to get there:
This itinerary covers all the places that formed a backdrop to the works of the poet Quinto Orazio Flacco, known as Horace, from 33 B.C. onwards, during his stay in the Sabina. This pleasant itinerary can be followed independently by foot or by car, and the Office of Tourism and Culture of the Comune of Vacone (tel. 0746-676833) periodically organises guided tours. It should take one day at the most.
Biography of Horace
Horace was one of the greatest lyric poets of ancient Roman times. Born in Venosa in 65 B.C. he attended the best schools in Rome and Athens.
His economic situation, which worsened when his father's assets were confiscated, forced Horace to accept a modest job. During this time he started writing the first Satires and Epodi, which got him noticed in literary circles and led to the friendship of Virgil and of Mecenate, who, in 33 B.C., gave him a villa in Sabina where the poet could retire. In the years following he composed the Odes and the Epistole. He died in 8 A.D., just a few days after the death of Mecenate.
Horace was an elegant poet of refined expression. He also introduced many lyric metres and neologisms into Latin poetry, enriching it and bringing it to higher levels.
to the Horace Itinerary
The itinerary winds through the places that can be traced as having a link to the poetry of Horace. In 1771 Cardinal Bartolomeo Piazza meticulously described these places, taking into account the opinions of his predecessors.
1) It begins at the famous villa given to the poet by Mecenate in 33 B.C. The remains visible today consist of some massive crypto-porticos, mosaics, floors in opus spigatum, a ninfeo, phallic symbols, walls in opus latericium and opus incertum, plasterwork and several structures used in the day-to-day running of the villa. From here there is a marvellous view over the valleys of Sabina.
2) From the villa you move on to the celebrated Bandusia Fountain. On the eve of the Fontanalia, a feast that fell on the 13 October, Varrone describes the throwing of garlands into springs and the crowning of wells. In his Ode, Horace promises libations of wine, crowns of flowers, and the sacrifice of a goat:
Bandusia spring, clear as crystal,
how Soratte looms
4) Behind the village, beneath
the medieval walls of the castle, the inhabitants still celebrate a re-evocation
of the feast of the goddess Vacuna (Sacra
From here you can see the summit of the mountain, and you can see clearly what Horace himself described as "the valleys and smooth rocks of the dry slopes".
|5) The itinerary ends at the Pago, the mysterious sacred wood that is also mentioned by Pliny. This place represents something deep and ancestral for all the inhabitants of Vacone, and is still the scene of celebrations for the whole community.|
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