Museo Diocesano Prenestino

Di ARTE SACRA / diocese of palestrina

Inside the seventeenth century episcopal palace,
the “Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra” offers an exhibitional route arrayed in fourteen rooms:
a fascinating itinerary through the precious artistic heritage of the diocesan territory.

| The History of the Museum and of the Edifice

The Museo diocesano prenestino di arte sacra was opened to the public in May of 2005 and is located in a section of the Bishop’s House, a XVII century building. Originally seat of the first diocesan seminary, instituted in 1669 by cardinal Antonio Barberini Jr., since 1759 the building is the Bishop’s residence and accommodates, as well as the Museum of sacred art, the historical Archive and the diocesan Library and the Curia offices.

In the fourteen rooms arrayed on two floors after long work of restoration and preparation, a place was found for gold and silver, sculptures, an archeological section as well as another one dedicated to epigraphs, the collection of sacred vestments, paintings, ex-voto, wooden and bronze furnishings, documents from the historical Archive, among which there are papal bills, pastoral letters and parchment scrolls, along with the most precious antique books of the diocesan Library.

 The valuable works that are kept in the museum are numerous. Since 2008 the picture gallery is embellished by the painting attributed to Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio Decapitazione di san Gennaro, property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto, Ministero degli Interni. The painting was identified by professor Maurizio Marini in 1965 in the Carmelite Fathers’ Convent of Saint Anthony the Abbot in Palestrina; moved to the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica of Rome it underwent studies and restorations, one of which in 2007 under the direction of Claudia Tempesta.  The open question of attribution involves Caravaggio’s followers, Battistello Caracciolo, in particular.

In collaboration with the cultural institutes Archive and Library and with the diocesan offices, in particular the catechesis Office and the social communications Office, the Museum moves in the panorama of the didactic initiatives on the territory, seeking to be a sign of cultural promotion.

The care, the development and the promotion of the diocesan heritage, even through the website and the social networks, are among the diocesan Museum’s principal goals, that carries out a constant work of study on the exposed works and their relationship with the territory along with an important action of restoration and conservation, thanks also to the funds of 8 x mille for the Catholic Church.

The diocesan Museum is part of the Sistema museale dei castelli romani e prenestini Museumgrandtour, the network of museums that includes 25 cultural realities at the time between museums and archeological areas.

Planning your
Free Visit

The Diocesan Museum is accessible for free.

Via Roma, 23 – 00036 Palestrina (Rm)

Only for Lent 2023
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
9.30-12.30 and 15.30-18.30




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