Terracina nel Medioevo

La cattedrale e la città

Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi
(Terracina, 9-10 febbraio 2018)

a cura di Maria Teresa Gigliozzi e Mariella Nuzzo
Collana: I libri di Viella. Arte
Pubblicazione: Settembre 2020
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Edizione cartacea
pp. 296+32 ill. col., 21x29,7 cm, bross.
ISBN: 9788833132303
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Le novità emerse dai restauri condotti nella cattedrale nell’ultimo decennio e i dati forniti dalle recenti ricerche hanno portato in maggior luce la storia medievale di Terracina, centro di confine e crocevia nevralgico nel quale si ripercuotono le principali vicende del papato e delle famiglie romane, in rapporto con il potente cenobio cassinese e con il Regno meridionale.

La prima parte di questo volume è incentrata sulla cattedrale di S. Cesareo, la cui articolata storia costruttiva e artistica presenta interessanti snodi critici, mentre la seconda è dedicata al contesto urbano, attraverso lo sviluppo di temi storici e lo studio del patrimonio artistico e architettonico.

Alla ricchezza degli argomenti corrisponde anche l’apertura metodologica interdisciplinare e condivisa. I saggi qui pubblicati rappresentano il risultato di un appassionato e costante confronto, di un lavoro sinergico orientato a rafforzare la conoscenza del Medioevo a Terracina e insieme la coscienza del valore della ricerca.

In copertina: Charles Percier, Façade principale de la co-cathédrale Saint-Césaire de Terracine et plan de l’édifice, album “Croquis faits hors des murs de Rome et aux environs, sur la route de Naples” vers 1786-1792, Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Institut de France, ms. 1009, fol. 114, nr. 216 [1790]. © RMN-Grand Palais (Institut de France) / Mathieu Rabeau.

Le fasi edilizie del Capitolium romano e del primo impianto cristiano
Pietro Longo

The Roman temple, remained to dominate the space of the Forum Emiliano following his transformation into building for christian worship, the building puts topographic, architectural, building, historical and attributive, these difficult moments understanding if you want to tackle them limited to the study of the individual building, but always with due caution in interpretation, could be partly solved through a series of 360-degrees comparisons with similar circumstances of the Roman and early medieval period. Through the analysis of what survived, in terms of architectural, whether in the field of literary-epigraphic documentation, is available in this seat one, certainly not exhaustive, but at least pay proposal for subsequent studies. New motifs of investigation are therefore proposed, with an architectural reconstruction also based on mathematical elements.


Dalla nuvola di punti alla pietra. Per una lettura della cattedrale di Terracina attraverso il rilievo laser scanner
Corrado Alvaro, Valeria Danesi, Enrico Pizzoli

This work presents the results of the architectural survey, performed with the Leica P20 terrestrial scanner, in the cathedral of St Cesareo in Terracina, thanks to the collaboration between the Department of Classics and the Department of History, Anthropology, Religions, Art and Spectacle of Sapienza University in Rome. The interaction of experts in various disciplines (History of Art, Archaeology, Architecture) with the use of this technology made possible a new and detailed documentation of the building, and allowed us to investigate with more data some of the critical issues addressed by scholars in the past years, such as the relationship between the various construction phases, the presence of the Roman temple and the constructive relationship between the portico and the bell tower.


“Punti di vista”: il riesame del portico della cattedrale di Terracina attraverso gli inediti disegni di Charles Percier (1764-1838) e i restauri degli anni Venti del Novecento
Maria Teresa Gigliozzi

The leitmotif of this essay is the triumphal arch, with its central opening within the Ionic colonnade of the portico. The architectural element is a clear symbolic reference to ancient Rome. Starting from this evidence and in the light of the latest investigations, I outline here a chronological and semantic re-examination of the portico. The dating is to be ‘framed’ between the eighties of the 12th century and the early 13th century. In this period the history of Terracina is tied up with the authoritarian dominion of the Frangipani, an eminent aristocratic lineage of Rome, closely linked to the papacy. That they were among the protagonists of the construction of the portico is not to be excluded nor that the work was conceived following the III Lateran Council of 1179 and on the occasion of the solemn peace agreement that the Frangipani signed with the Terracinesi in 1185. The iconographic themes expressed in the mosaic frieze and in the sculptures can well be connected to this event. The theme of the triumphal arch continues to be at the centre of twentieth-century restoration work, of which unpublished materiali is here presented. Also unpublished is the group of drawings dedicated to the cathedral that the French architect Charles Percier created during his stay in Terracina in 1790. This is material of great interest, and not only for the portico, of which it philologically reconstructs the image of the triumphal arch, but as absolute evidence of Percier’s pioneering interest in medieval architecture.


