center, which develops around the narrow 1.5-kilometre (0.9 mi) long main street (Via Antonio Fabrini and then Corso Vittorio Emanuele).

  • The Palazzo Rospigliosi, in the city center, occupies the site of an ancient medieval castle, which is first referenced to when Pope Paschal II destroyed Zagarolo in early 12th century after the rebellion of the Colonna family, of which the palace was one of the strongholds. For many centuries it remained under the Colonna influence, and was besieged and destroyed several times due to the rivalry between the papacy and the Colonna family. In the 16th century the Colonnas and the papacy started having peaceful relationships, and Zagarolo became a duchy, hence the Palace became known as Palazzo Ducale. The palace now was used as a residence and two major wings were added to it towards the piazza, frescoes were painted and a hanging garden was built. In 1591 a council of eight cardinals was held in the Palace, with the mission to revise the Bible for a printed edition, among them were Marcantonio Colonna (the cardinal) and Saint Robert Bellarmine. The building is characterized by frescoes painted by manierist artists of 16th century, attributed to Dutch painters, to Antonio Tempesta, and to the Zuccaris (Taddeo Zuccari and Federico Zuccari). Here in 1606 Caravaggio created masterpieces for the Colonna family, in exchange of refuge on his journey towards Naples, between Zagarolo and Paliano he executed the Supper at Emmaus, Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy and perhaps Saint Francis in Prayer. In the Palace also worked Carlo Maratta and Ludovico Gimignani, who died in this palace in 1697. Later the Palace became property of the Pallavicini family, until it was sold to the comune in 1979. When the Rospigliosi acquired the duchy of Zagarolo in 1668, it became property of that family. During World War II the palace was transformed in a German military hospital. Today the Library of Zagarolo and the Toy Museum are inside the palace, and it is used for conventions, exhibitions and other cultural events.[2]
  • Church of St. Lawrence Martyr (1607) (Chiesa di San Lorenzo Martire), located in Piazza del Risorgimento, it is the church dedicated to the patron saint of Zagarolo St. Lawrence of Rome.
  • Convent and Church of St. Mary of the Graces (Santa Maria delle Grazie), located in Piazza Santa Maria
  • Church of St. Annunziata (1580–1582) (Chiesa di Santissima Annunziata), has a peculiar octagonal belltower, and dominates the skyline of Zagarolo.
  • Church of St. Peter (1717–1722) (Duomo di San Pietro Apostolo), a Baroque church built on the site of a more ancient church. It has an elliptical dome 46 meters high.
  • The first gate to be encountered entering the city center from the southeast is Porta Rospigliosi, decorated with bas-reliefs in the 16th century and Roman busts and theatrical masques. The other gate, at the northwest entrance to the city is Porta San Martino, named in honour of Pope Martin V (Oddone Colonna).
  • The Zagarolo Toy Museum, located in Rospigliosi Palace. The Museum offers a social reconstruction of toys and the act of playing in a series of sections that, through a historic excursus, crosses the fundamental periods of the 20th century. The communal council decided to create the museum in 1998. It was inaugurated in 2005 with a positive response from the critics and the public. It holds over 800 examples of Italian and European toys of the 20th century.[4]

Outside the town center

  • The Tondo (as it is called by the local population) is located at the Colle del Pero hill. It is a rare example of an ancient roman Ludus dated to the 1st century AD, a sort of a little amphitheatre used as a gym or training ground for gladiators (see List of Roman amphitheatres).


The town center of Zagarolo lies on a very narrow tufaceous plateau (2 kilometers long and about 100 meters wide) at an elevation of 310 meters, surrounded by two green valleys, "Valle del Formale" and "Valle della Foresta". Most of Zagarolo inhabitants live however in the rolling green hills around town.


Zagarolo has a Mediterranean climate with warm and dry summers and cool and wet winters. Summer is mostly hot and sunny, with temperature that may reach peaks above 37C (100F) for a few days. Summer is dry with occasional thunderstorms. Winter is cold with temperature going often below 0C (32F). Zagarolo typically gets one small snowstorms in the winters. A historic half meter snowstorm hit Zagarolo in 1982, isolating the town for a few days.

Climate data for Zagarolo
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.3
Average low °C (°F) 1.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 74
Source: [5]


1927 postcard of the Zagarolo train station "Stazione Vicinale"

North and south limits of Zagarolo are marked by two important ancient Roman roads that are today still in use, the Via Praenestina on the north and the Via Casilina on the south. Easier access is provided by the A1 motorway and the A24 motorway.

Zagarolo has a main train station, 2 kilometers from the city center, that connects the town to Rome, Ciampino, Frosinone, Caserta and Cassino. Trains for Rome have a frequency between 20 and 60 minutes. The trip to Rome takes about 30 minutes. Zagarolo accesses the Ciampino International Airport via railway and a shuttle from the Ciampino train station to the airport.


  • "Amici di Zagarolo"[6] is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the cultural and folkloristic heritage of the town of Zagarolo, operating since the 1990s.
  • The [7]

Twin towns


  1. ^ "Istat official population estimates". Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b [3] Official site of the town of Zagarolo (in Italian)
  3. ^ Petrassi, Goffredo. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica:
  4. ^ Zagarolo Toy Museum website (Italian)
  5. ^ "Zagarolo historic weather averages in Italy". Intellicast. Retrieved 26 March 2009. 
  6. ^ [4] Official site of the "Amici di Zagarolo" organization (in Italian)
  7. ^ Touro University in Rome: english courses in Zagarolo

External links

  • Official website (Italian)
  • Site of Zagarolo Toy Museum (Italian)
  • Art on the road Festival (Italian)
  • Quick guide of Zagarolo (English)
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