Comune di Velletri

Panorama of Velletri

Coat of arms

Velletri within the Metropolitan City of Rome

Location of Velletri in Italy

Coordinates: IT 41°41′12″N 12°46′39″E / 41.68667°N 12.77750°E / 41.68667; 12.77750Coordinates: IT 41°41′12″N 12°46′39″E / 41.68667°N 12.77750°E / 41.68667; 12.77750
Country Italy
Region Latium
Province / Metropolitan city Rome (RM)
  Mayor Fausto Servadio (Democratic Party)
  Total 113 km2 (44 sq mi)
Elevation 332 m (1,089 ft)
Population (31 December 2011)[1]
  Total 53,829
  Density 480/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Veliterni
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 00049
Dialing code 06
Patron saint Saint Clement
Saint day November 23
Website Official website

Velletri ([velˈleːtri]; Latin: Velitrae[2]) is an Italian comune in the Metropolitan City of Rome, on the Alban Hills, in Lazio, central Italy. Neighbouring communes are Rocca di Papa, Lariano, Cisterna di Latina, Artena, Aprilia, Nemi, Genzano di Roma, Lanuvio. Its motto is: Est mihi libertas papalis et imperialis.

Velletri was an ancient city of the Volsci tribe, and its status was influential in the time of King Ancus Marcius, enough to be on a par with Rome. It has been the site of two historical battles, in 1744 and 1849. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the few “free cities” in Lazio and central Italy.

Today, Velletri is home to a circuit court and a prison, in addition to several colleges and high schools. It is the terminus of the Rome-Velletri railway, inaugurated by Pius IX in 1863, and is one of the centers which the Via Appia Nuova (modern Appian Way) passes through.

Physical geography


The territory of Velletri stretches between two distinct areas. The northern part is situated on the southern foothills of the Colli Albani range and was geologically formed about 150,000 years ago, after the collapse of the Volcano Laziale (caldera). The southern boundary forms around Agro Pontino, whose reclamation started at the time of Pope Pius VI and was accomplished during the regime of Benito Mussolini.

According to the classification given by the Geological Survey of Italy,[3] much of the territory consists of ground-type LPS, or paleosols, the rest is mainly composed of soils lp, lapilli, argillificate, Mafic, and leucite analcimizzata.

Mount Artemisio overshadows Velletri

The Seismic classification of Velletri's territory is Zone 2 (medium-high seismicity)[4]


The territory of Velletri collects water runoff from many streams. These streams, most of them torrential in character or a small scale, are known as fossi. Main fossi include:

Other water sources include the Acqua de Ferrari, at 650 metres (2,130 feet), underlying Monte de Ferrari (886 metres (2,907 feet) above sea level) at Rocca di Papa, from which is part of the municipal water supply.[5]


The old town's altitude is substantially uniform from the elevation of Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi at 339 m above sea level, the square of the Trivium at 332 metres (1,089 feet) above sea level, and Napoletana at 329 metres (1,079 feet) above sea level. The area west of the walled city is a bit higher at San Lorenzo reaching 372 m (1,220 ft) above sea level. The remainder of the territory to the south and west is basically flat except for small hills that do not exceed 300 m (984 ft) above sea level.[5]


The climate of Velletri is mild, due to the Tyrrhenian Sea being not far, and to the protection offered to the town by the Alban Hills and Mount Artemisio in the north. The climate is very rainy, with an annual average of 1,400 to 1,500 mm (55 to 59 in) precipitation, making it the rainiest city of Lazio and the second in Italy. Humid currents from the southwest facing the Mont Artemisio condense all the rain on Velletri, leaving clouds restricted to the northern side of the Colli Albani. It snows rarely.[6]


The Latin term for "swamp" was Velia, corresponding to the Greek "ουελια" ( "Velia"). From this root came the place name Velestrom, the place next to a swamp or marsh, was probably used by Volsci to call old Velletri [14]. The Romans named it after the same city Velitrae, hence the Greek Ουελιτραι ("Ouelitrai"), Ουελιτρα ("Ouelitra") or Βελιτρα ("Belitra").[7]

In the Middle Ages, at least six naming variants (Velletrum, Veletrum, Veletra, Velitrum, Bellitro, Villitria) are attested by various official acts until the 11th century. Until the 18th century, Velletri survived as parallel forms of Blitri and Belitri.[7]



The Athena of Velletri, found in a villa near the town.