Periferia e/o centro? Il portico della cattedrale di Terracina visto da Roma
Peter Cornelius Claussen

The current research about the portico of the cathedral of Terracina is characterized by two well-founded but contradictory opinions about its date of origin – differing in their conclusions about a century (1140 or 1240). This raises questions of priority, dependency (centre and perifery) and the level of artistic aspirations. The architectural ornamentation of the porch in Terracina (cornice of the architrave and capitals) is in any case a culmination of the skill and knowledge of antiquity by the medieval Marmorari, explainable only by the special ambition of the participating artists and the employer to surpass with their work not only the contemporary but also the ancient Rome.


Ancora sulle epigrafi del portico della cattedrale di S. Cesareo a Terracina
Carlo Tedeschi

In a paper published in 2016, the analysis of the inscriptions related to the mosaic lead to a new interpretation and chronological definition of the porch of the Terracina cathedral: rather than a mid-13th century building, as supposed until now, the paper suggested a date as early as the mid-12th century. This new article goes back to the reasons of that proposal and reflects on the possibility of a shift to the last quarter of the 12th century, in agreement not only with the results of the palaeographic analysis of the inscriptions, but also with the content of an archival document in which one of the characters depicted in the mosaic is mentioned.


Il mosaico dimezzato. Il fregio del portico della cattedrale di Terracina tra conservato e perduto
Davide Angelucci

The medieval portico of Terracina cathedral, whose dating ranges between the 12th and 13th century according to the various proposals promoted by art historians in recent decades, has been the subject of numerous publications. Various interpretative hypotheses have been advanced in the investigations on the figures and the symbolic elements, leading critics to propose an exegesis in an eschatological-apocalyptic key in which the Salvation of man is achieved through the defense of the Church and fighting the forces of evil. This paper intends both to offer new elements of reflection on some iconography of the preserved mosaic and to re-examine the question concerning the portion of the lost mosaic that was on the left lintel. In light of the discovery of an unpublished 18th-century document in the archive of the chapter of Sezze cathedral, it is now possible to clarify the iconographic subject of the lost mosaic definitively, as well as retrace the causes and the moment of its loss.


L’arredo liturgico altomedievale della cattedrale di Terracina nel contesto della scultura carolingia di Roma e del Patrimonium Sancti Petri
Fabio Betti

Terracina preserves numerous pieces of early medieval sculpture dating back to the early Carolingian age when the city become an integral part of the Patrimonium Sancti Petri. The reliefs formed part of the liturgical furniture of the cathedral and other churches in the Old Town and suburban sanctuaries. They belonged to the presbytery enclosure that separated the space allocated to the believers from the area designated for the presbytery. The materials consist of fragments of small pillars, slabs, frames, trabeations and small capitals. The decorative repertoire includes geometric motifs with interlaced ribbon in different combinations and stylized vegetal pattern. The stylistic and iconographic analysis of the reliefs has revealed strong similarities with the contemporary sculptural production of the city of Rome.


Mutuazioni, sincretismo e interculturalità in Marittima. Lo spazio sacro e gli arredi liturgici della cattedrale di Terracina
Manuela Gianandrea, Ruggero Longo

This paper deals with the medieval liturgical furnishings and the opus sectile marble pavements of the cathedral in Terracina, South of Rome. The work, carried on in deep synergy between the two authors, aims to analyze these materials in a holistic way, conceiving them as components constituting the sacred space of the church, thus in full relation with the liturgical context and the architectural buildings, including the portico on the Eastern side of the church, identified as an important phase of the late 12th-early 13th century. A detailed study of the artefacts from a technical and material point of view, as well as a re-reading of the textual sources, are the necessary arguments for the analysis of the individual artworks and the understanding of the medieval sacred space as a whole. The archaeological and stylistic investigation allows attaining a conscious perspective of the historical and political position of Terracina as a border territory of cultural syncretism and visual exchanges between Central and South of Italy in the Middle Ages.


