The old city walls of Praeneste

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The medieval church dedicated to St. Mary of the Angels, which overlooked the square named after it, was bombed and destroyed, as the most part of the town-center, by the American attack during the Second World War.

Going downhill towards Porta del Sole (The Sun Gate), on the right, portions of the defensive walls of the old city are visible, nowadays incorporated in house-façades.
The construction was obtained stacking vertically large polygonal blocks of limestone without using mortar. The city walls could then reach 6 mt high and were supplied with towers, large doors and smaller passages. The circuit of the walls enclosed the ancient acropolis of Praeneste – today’s Castel San Pietro village – and from here it run down the hill enclosing the entire town including the sanctuary of Fortune on the top. The first phase of the walls, exceptionally preserved, is still visible in the upper part of the town and in Castel San Pietro as well.
The construction dates back to the 6th-5th century B.C., even if some parts, like the one in the square, are related to a renovation dating to the 3rd century B.C.

The modern via Anicia corresponds to a very old path; entering the street, on the right side, two more phases of the defensive walls are still visible: squared tuff blocks belonged probably to a square defensive tower related to a gate dating back to the Republican Age; the stoneworks in Opus Incertum (small limestones and mortar), nowadays incorporated in a building façade, were perhaps part of a tower built between the 2nd and 1st century B.C.
Walking through via Anicia one reaches piazza Regina Margherita that corresponds to the ancient Forum.

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