King Ancus Marcius of Rome came into conflict with the Volsci due to border violations by the Volsci. Ancus Marcius felt compelled to enter the territory and besiege Velitrae, which came to terms with Rome signing an alliance. Under this alliance, Velitrae citizens at the time of Tarquinius Priscus, gained immediate recognition of Roman citizenship and political rights.[8]

In 494 BC, the Roman consul Aulus Verginius Tricostus Caeliomontanus marched into Volscian territory with three Roman legions to meet the Volsci who had taken up arms. After defeating the Volsci, he captured the town of Velitrae, and shortly afterwards a Roman colony was planted there.[9] Rome sent additional colonists there in 492 BC to strengthen the border with the Volsci.[10]

In 443 BC, however, the Volscians of the Roman colony Velitrae rallied together against Rome, attracting hostility from tribunes Cincinnatus and Spurio Papirius that, defeated the Veliterni in 381 BC. In 379 BC, Marcus Furius Camillus and in 377 BC Cincinnatus stormed Velitrae again and by 365 BC the Romans had conquered Velitrae.

With the loss of political freedom, Velitrae began to decay without protective walls and isolated from the major routes of communication – Via Appia was routed to Lanuvio – and was colonized pursuant to Gaius Gracchus’ Lex Sempronia. During the Roman period, patricians built several villas in it. The city had also several temples and an amphitheatre. The family (gens) Octavia, to which the first Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus belonged, came from Velitrae, and the future emperor spent his youth there.[11]


Velletri began to decline after it was sacked by Alaric the Goth in 410 CE. In the 5th century, it was the seat of a bishopric and, in the following century, it became an imperial city after the Byzantine reconquest of Italy. The first information on Velletri in the Middle Ages is dated 465 by Adeodato, bishop of the city. Between the 5th and 6th century, the Veliterna diocese became increasingly important. In 592, Pope Gregory I brings together in Velletri the Diocese of Tres Tabernae.[12]

In the 10th century, Velletri fell under the rule of the Counts of Tusculum in 981. Moreover, the entire area of the Alban Hills and Monti Prenestini was dominated by the Counts of Tusculum, including the fortress of Lariano next to Velletri. In 1084, Robert Guiscard marched against Rome and passed through Velletri, meeting resistance from residents, who were rewarded by the Pope in 1101, with a Breve that gave very broad boundaries of the Veliterna community.[13]

In the 13th century, Velletri was administered in the form of a republic. It was governed by the Great Council, composed of consuls, who were replaced by a council of novemviri (nine men), a mayor, with supervisory functions, a constable, to act as military leaders, and a mayor for judicial duties.

Pope Alexander IV (1254–1261), former bishop of Velletri, ordered during his pontificate to bring the relics of Velletri holy martyrs Pontian and Eleuterio to be preserved in the crypt beneath the cathedral. In 1342, Nicola Caetani besieged Velletri, however, the city resisted until the arrival of reinforcements from Rome. For this help, the city had to undergo the appointment of a mayor appointed by Rome. This kind of vassalage lasted until 1374 when, following an agreement the Podestà would be elected every six months, the first four times the choice would be directly ratified by the Romans. In 1353 the Trivium Tower was opened, a symbol of the city of Velletri.[13]

Triumph of Charles III at the Battle of Velletri by Francesco Solimena. Oil on canvas, 1744.