La cassa lignea di Terracina tra Riforma e crociata
Gaetano Curzi

The cypress chest found at the end of the 19th century in the cathedral of Terracina is an object of difficult localization and dating. In this study, analyzing the iconographic program and the style of the reliefs, the author proposes that it was a reliquary-chest, made between the end of the 11th century and the first half of the 12th century in Southern Lazio or Campania. It would therefore be a work carried out in the context of the reconstruction of the cathedral, promoted by Desiderius with the consecration in 1074 and continued in the following decades, but always related to the complex figurative culture developed in Montecassino at the time of the Gregorian Reform and the first Crusades.


Le testimonianze pittoriche rinvenute nella cappella dell’Addolorata della cattedrale di Terracina e la diffusione del linguaggio cavalliniano nel Lazio meridionale
Alessandro Tomei

During the first three decades of the 14th century Pietro Cavallini’s style was widely spread in the Southern Latium. Several followers were strongly influenced by the novelties of his painting, especially by the frescoes he executed in the church of S. Maria Donnaregina Vecchia in Naples. The Angevine capital became soon a centre of irradiation of the new style, as we can see in the curches of S. Giovanni a Mare at Gaeta and S. Nicola at San Vittore del Lazio. The frescoes recently discovered in the cathedral of Terracina during the restorations directed by Mariella Nuzzo constitute another important proof of the influence of the master’s style in those territories.


Le Madonne di Terracina e di Priverno: tracce della Napoli angioina nel basso Lazio
Pierluigi Leone de Castris

The Cathedral of Terracina hosts in one of its chapels a rare fourteenth-century painting on wood: rare both in the fact that it consists of a two-sided painting, a Madonna with a child enthroned on one side and a Redeemer on the other, and also for its figurative culture, not so much explicable – as proposed in the past – within a local dimension, but rather oriented towards the South, towards the court culture of the Angevin Naples.

The possibility of a close study of the painting and the comparison with the other and little studied Madonna called “di Mezzagosto” in the Cathedral of Priverno, also considered ancient and miraculous and dated in the eleventh or instead in the fifteenth century, allows to refer both to the great Neapolitan painter Roberto d’Oderisio, active for the angevin court of Roberto, Giovanna I and Carlo III of Durazzo, to date them during the third quarter of the fourteenth century and to enhance them as the most important traces of a phenomenon of artistic and cultural “neapolitanization” of a wide part of southern Latium, a territory subject for many years to the power, influence and protection of the king of Naples Roberto d’Angiò.


Montecassino e Terracina. Presenza benedettina e assetti politico-religiosi nella città tra VI e XII secolo
Clemente Ciammaruconi

The connection between Montecassino Abbey and the town of Terracina is documented in the Dialogi by Gregorio Magno, in which Saint Benedict is said to have created a monastery northeast of the town, which came to be known as S. Stefano de montanis. After being abandoned and neglected, this settlement was recovered during the second half of the 10th century by the Montecassino monks who keeping in mind their founder St Benedict, succeeded in exerting a little leverage on the Pope so as to play an important role in an area of ever-growing strategic relevance, situated as it was between the Patrimonium beati Petri and the Dukedom of Gaeta. The interest Montecassino started to display for the town of Terracina grew considerably and reached its climax during the 11th century when Alexander II entrusted the town to the abbot Desiderio while the Bishop’s throne was continually bestowed to monks who came from the Benedictine Abbey. This choice strengthened the political role of the city as it made it an influential and powerful element in favour of the reforming papacy, as proved by the election of Pope Urban II which took place on 12th March 1088 in the Cathedral of S. Cesareo, renovated not long before.


Vescovi e città a Terracina nei secoli XII-XIII
Maria Teresa Caciorgna

Terracina was a frontier town on the border between the Patrimonium Sancti Petri and Sourthern Kingdom, and so were its church and diocese. This reason prompted the popes to take special care of the town and its cathedral – S. Cesareo. In this essay the main aspects of diocesan life in the 12th and 13th century are illustrated. The enlargement of the diocese in the second half of the 11th century is first discussed, together with the union of the dioceses of Sezze and Priverno and the establishment of a vicedominus, coadjutor of the bishop in the diocesan churches. The relationship between bishops and secular clergy is then analysed: Benedectin and then Cistercian religious orders had an important function in managing the pastoral service within churches and monasteries. Florians, Franciscans, and Dominicans were added later, and they had a great impact on local society. Bishops were active in promoting the building of churches and hospitals in peripheral areas and the surrounding countryside, with the aim of increasing population and livability of isolated places; pastoral care was also scrupulously managed: the establishment of a fraterna clericorum and the reception of different laymen as oblates constitute concrete features of the cura animarum. Aiming at the maintenance of common life, bishops also made patrimonial grants to the canons as early as the end of the 12th century, creating two separate mensae – for bishop and canons respectively. Throughout the 12th and early 13th century bishops were elected within the cathedral chapter, but later popes like Boniface VIII intervened on such election.


