1. The Library
We are now in the Capitulary Library, a remarkable collection of over 1800 volumes dating from between the 15th and 20th centuries. This is the fruit of the dedication of canons who have been collecting and donating the volumes ever since the dawn of print. The collection also comprises exceptional incunabula, or 15th century editions, the very first examples of printed press.
2. The Chapter House
You have now entered the Chapter House. ‘Chapter’ refers to the assembly of canons responsible for a given church, so called as during their meetings canons would read a chapter of their Rule (if part of the monastic orders) or a passage from the Sacred Scriptures.
3. The New Sacristy
The New Sacristy is a small room in which you will find vestments dating from the 17th to 20th centuries and other exquisite sacred objects such as chalices, pyxes, patens and monstrances. Of particular interest are the two ampoules in green glass and precious metal, which originally belonged to Pope Paul V, and a wood and mother-of-pearl reliquary cross. Furthermore, a number of reliquaries are displayed in the central cabinet, among which is a breathtaking silver bust of the Virgin containing the relics of her cloak. In the same display cabinet there is an interesting painting of the Flagellation of Christ dating from the early 18th century and the funeral mask of Saint Oliva, once found in the large reliquary in Room 2.
4. The Sacristies
The Sacristies were created in the 1800s by enclosing a cloister-facing portico, an adjustment which is noticeable if you look out beyond the windows. These rooms feature a series of wardrobes and wood-panelled walls of exquisite manufacturing made here, in the region of Lazio. These date from the early 20th century and are characterised by plain moulding, straight lines and a purposeful simplicity, free of any unnecessary decoration.
5. The Ancient Treasure
The majority of the items exhibited in this room are part of a donation made by Pope Boniface VIII, which is meticulously recorded in a precious manuscript on display in the Chapter House. Pope Boniface is considered both the last of Medieval popes and the first of the Modern Era. He was the last of a series of popes who regularly lived in the city.
6. Our Saviour’s Chapel
It is said that Our Saviour’s Chapel was built by order of Bishop Peter of Salerno only after the Cathedral was completed. It was then consecrated by him to St Salvatore and St Benedict. The chapel was, from the offset, used for private celebrations by the Bishop of Anagni. Furthermore, it was initially connected to the church by means of a staircase accessible from the presbytery. This is evident if you look at the infill on the medieval wall in front of the current entrance.