In 1408, Ladislaus of Naples, during his attempt to conquer the Papal States, occupied Velletri. In 1434, during the struggle against the Colonna and Savelli families, Pope Eugene IV razed the castle of Lariano with the assistance of 800 Velletrani soldiers, and the land of Castellana was granted to Velletri, remaining merged to Velletri until 1967. On April 21, 1482 during the Salt War of Pope Sixtus IV and Ferdinand of Aragon, with 500 Velletrani soldiers, among which 250 are considered among the best Italian archers fought with the papal army of Roberto Malatesta in the Battle of Campomorto in a marshy area next to the territory Velletri, now in the town of Aprilia. The victory went to the Pope and the Velletrani were rewarded for their faithfulness by the Holy See.[13]


In 1512, Velletri was still a free city, the city government being administered by the Priory, which had replaced for the novemviri. In November 1526, a Velletrano contingent sent by Pope Clement VII contributed to raze the castle of Marino, a fiefdom of the Colonna, at the time enemies of the Pope and allies of Spain. Following this, Ascanio Colonna, lord of Marino, sacked Rome of May 7, 1527, the Pope was imprisoned in (Castel Sant'Angelo), forcing the to on of Velletri to provide 15,000 crowns in municipal lands, in addition to 12,600 crowns with payment by installments, and more than 6,000 rubbia lime and 15,000 tiles to repair the damage done to Marino. In addition, Colonna's mercenaries took up lots in Velletri. In 1589, Pope Sixtus V dissolved the civilian government, but Pope Gregory XIV, in 1591, ordered the reunification of the two powers (papal and civilian), thus sealing the definitive end of the free municipality.

In the War of the Austrian Succession, troops of the Spanish-Nepolitan Bourbons won the Battle of Velletri, fought against Austrian Habsburgs in Velletri and its surroundings.

After the French Revolution, Velletri rebelled and it was proclaimed a Republic. Later, it changed sides and 900 of its citizens resisted in Castel Gandolfo the siege by Joachim Murat. The Republic lasted until 1814.[13] Garibaldi won at Velletri a battle with the Bourbon Neapolitan forces, but the victory was short-lived as the Roman Republic was soon afterwards overwhelmed by the French, Velletri being also engulfed.

In 1856, the telegraph arrived in Velletri and, in 1866, Pius IX opened the Roma-Velletri railway, the third rail of the Papal States and one of the first in Italy. This helped the growth of the town, even after the transition to the Kingdom of Italy.[14]

In 1913, the Tramvie dei Castelli Romani arrived at Velletri, connecting the city directly to Rome and other Castelli Romani until 1953. In 1927, the fascist regime instituted the National Grape and Wine Festival, which is celebrated today in October. During the Second World War, after the Anglo-American landing at Anzio (22 January 1944), Velletri was at the center of the conflict in the last days of May 1944. Situated between the Gustav Line at Cassino, the Hitler Line in Pontecorvo, the Germans then created a third line of fortifications, called the Caesar Line, which stretched between Torvaianica, Lanuvio, Velletri, Artena, and Valmontone. At Velletri was stationed the First Division paratroopers of the Wehrmacht. U.S. General Mark Wayne Clark ordered the May 25 offensive against the Caesar line against strong resistance. The 36th U.S. Infantry Division commanded by General Fred Walker spotted a flaw in the German defenses on Mount Artemisio between Velletri and Valmontone. Between 30 and 31 May 1944, the 142nd and 143rd regiment penetrated through the German defenses at Monte Artemisio, and on the June 1 Velletri fell followed the next day by the towns of Valmontone and on 3 June the towns of Lanuvio and Castelli Romani. Velletri was virtually destroyed by the war as its most important monuments, the Tower of the Trivium at the Palazzo Comunale and Palazzo Ginnetti were never rebuilt. Despite the evacuation order of German military authorities there were civilian casualties.[15]

The rebuilding of Velletri, however, continued despite the break-up in 1967 granting independence to the town of Lariano. The Suburbicarian See of Velletri-Segni was created, new schools and cultural centers were built, the new seat of the Tribunal was established, and were the Cadets Battalion NCO of the Carabinieri, then the Regiment of Cadets Brigadier Marshals, and new prison.