Materiali da costruzione, tecniche edilizie e siti di approvvigionamento a Terracina nel Medioevo. Alcune osservazioni
Daniela Esposito, Susanna Passigli

Analyzing both the constructive techniques of medieval Terracina and the written documentation, some reflections about materials, including their supplying and the manner of working them, emerge. The most used material is limestone. The existing masonries in XII-XIV Terracina show some peculiar characteristics: the pattern is made by shaped stones, cut in small or big elements; the connection among the leaves wall and the inner core is realized by fitted or, more frequently, concrete or pressed infill, in laid in almost regular layers. We also wondered where the building material came from. The construction stones were obtained from ancient buildings and, moreover, various types of local stone came from the quarries of the surrounding area. The masons chose the most suitable material according its use. A document, written on 11 April 1451, allows us to obtain some hints to extend the study to the territory surrounding Terracina


La Traversa a Terracina. Stratigrafia ed epigrafia per la conoscenza di un presidio urbano
Christian Barbisan, Giacomo D’Andrea, Pio Francesco Pistilli, Flavia Ricci,

“Rocca Traversa” or simply “Traversa”, as documented in the Middle Ages, was built after 1153 by the will of Pope Eugene III. Two epigraphs still in situ inform with an identical text on its construction, aimed at using a triangular bastion of the late ancient walls of Terracina (5th-6th century). However, the epigraphic text hides the recipients of the operation: the Frangipane. In fact, the relationship between the Frangipane and the “Traversa” crosses the second half of the 12th century and the tower progressively rises as a symbol of their dominion over Terracina, so much so that it was destroyed in 1202 before returning under papal control in 1207. At the same time, the monument shows also a functional transformation from tower into urban garrison. The authors of the contribution focused on the origins of the “Traversa”, both from a historical point of view (through the textual analysis of the two epigraphs), as well as an archaeological and urbanistic point of view, in order to give an exhaustive picture of the oldest baronial settlement wich survived in Southern Lazio.


In monte excelso. Tracce medievali nel Sant’Angeletto, sul promontorio di Terracina
Antonino Tranchina

The so-called ‘Piccolo Tempio’ of the Terracina promontory, which was part of a Roman Republican period sanctuary, was used as site for Christian worship since the early Middle Ages. Wall-plaster carrying painted decoration is still detectable, though in very poor condition, in the inner ambulacrum and belongs to two successive strata, each displaying figurative decoration.

Aim of the article is to discuss the iconography of the Christian themes displayed in the second-phase layer. Firstly, comparanda from early-medieval Rome and Southern Italy shall be provided, to stress the paintings’ early chronology (8th-9th century). Secondly, their overall meaning shall be scrutinized, to show the subject’s consistency with coeval events, theological trends and local actors.


Il complesso del lebbrosario di S. Maria Maddalena
Davide Angelucci, Giulia Bordi, Rosario Malizia

