Itri is situated a few kilometres inland, between the nearby towns of Fondi and Formia,

and rests in a valley nestling among the foothills of the Aurunci Mountains.  


The town is divided into three sections, the upper, historic, medieval town, the route of the ancient Via Appia, and the lower sprawling, more contemporary section.

This Roman thoroughfare  runs directly through the town and is a testament to the remarkable organisational and engineering ability of the Romans. Construction of this, the first and most famous of the ancient Roman roads, was commenced in 312 AD by Appius Claudius Caecus.  It was called the "Queen of Roads" (Regina Viarum) and was to be the main means of communication between Rome and the south, first to Capua, and later extended down to Brindisi, with a total length of more than 563 km (350 miles). In effect it was the very first motorway even built. Sections of this road can still be seen, paved with smoothly fitting blocks of hard wearing lava.

Cicero, the Roman orator, writer and statesman, was brutally murdered in 43 BC on the Appian Way. He was apprehended whilst trying to flee from his political enemies, and was beheaded and had his hands severed.  Cicero’s Mausoleum, a 24 metre cylindrical tower, is situated on the Via Appia, on the outskirts of Formia.  

Some illustrations depicting Itri and its Castle in times gone by.

During the era when young British aristocrats and scholars undertook the cultural “Grand Tour” of Italy, a common itinerary would have included Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples.  Thus many great artists and writers would have journeyed along the route of the Via Appia, and Itri may have been a welcoming resting place for weary travellers.  Charles Dickens, when travelling through Itri during the 19th century described the castle in his journal as being “like a device in pastry, built up, almost perpendicularly, on a hill, and approached by long steep flights of steps.”


The dominating castle, dates back to the IX century, when the first stage of the fortress was built in 882 AD by Docibile I and it came under the Dukedom of Gaeta until 1073 when it was taken over by the wealthy Dell’Aquila family of Fondi.  trategically positioned high on a hill, it has a commanding view of the surrounding area.

With its twin towers and its formidable walls and ramparts it was considered to be impregnable.  The round tower was given the name of the “Alligator Tower”, as it is said to have contained a pool which was the home of an alligator which fed on unfortunate prisoners who had been condemned to death.  



In recent years the castle has undergone extensive reconstruction and renovation.  It was partly destroyed during the Second World War when Itri suffered heavy bombardment which left much of the town in ruins.


Benvenuti / Welcome to

Itri


Benvenuti / Welcome to

Itri



Next - Itri (page 2)


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