In 2000, the new headquarters of the Augusto Tersenghi Comunale Biblioteca was inaugurated. There was also the opening of the Teatro di Terra (1995) and the reopening of the Ugo Tognazzi Theater and the restoration of the Civic Archaeological Museum and the Diocesan Museum.

On 14 June 2001, Mario Pepe of the Chamber of Deputies presented a bill on the establishment of a province of the Castelli Romani with its capital being Velletri. In the proposal by Pepe, the following municipalities would be part of the province of the Castelli Romani: Albano Laziale, Anzio, Ardea, Ariccia, Artena, Carpineto Romano, Castel Gandolfo, Cave, Colleferro, Colonna, Gavignano, Genazzano, Genzano di Roma, Grottaferrata, Lanuvio, Lariano, Marino, Monte Compatri, Montelanico, Monte Porzio Catone, Nemi, Nettuno, Olevano Romano, Palestrina, Pomezia, Rocca di Papa, Rocca Priora, San Cesareo, San Vito Romano, Valmontone, Velletri, and Zagarolo. On choosing Velletri to be the provincial capital because of the central position that "the role and the strategic importance of Velletri." The financial resources allocated to the province, once established, had been budgeted at 460 million lire. On 23 September 2007, Pope Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Bishop had the title of Velletri-Segni, visited Velletri celebrating a Mass in Piazza San Clemente.[16]

Main sights

Religious architecture

Cathedral of St. Clement

Civic architecture

There are numerous public fountains in Velletri, some of them monumental. They are all served by the city aqueduct, which was built in the 17th century by the engineer Giovanni Fontana. The aqueduct, which was destroyed during the war in the last part of 1744 were reactivated by engineer Girolamo Romani between 1842 and 1845 Among the fountains should be mentioned:

The Fontana di Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi

Military architecture

The Porta Napoletana

Velletri during the Volsca age was surrounded by massive walls, however, they were razed to the ground in 338 BC as a punishment after the final Roman conquest of the city and reduced to the status of agrarian colony. In ancient times, the walls were not rebuilt.[17] In the Middle Ages, the city was surrounded by mighty castle walls, in which it originally opened six ports: Porta Fura, Porta del Pontone, Porta Santa Martina (o Portella), Porta Lucia, Porta Romana, and Porta Napoletana. In the 16th century, the city strengthened the walls by closing certain ports and keeping only three gates: Porta Lucia, Porta Napoletana, and Porta Romana.[18]

Archaeological sites

The Oreste Nardini Civic Archeological Museum of Velletri, contains noteworthy works with material going from protohistoric to the medieval period. The existence of a Roman amphitheatre in Velitrae is attested to by a curve in area adjacent to the Town Hall as well as in an inscription found in the 1565.[19] In 1784, within the framework of the Church of the St. Francis, was found the bronze sheets of Velletri. All the material is preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.

Outside the village, in San Cesareo was identified the site of the Villa degli Ottavi, sub-urban residence of the gens Octavia and Octavian Augustus, and the only Roman villa on Velletri land. Carefully excavated, they have found evidence: a cistern of three naves with the dimensions 15.05 x 13.20m; unique of its kind for the use of pointed arches, and a mosaic; The area currently is private. Another Roman cistern exists in Capanna Murata, and is named Cisterna di Centocolonne. It was discovered in 1982 along the ancient route of the Appian Way.[19]

Natural areas

The main urban green area is the Ginnetti Garden Hall Street Gardens, whose surface was once occupied by Ginnetti Orti (Villa Ginnetti). There are other green areas: Gardens of St. Mary, recently restored, in the provincial suburbs with Neptune, having a skating rink, fountains and a bar and Muratori Park.


Languages and dialects

The official language of Velletri is obviously Italian, while the Veliterno (also called Velletrano) dialect is the most common, and stands in contrast to the neighboring dialects of the Castelli Romani and the Roman dialect because it is more akin to the Ciociaro dialect and Neapolitan dialect. The Veliterno dialect, often incomprehensible to those who do not normally speak Italian, is characterized by a predominance of the vowel "o" and Neapolitan expressions such as "nanny" for a father, "am dead" for dead. The first dictionary of the dialect Velletrano was published in the 1980s.

