Sabine Mts. PALESTRINA. En»irons of Rome. 371
Castiglione. The lake of Gabii is now dried up. The most important of
the ruins is the stone cella of the famous temple of Juno Gabina. The
Lake Regitlus (also dried up), celebrated for the battle of the Romans
against the Latins, B.C. 496, must have lain in the broad plain between
Gabii and the small town of Colonna (near the Casale di Pantano, it is
thought), which stands on the slope to the right, in the direction of Frascati.
A little nearer the mountains lies the village of Compairi.
The other route to Palestrina, the Via Labicana (p. 348), or road to La-
bicum, at first skirts the railway, and then runs for a short distance parallel
with the Aqua Claudia; after 2 M. the Torre Pignaltara (p. 349) is reached.
The arches of the Aqua Alexandrine!, or aqueduct of Alex-. Severus,
become visible 4i/„ M. from Rome, and 41/2 M. farther is the Osteria del
Finocchio, beyond which lies the above mentioned Casaie di Pantano. Co¬
lonna stands on a height 3 Jf. farther. The road then gradually ascends
to the above-mentioned Osteria di S. Cesareo.
Palestrina, an insignificant, closely built town, with steep and
dirty streets, lies most picturesquely on the hill-side. The traveller
on his arrival should ask a hoy to take him to the Vedova Anna
Bernardini, Via delle Concie 1, an unpretending, hut good inn.
Palestrina, the Praeneste of antiquity, one of the most ancient towns
in Italy, was captured by Camillus, B.C. 380, and was thenceforth subject
to Rome. In the civil wars it was the principal arsenal of the younger
Marius, and after a long siege was taken and destroyed by Sulla, who
afterwards rebuilt it in a magnificent style as a Roman colony. Under
the emperors it was a favourite resort of the Romans on account of its
refreshing atmosphere, and is extolled by Horace (Carm. iii, 4, 221 to¬
gether with Tibur and Raise. A celebrated Temple of Fortune and an
Oracle ('sortes Prsenestinaj', Cic. Div. ii, 41) attracted numerous visitors.
In the middle ages Palestrina was long the source of sanguinary conflicts
between the powerful Colonnas and the popes, the result of which was
the total destruction of the town in 1436. The territory was purchased
in 1630 by the Barberini, who are still proprietors of the soil. — The
great composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, who died at Rome as
director of the choir of St. Peter's in 1594, was born here in 1524.
The town stands almost entirely on the ruins of the temple of
Fortuna, which rose on vast terraces, surrounded by a semicircular
colonnade, and occupied the site of the Palazzo Barberini. On
entering the town we observe the lowest of these terraces, con¬
structed of brick. The precise plan of the ancient building cannot
now be ascertained. The arcades with four Corinthian half-columns
in the piazza near the cathedral, now converted into a wine-cellar,
appear to have belonged to the second terrace. The Grottini, as the
interior of these foundations is called, may be examined in the
Barberini garden (in the Corso), hut more conveniently in autumn
than in spring, when they are often filled with water. The garden
contains statues and inscriptions. — From the Corso we ascend in
about 10 min. to the Palazzo Barberini, which rests almost entirely
on these ancient substructions, and deserves a visit (fee '/2-l fr.).
It contains a large antique Mosaic, probably executed in the reign
of Domitian, representing landscapes of the Nile, with numerous animals
and figures in Egyptian and Greek costumes. This relic was found near
the cathedral. The burial chapel of the palace contains the sketch of a
Pieta by Michael Angelo.
The ancient * Walls of Palestrina, of which various fragments
are visible, exhibit four different systems of building, from the
Cyclopean mode of heaping huge blocks of stone together, to the