The history of two sectors of the Campagna Romana that for a long time were intimately connected with the family of the Maruffi allows an integrated study and valorization of an area near Rome with a particularly rich cultural heritage. The Villa Maruffi at Sassone (Municipality of Ciampino) and the estate ‘Palombaro’ (Municipality of Rome) represent two examples of a wider history of the suburbium of Rome shared with other realities of the suburbium since antiquity. Its history is characterized by the foundation of villae during Republican times that were inhabited and remodelled during Imperial times with financial investments in their pars rustica or residential part. The presence of funerary monuments belonging to the family owners of estates is another common characteristic shared between the grand villae of the suburbium, including those found in the ‘Palombaro Maruffi’. These funerary monuments were no longer maintained as such in the course of late antiquity. Once imperial property had passed in ecclesiastical hands (this is the case with ‘Palombaro’) and any remaining territory in the hands of Roman noble families (as the Colonna in the case of the Villa Maruffi at Sassone) we witness on the estates near the gates of Rome the phenomenon of the re-use of ancient monuments, first the foundations of towers and then the ‘casali’ (large farmhouses) (as in the case of the ‘casale vecchio’ of Palombaro and the `casale’ that was later transformed in the villa al Sassone). In the course of the 17th c. AD, the execution of excavations aimed at the recovery of archaeological objects was added to the agricultural use of the land and exploitation for other natural resources. The excavations formed an additional source of income for owners and renters of terrains. In this phase the search for ancient objects in the area of Sassone, where later the Maruffi appeared, saw other protagonists such as Settimo Del Senno, ‘scalco’ (high positioned housekeeper) of the Colonna. The vineyard of this Settimo Del Senno, where sculptures were excavated for the Colonna collection and from where an inscription is documented referring to Castrimoenium, in fact borders on or maybe even have partially coincided with the terrain around the Villa Maruffi in the 17th c. AD. The striking discoveries of antiquities done in the course of the 18th c. AD, palatable also for the papal collections, appear to have influenced the obstinacy of the Maruffi to transfer the right of emphyteusis on the ‘Palombaro’ when the latter passed over to the Merolli family. In the Sassone casale, restructured into a villa, the Maruffi collected the larger part of the archaeological objects found at various points in time at ‘Palombaro’ and in the area of Sassone. Other related ancient fragments, in particular those objects belonging to the residential and thermal structures around the mausoleum of Gallienus, have remained in the ‘casale vecchio’ of ‘Palombaro’, that was likewise restructured into a residential building and part of the agricultural estate owned by a branch of the Maruffi family.
Calcani, G. (2019). Due casi di studio tra Appia e Latina: i fondi Maruffi alle pendici dei Colli Albani. In ALLE PENDICI DEI COLLI ALBANI. DINAMICHE INSEDIATIVE E CULTURA MATERIALE AI CONFINI CON ROMA (pp.231-237). Groningen : University of Groningen / Groningen Institute of Archaeology & Barkhuis Publishing.