From Palestrina to Castel San Pietro and the Valle delle Cannuccete

This itinerary starts with a visit to the monuments of Palestrina and then explores the Valle delle Cannuccete (valley), which was awarded the status of Natural Regional Monument in 1955. The Valley, an isolated green area among the rather barren Prenestini mountains, has many water courses which nourish woods of downy oaks, Turkey oaks, hornbeams and maples.

Start from Piazza Regina Margherita (square) with the Cathedral, and follow Corso Pierluigi da Palestrina, then piazza della Liberazione, until you reach via Lecconi where you will see the home of the great musician Pierluigi da Palestrina.
From here take the uphill via del Carmine with the old church of S. Antonio, then via del Tempio and via Barberini, which lead to the entrance of the grandiose sanctuary of the Fortuna Primigenia (Primogenial Fortune). At the end up the uphill road, which offers a beautiful view on the underlying valley, you will find the Archaeological Museum, housed in the Colonna-Barberini Palace and built on the ruins of the votive chapel of the Goddess of Fortune. Go round this ancient building to the right and follow the boundary wall of the palace until you reach a small path which flanks the town’s megalithic walls, then proceed until you reach Castel San Pietro (castle). Go past the castle and descend towards the main road until you reach the church of S. Maria: cross the strada provinciale (by road) and follow an uphill asphalt road until you reach a fork in the road: take the one to the right. The path continues along a ridge which further ahead widens into the Piano delle Cese (plain). From here take a path that crosses a handsome wood, runs halfway up the hill and then goes down to the Valley of the Cannuccete. Follow the path along the valley floor and the aquedcut’s piping until you reach an exceptional downy oak which is at least 700 years old; here the valley path ends.
For the return journey simply retrace your steps to the church of S. Maria where, if you wish, you can shorten the itinerary by taking the asphalt road to Palestrina.

Time 4 hours
Marked itinerary Yes (white-red)
Difficulty Average – Easy

For further information:
Starting point: Palestrina, Piazza Regina Margherita
Information on the Natural Monument of Valle delle Cannuccete tel. +39 069538481, +39 06 9573372
www.parchilazio.it, www.parks.it
S. Ardito, A piedi nel Lazio, vol. 1, Roma 2005

Area
Via Prenestina