|Ciociaria Travel Guide|
|Modern Ciociaria, whose main town is Frosinone, can be said to be descended directly from Latium adiectum. The heart of this territory is an ample, almost endless valley stretching from Rome to the river Liri.This province has a mixed economy with four large industrial sites, ample plain lands with a prosperous agriculture and a developing tourism industry.|
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BRIEF HISTORY OF CIOCIARIA
Modern Ciociaria, whose main town is Frosinone, can be said to be descended directly from Latium adiectum. The heart of this territory, an ample, almost endless valley stretching from Rome to the river Liri, was in some areas so fertile and generous that the Ernici and the Volscians fought fiercely for it, until the supremacy of Rome put an end to these internal fights.
After Costantine, Southern Latium was divided in two parts: Campagna, the hinterland, and Marittima, the coastal side reaching as far as Terracina. This lasted through the centuries and many foreign peoples attempted to conquer it.
Today, this province has a mixed economy with four large industrial sites, ample plain lands with a prosperous agriculture and a developing tourism industry.
So a visit to Ciociaria can largely meet various needs with its archaeological parks showing the different phases of the Ernici, Volscian and Roman civilazations; with its medieval boroughs enclosed within towered surrounding walls; with its majestic churches and abbeys, a mark of the strong spiritual links that stretch back to the beginning of Christianity as well as the works of contemporary civilization.
As a century-old geographical bridge across Rome and Naples, Ciociaria has witnessed the passage and the settlement of many populations, who marked its territory with civil and religious works, as tangible evidence of their civilizations.
The closeness of these two big sites brought here well-known artists who worked in the churches, in the monasteries and by the rich nobles, who were often related to emperors, popes and scholars.
It is not possible to mention all of them here, but we must remember some of those Ciociarian personalities who contributed with their works to write an important chapter of the history of mankind.
From the past we recall Caius Marius, Cicero, Marcus, Vipsanio Agrippa, Pescennio Negro, Juvenal, Saturnino Lucius Apuleius. Marcus Attilio Regolo; in the Middle Ages stood out Silverio and Ormisda, two popes from Frosinone, the four popes of Anagni (Innocent III, Gregory IX, Alexander IV, Boniface VIII), St Thomas Aquinas and the painter Antonio d'Alatri, a follower of Gentile da Fabriano; in the Renaissance there are scholars, poets and painters such as Giovanni Sulpicio, Cardinal Cesare Baronio and Giuseppe Cesari, better-known as the Cavalier d'Arpino; finally in contemporary times there are the sculptors Ernesto Biondi, Umberto Mastroianni and Tommaso Gismondi, the film director Anton Giulio and Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, the actors Vittorio de Sica, Nino Manfredi, Marcello Mastroianni, the musicians Severino Gazzelloni and Licinio Refice, the scenographer Antonio Valente and the painter Alberto Bragaglia.
Mention also goes to all the Ciociarians who emigrated abroad and with their constant and hard work achieved very important positions and goals. One of them is Charles Forte, who was created a baronet from Queen Elisabeth.
Some forms of handicraft, though not practised anymore, are still part of the extraordinary historical, cultural and social heritage of Ciociaria.
Bell forging, for example, even if almost disappeared, is worth mentioning because for almost 5 centuries Veroli was the hometown of the very popular artists specialized in this art.
We must also recall the craftsmen of rudimentary music instruments, such as the fife and the pipe, traditionally used by Ciociarian shepherds, mainly around Villa latina and Acquafondata.
Today these instruments are considered as typical of Christmas times, because they are played along the streets at this time of the year by 'zampognari' in the typical Ciociarian dress.
In the past every craftsman had his workshop to carry out his activity and handed down his experience to young apprentices who 'learned the craft'.
Blacksmiths, carpenters, cobblers and marble-workers, perhaps not so artists as today, made what was necessary to meet the neeed of the community; their objects were not certainly perishable as the ones produced today by the large distribution. Things were meant to last. And this was the reason why there always was someone ready to 'repair' something that was broken. Those times are not very far, times when some craftsmen, perhaps never considered as being prestigious, helped the household to make ends meet by repairing umbrellas, plates, glasses and anything that could be saved.
Today it is almost impossible to find a 'knife-grinder' who with ability and decterity would again sharpen the blades of knives and scissors. Today craftsmen, too, have had to adjust their activity to the parameters of consumerism. If once a cobbler used to hand make the shoes for the whole family, today one turns to this invaluable and rarer artisan only for repairings. But the hand-made objects of bygone days, even though sometimes roughly finished, distinguished themselves for their peculiarity.
We invite you to use the menù on the right top of this page to know more about artistic, natural and historical treasures of Ciociaria .... have a good trip!
Texts and photos courtesy of A.P.T. di Frosinone
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