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San Pietro Apostolo al Castello di Lunghezza is a 16th century chapel which belongs to the mediaeval Castello di Lunghezza with a postal address at Via della Tenuta del Cavaliere 230 in the old settlement of Lunghezza. This is in the zone of the same name.

The dedication is to St Peter.

Beware of confusion with Santa Restituta al Casale del Cavaliere, which is nearby.

History Edit

The locality is first recorded in 752, when it belonged to the abbey of Farfa. An identification with the ancient town of Collatia is long-standing, but uncertain. Ancient masonry is, however, to be found in the foundations of the present buildings.

The property passed to the abbey of San Paolo fuori le Mura by 960, when apparently it was a fortified monastery in its own right. However, there were no monks here by 1242 when the Conti di Poli took the tenancy. This family allied with the Colonna in a famous feud with the Orsini, but the abbey kept the freehold during a period of violent dispute over possession. It only finally sold on the property in 1480 to Alfonsina Orsini. She married Piero di Lorenzo de' Medici (Il Fatuo) in 1487, and so the estate ended up as part of the dowry of Clarice de' Medici when she married Filippo Strozzi in 1508.

The castle would have had a chapel before this. However, the present chapel dates from the time that the complex was converted into a luxurious country villa by the Strozzi in the 16th century. It would have been the place of worship for the small rural community at Lunghezza as well as for the castle.

The last descendent of the family to own the castle sold it to the famous Swedish psychiatrist Axel Munthe in 1881, who ran it as an asylum and a convalescent home until the Second World War.

The locality was anciently part of the diocese of Frascati, but was transferred to that of Rome in a boundary review in 1939. The chapel has the same dedication as the cathedral of the former.

The castle served as a base for the German Army, and was left semi-derelict afterwards. Substantial suburban growth of the area only began after the war. In response, the parish of Santissima Trinità a Lunghezza was set up in 1950 and provided with a church in 1952. This replaced the castle chapel.

The castle and its grounds were restored as a hotel and fantasy theme park in the late 20th century. The latter operates as the Fantastico Mondo del Fantastico. However, the chapel does not seem to feature in the complex's publicity despite being still being listed by the Diocese in 2017 as a place of worship.

The writer has not been able to find any evidence of liturgical activity here.

Appearance Edit

The chapel seems to be a small rectangular edifice with a pitched and tiled roof attached to the right of the main gateway into the castle. This pierces the east range of the complex, and the chapel marks the south end of the north-east wing.

It has a façade facing into the latter's main courtyard, having a round window over a single entrance.

There is a little campanile or bell-cote on the roofline at the south-east corner, next to a mediaeval tower. It is a brick slab with a gable and two round-headed bell apertures, side by side. The bells still seem to be in place.

External links Edit

Castle website

Info.roma web-page (they got the name of the chapel wrong)

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