Institutions, bodies and associations and government services




The main public library in Velletri is the Augusta Tersenghi Biblioteca Comunale that has several book collections assembled by individuals from the 18th century and is an integral part of SBCR (Library System of the Castelli Romani).


In 1999 - 2000, 10,090 children attended schools of all levels in the territory of Velletri:[20]

Primary schools
Velletri Military school for carabinieri

The first schools for children in Velletri have very ancient roots. An Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools was founded in 1836 and disbanded in 1850 due to lack of facilities, a Conservatory in Maids for the education of girls existed since 1690, then joined since 1695 by an institute of the Ursuline Sisters. The two institutions merged in 1713 and existed until the 1870. The Venerini Teachers opened their home in Velletri on May 3, 1744. In 1874 a primary school was opened adjacent to the Royal Normal School.


A College of the Society of Jesus was founded in Velletri from the Papal Bull of Pope Pius IX, Quod Divina Sapientia on April 7, 1851. A Royal Normal School was established at Velletri by Royal Decree of September 23, 1872 and conceived as an institution to fulfill the need to better provide training of good teachers for primary schools, in the province of Rome. In 1891 the school was named after Clemente Cardinali (1789–1839), archaeologist and intellectual Velletri.

Antonio Mancinelli Falconi-Dante Institute of Higher Education is the result of the union between various educational institutions, and offers courses in language, socio-psycho-pedagogical school and high school social sciences.

Giancarlo Vallauri Istituto Tecnico Industriale Statale is a technical school founded in 1960 as a branch of the Enrico Fermi Institute of Rome. It became autonomous in 1968, has since seen had over 6000 graduates. Today, it has 50 classes and a thousand pupils. It offers courses in science technology.

The Istituto Tecnico Commerciale Statale Professionale Cesare Battisti school is an institution rather rooted in Velletri with courses in hospitality.

The J. Romani Institute of Higher Education (in Via Luigi Novelli) is an art school. There is also the Agrarian Institute in Via Ferruccio Parri.


The University of Velletri from 1150 consisted of a theoretical institution under the Suburbicarian see of Ostia, together with the Diocese of Velletri. Since the depopulation of Ostia, the university was shifted to Velletri, where since 1817 held humanities courses that ended.

Velletri currently is home to the University of Tuscia Faculty of Agriculture in Viterbo.




Since 1976, the radio network Radio Delta Stereo Velletri is on frequency 103.3. Radio Mania is also a radio station that broadcasts on frequency 88.2.


Velletri Cultural Center

At Velletri, the paid subscription newspapers are: New Castle Today (with drafting in Piazza Cairoli) and Il Messaggero. The various free local newspapers are: Free News, The Voice of the Castle, and Cape Point.


Velletri has a well established film tradition. In addition to several studios in the city in the early 20th century, at least one movie theater has always existed in the city. Right at the beginning of 1900, establishments in the city were born film Helios Film. The first movie released by these plants was, in 1911 under the title Dante's The Inferno, was filmed entirely in the countryside in Velletri and at the Lake Giulianello.


In Velletri, the Lazio regional TV, with the daily news (Tg Velletri Lazio), are located.


Velletri has three theaters. These include the Ugo Tognazzi Theater and the Theater of the Earth.


Since the 19th century, Velletri hosts a Philharmonic Concert, on the Palazzo Comunale.


Anthropogenic geography

Velletri Corso della Repubblica

Velletri since the medieval period has been divided into five decarcìe (singular decarcìa) areas equivalent to the districts. The name decarcia is plausibly linked to the Greek δεκα (deka, "ten") and αρχια (Arkia, "power"), then "power of ten." Currently, however decarcie are six in number. The decarcie are as follows:[21]



Via Appia in Velletri

The primary production in Velletri is wine and trade in products of the surrounding agriculture region. In 1851, the wine production of the area was around 14,000 barrels, marketed mainly to Rome. The territory of Velletri produces the following DOC wines:

At the end of the 19th century, the Velletri Experimental Winery was opened by the University of Tuscia.