There are some Roman structures, the so-called Baths of Neptune, few meters from the famous Pesco Montano passage, very close to both the Port and via Appia, on the town boundaries. They are still visible on the ground floor of the Salvini’s Villa, partly reused in the Middle Ages as chapel and infirmary of a Leper hospital dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. The primary known reference concerning the leprosarium must be the mention in Odda Mancarella’s will (1236), where there’s no indication on the belonging of the hospital. Secondly, there’s evidence that the management of the leprosarium was in the care of a begging friars’ order, probably Franciscans. Moreover, in the mid 14th century the management appeared neither continuous nor uniform, but by turns, with administrators belonging to both the secular and the regular clergy; among these, in 1349 the Cistercians of Fossanova are highlighted as the first monastic order certainly linked to our leprosarium. In 1353 the leprosarium became relevant, since it went under the protection of Pope Innocent VI. Further records are in the late 14th century, with the involvement of the Magdalene complex in the events regarding the Western Schism. The architectural ensemble is composed by a barrel-vaulted room, the chapel, and two large vaulted rooms, the infirmary, previously used as a cistern for the rainwater collection. Actually only the wall-paintings, in bad conditions of conservation, testify the use as a sacred space of these rooms between 12th and 14th centuries. A careful survey of wall-paintings still visible in the chapel allowed to identify: on the northern wall a picture with Christ, or Virgin Mary, on the throne among male and female saints and an anonymous female donor, on the eastern wall a cycle of St Marina/Margaret of Antioch and a votive panel with three female saints. This is the most ancient wall-painted decoration preserved in a Medieval Leper hospital in Italy and Europe, dated to the last quarter of the 12th century. An accurate review of the paintings allowed us to examine in detail some unpublished elements that permitted us to redefine stylistic and iconographic aspects and, therefore, a chronological overview.


La chiesa dell’Annunziata
Marco D’Attanasio

The church of the Annunziata, in the neighbourhood of Borgomarino, is one of the less known church in Terracina because of the lack of documents, especially of medieval age. The medieval architectural plan of the church was very simple: a single nave covered with a timber roof truss and a square choir covered by a rib vault. This plan is very similar to the church of St Antonio abbot in Priverno where there is a portal with a decorated architrave dated 1336 signed by Toballo de Janni; this architrave presents a lot of affinities with that of the portal of the church of the Annunziata that is signed by Andreas de Piperno, and it allows to suppose that the church of Terracina was built in the second quarter of the 14th century. Some fragmentary frescoes of the late gothic period have survived in the church. In the left wall of the nave there is a Virgin Annunciate and an head of an angel, in the rib vault of the choir there are a symbol of the Evangelist and a Doctor of the Church in each panel, two representation of Cardinal Virtues - Fortitude and probably the Justice – and a rare iconography of the Mulier amicta Sole.


Medioevo terracinese. Il santuario di S. Silviano
Alessandra Acconci

The sanctuary of S. Silviano, located halfway up the hill of Monte Leano, is one of the most important and oldest religious buildings of the Terracina territory, characterized by a continuity of life documented from the archaic age to the Middle Ages, when the church of the monastery took the name of S. Silviano. During the 10th-11th centuries the prosperity of the monastery shows the large spread of the cult of Silviano in the territory of Gaeta and Terracina. It was celebrated in the round chapel, structurally connected to the apse of the church. In the late Middle Ages, the decoration of the Chapel was made in two different chronological phases. The fresco paintings of the saints Rufina, Cesareo and Eleuterio are datable to the seventh-eighth decade of the 13th century, similar to the style of Roberto di Oderisio. The portrait of the Silviano within the recess of the chapel appears stylistically comparable to the style of Giovanni da Gaeta and datable to the fifties-sixties of the 15th century. The mural painting belongs to the second decorative phase (fifth or sixth decade of the 15th century).


Il santuario della Madonna della Delibera a Terracina. Dall’edicola rupestre al revival del Medioevo: Virginio Monti e Michele Ridolfi
Mariella Nuzzo

The sanctuary of the Madonna della Delibera is located in the valley north-west of the city centre of Terracina. The devotion to the Virgin on this side is determined by the erection of a rural aedicule on which a church was build. This church was demolished at the end of the 19th century when was build a new larger sanctuary (1896) on a design by the architect Filippo Liberati. The reference date for the construction of the aedicule is 1417, shown in the inscription below the lunette, depicting the Virgin Enthroned with the Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Cesarius, bearing the names of the donors, represented in the lower register. The nineteenth-century sanctuary is decorated, on the initiative of Count Agostino Antonelli, by Virginio Monti (1852-1942), protagonist of the Roman art scene between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the following century. The stylistic register, in line with the numerous pictorial enterprises started during the pontificate of Leo XIII, mediates the recovery of the iconographic and technical tradition of the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance with a graceful decorativism of liberty flavor. The result is a peculiar style in which the recovery of tradition takes on a nostalgic connotation in line with a loyal sentiment towards the papal power. Particular interest is the presence in the Sanctuary of a panel with the Virgin with the Child among Saints signed by Michele Ridolfi (Lucca 1795-1854). He was a painter, restorer and art theorist, whose language reflects the link between the artist and the Nazarene painters’ brotherhood.

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