11. The Lapidarium

As we leave the Crypt and the Cathedral behind us, we enter the Lapidarium, which is divided into three large spaces. The first is a Cryptoporticus, a long corridor covered by imposing 13th century arches. This first room houses a precious archaeological collection of cippi, inscriptions and plaques dating back to Roman times. While in the three display cabinets we find artefacts which belonged to Onorato Capo and were donated to the Cathedral in the early 20th century. Of particular interest are the ollas, the oil lamps, a rare piglet-shaped rattle, and ex-votos, some of which are shaped as human organs or fruit. None of the objects displayed in this room are directly linked to the history of the Cathedral as they all actually predate its construction.

The following room is the southern arm of the cloisters which houses plaques dating between the 13th and 19th centuries and which came to the Cathedral by various means. The most interesting are, without a doubt, those decorated in Cosmati style, with intricate polychrome inlays in different types of marble, gold and mother-of-pearl. The large north-facing terrace faces onto the Monti Ernici, and underneath it is a large cistern measuring over 14 metres in length, 9 metres in width and over 10 metres in height. The cistern is now always empty and may be visited only on special opening days.

Finally, the last room at the far end houses more Cosmati liturgical furnishings dating back to the 13th century. These were part of the church and include sections of the flooring, a number of slabs decorated with geometric motifs and the remains of altars. Beyond the metal barrier are various marble slabs dating back to the 9th century, decorated with geometric designs, crosses and vegetable motifs. Such style clearly dates back to the old Carolingian cathedral which was on this before the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral was built.

Before you leave the Museum and head back towards the ticket office, we would like to invite you to take a look at the two splendid bronze bells. These were created by Obertino, a foundryman who worked for the Anagni City Hall in the 1240s and then for the St John de Duce Church in the 1250s. Both bells were donated to the Cathedral at the end of the 19th century.

We sincerely hope you enjoyed your visit to this exceptional building, our mother-church, and that you will long carry in your hearts and minds the precious testimonies of ancestors who belonged to an era which, contrary to what is often believed, was full of faith and a love of life.