Velletri DOC

The Italian wine DOC of Velletri produces red and white wines from grapes that are limited to a harvest yield of 16 tonnes/ha. The reds are blends of 30-50% Montepulciano, 30-45% Sangiovese, at least 15% Cesanese and no more than 10% of a mix of Bombino nero, Merlot and Ciliegiolo. The whites are blends of up to 70% Malvasia, up to 30% of a mix of Trebbiano, Verdeca and Giallo, and up to 10% of a mix of Bellone and Bonvino.[22]


Velletri was one of the stops on the Grand Tour d'Italie: a mandatory stop between Rome and Naples, which attracts many travelers to its museum collections and its natural beauty and architecture.


The Stadio Comunale Giovanni Scavo, has a capacity of about 5,000 spectators and hosts its soccer team. The Stadio Comunale B is a smaller field of (105x60 m) fitted with a single platform with a capacity of about 500 people, and practice field for other teams that are playing in Velletri and lower categories.

The sports hall host the cities basketball and volleyball teams, which opened in December 2008, and is located in San Biagio. The hall, with a capacity of for over 2000 spectators, is used for the major domestic competitions, and named after Spartaco Bandinelli, a decorated Olympic boxer.

The multipurpose gym assumed the role of the Sport Palace for many years and today remains a major polo sport facility where games are also held for volleyball and basketball. The capacity holds about 1,000 spectators.

Notable citizens

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Velletri is twinned with:


  1. ISTAT
  2. Dizionario di ortografia e pronunzia 02 - 11 - 2008
  3. Carta Geologica d'Italia, foglio 150 (Roma), edizione 1967
  4. Anche secondo le categorie sismiche stabilite dal D.M. LL.PP. 1984 e la successiva ordinanza P.C.M. n° 3274 20 marzo 2003 Velletri era in zona sismica 2. Sono nella stessa zone sismica tutti i Colli Albani.
  5. 1 2 Carta Geologica d'Italia, edizione 1967
  6. Ad ogni modo, fuori dai periodi fissati non è consentito usare per più di sei ore giornaliere gli impianti di riscaldamento
  7. 1 2 Antonio Nibby, Analisi storico-topografico-antiquaria della carta de' dintorni di Roma - Velletri, vol. III pp. 439-440, Roma, 1829.
  8. Dionigi d'Alicarnasso, Ῥομαική Ἀρχαῖη, lib. III v. 41.
  9. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:30-31
  10. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:34
  11. Livy, Ab Urbe condita, lib. VI v. 12-13.
  12. Emanuele Lucidi, Memorie storiche dell'antichissimo municipio ora terra dell'Ariccia, e delle sue colonie di Genzano e Nemi, Roma, Tipografia Salomoni, 1786.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Antonio Nibby, Analisi storico-topografico-antiquaria della carta de' dintorni di Roma - Velletri, Roma, 1829.
  14. Antonio Nibby, Analisi storico-topografico-antiquaria della carta de' dintorni di Roma - Velletri, Rome, 1829.
  15. Raimondo Del Nero, La Valle Latina - Storia di un ambiente, Albano Laziale, 1990; Zaccaria Negroni, Marino sotto le bombe, Marino, 1948
  16. Camera dei Deputati - proposta di legge n° 853 XIV legislatura, art. 4 p. 6.
  17. Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica - Velletri, vol. LXXXIX, p. 214.
  18. Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica - Velletri, vol. LXXXIX,
  19. 1 2 Antonio Nibby, Analisi storico-topografico-antiquaria della mappa de' dintorni di Roma - Velletri, vol. III p. 450
  20. Insert ISTAT-Comune di Velletri
  21. Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica - Velletri, vol. LXXXIX p. 413.
  22. P. Saunders Wine Label Language pg 213 Firefly Books 2004 ISBN 1-55297-720-X
  23. "Puteaux - Qu'est-ce que le jumelage?". Mairie de Puteaux [Puteaux Official Website] (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
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