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Tour Information Schedule
The town of Palestrina, the museum and the Cathedral.
Tour Code & Name: RO/07 - Palestrina & the Nile mosaic
Duration: 4 hours approximately
Meeting Point and Departure Time: to be agreed
Operating days: all year round
Handicapped Visitors: itinerary very difficult with wheelchair
Transportation: driving and walking tour
Entrance Fees: Ç 3,00
Dress Code: entrance to the Churches requires appropriate attire: covered shoulders, long or short sleeves (no sleeveless arms), long trousers for gentlemen and skirts or trousers, long enough to cover their knees, for ladies.
Tips: meals, public transportation (taxis, metros, buses) and museum or monument entrance fees (indicated on the tour information schedule) are not included and must be paid by the client on the spot. When requested and when it is possible, we may purchase tickets beforehand and we may book a selected restaurant.
Please notice: we may easily adapt our tours to meet your requirements.
Booking: tours should be booked at least 15 days prior to your scheduled arrival. Anyhow you may always send us an e-mail at any time and we will make all the efforts to meet your requirements.
Palestrina, originally an important Etruscan town, named Praeneste, became renowned for its monumental 1st-century B.C. shrine to the goddess Fortuna Primigenia. Practically the entire town is built over and into the ruins of this enormous ancient temple, bits of which can be seen all through it. Unfortunately like many other interesting places of interest around Rome, Palestrina is completely neglected.
Walking up the pretty and sleepy place, through the lovely flower-lined streets and alleys and through the massive walls of the Roman temple we discover that Palestrina is settled on the slopes of a hill originally covered by the temple itself. Just ahead upwards, we reach the museum, situated at the highest point of the town. The Palazzo Colonna-Barberini, formerly forming the sanctuary of the temple, now houses the exceptional Archaeological Museum. This includes Etruscan remains from the area, and Roman tablets, artifacts and statues. However, the star exhibition is the renowned and awe-inspiring Nile Mosaic, which originally was in the heart of the temple complex. It depicts scenic descriptions of the course of the river Nile, meandering through Egyptian landscapes with lions and crocodiles, until it reaches trading sea ports, where Roman merchant ships are awaiting.
Opposite the museum, across a grass lawn, you come to exposed sections of the temple. Above the museum there are footpaths overlooking the town. The circular walk is charming, and the view is spectacular.
Off the central piazza in Palestrina is a hidden jewel; a dark flight of stairs takes you into the open space that was the heart of the temple complex where the Nile Mosaic was found. You can admire the architectural mishmash reflecting thousands of years of building, and a mosaic of fish in a kind of natural cave. Next door is the cathedral, built on one of the most sacred spots of the temple.
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