Rocca Priora: a Terrace over Rome for Inferno by Robazza

A spectacular terrace over Rome is site for the museum dedicated to Master Robazza in Rocca Priora, a town that, from its summit, continues to play a role as guardian of Rome.

You come to Rocca Priora along the ancient Via Latina and you will be enraptured by the beauty of nature, a perfect colour picture, trees, castles and, where you turn to climb the hill, an impressive prancing horse – a large white sculpture created by Maestro Mario Benedetto Robazza.

While being guided by the majestic white horse we start a journey into Rocca Priora. The villa of Master Robazza, his cool retreat in the hot Roman summer, has been transformed into an art gallery: marble blocks are placed in each corner and large colourful canvases occupy all the walls.

Meeting Master Robazza, we find him creating a new work. The energy of his movement emphasizes every muscle in his arm and the expression on his face surprised me: an eighty-year old man with a fighting spirit and enthusiasm of a child !!!!

I listen to him and his history draws me in. It began when he was a “war orphan” that led to a life of hardship that molded him and made him become an international success. Suffering, pain, struggle for survival … as a child his hands fashioned each material to satisfy his creative spirit.

To get a more dignified life he tried small and large projects such as, when a child, molding Tiber River clay to produce small nativity scenes to sell to tourists in Piazza Navona.

At some point he became gemologist in Belgium and his life changed: he finally had the freedom to return to his passion: art. His works are found all over the world and Robazza has given some to Rocca Priora to which he is linked in a special way. Everything stems from a promise to those who had helped him in difficult times and whose help still guide his choices:

If I become somebody I will do something unique for your town.

Today Rocca Priora responds to his generosity with a museum and a splendid Terrace over Rome with a unique view. Horses rampant, marble busts, figures of women, and finally his most impressive and most important work, the Inferno of Dante, will be visible to all.

Inferno is majestic, it has been around the world and came back to rest in Rocca Priora: 18 marble and resin panels that tell the journey of Dante and Virgil through hell.

I like to imagine entire schools coming for the first time enthusiastically to view this work inspired by Dante, active spectators of a journey through hell, challenging the group to “look to the stars”

I could not stay away! This is a great place so when I feel the desire to see it, to touch it, I can do it without traveling a long way.

Meanwhile we revel strolling along the streets admiring the sculptures of Rocca Priora: the Fountain with “Narcissus” which is reflected in the waters, the “Via Crucis” made of bronze and “The Triumph of Good” with its beautiful and curious history.

This work was the “gate” of his villa of Rocca Priora that had been sold in a moment of anger and that today has been transformed into a fountain in the old village.

Photo by Chiara Rufini