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Museo Diocesano Prenestino di Arte Sacra

Opened in 2005, the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art is located in the south-west wing of the Bishop’s Palace and contains about 600 works, including lots of Pagan and Christian votive offerings.

The beautifully-crafted Altar of Victory, from the II-III century AD, and a wonderful sarcophagus of the same period stand out in the archaeological section; the Christian inscriptions -III and IV century AD- come from the area of the primitive basilica of Sant'Agapito.

One of the most important pieces in the Museum is the Aeolus, attributed to Michelangelo, a sculpture that had been left hidden for a long time and has now been brought back to light in all its glory; equally noteworthy are the painting of a "Veiled Virgin" of the Perugino school and a precious 1588 bust-cum-reliquary, chiselled in silver and gold leaf, which is in the Sala del Tesoro.

Textile art is represented by precious sacred vestments, such as the copes of card. Girolamo Bassi della Rovere circa 1492 and card. Antonio Barberini jr from the XVII century.

Let’s also mention the XVII-century sleeping Child Jesus, the Virgin of Loreto and the Sacred Doll, showing the Virgin as a little child with a dress embroiderd in pure gold.

Caravaggio’s "The Beheading of Sant'Agapito", now back in Palestrina after many years, is also on display in the museum. The work was recognised by Maurizio Marini in1967 as portraying the beheading of San Gennaro, while Maurizio Calvesi thinks the one in the painting is more likely to be Sant'Agapito, the patron saint of Palestrina.

Pietro Tomassi

Address and Contact details:
Palazzo Vescovile, Via Roma 23 - Palestrina
Tel 069534428
Fax 069538116

Opening hours:
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 9,30-12,30; 15,30-18,30

ticket € 4; concessions € 3;

detail of a sculpture named Eolo view of the "Sala Argenti" detail of a painting done by Caravaggio