The Abbey of Lazio
The Abbeys of Lazio: let's discover these charming places together, where culture meets religion in the heart of some of the oldest towns in the Region of Wonders.
The Abbey of Casamari
The development of the Abbey of Casamari dates back to 1203 when the construction of a monastery was started on the ruins of Cereate, home of the Roman consul Caio Mario. Towards the middle of the 12th century the Benedictine monks were replaced by the Cistercians who built the current monastery, a jewel of Cistercian architecture. After a period of splendor, from the middle of the fourteenth century Casamari started to slowly decline until in 1717 a colony of reformed Cistercian monks, called Trappists, from Buonsollazzo in Tuscany, was introduced there, which gave new impetus to vitality spiritual, cultural and material of the monastery. In the Napoleonic age and during the 1800s, Casamari suffered invasions, looting, fires and bloodshed. Stripped of its assets in 1873 following the laws of suppression, the abbey was declared a national monument in the following year. In 1929 Casamari, together with the monasteries founded by it, was erected as an autonomous monastic congregation, attached to the Cistercian Order.
Abbey of Montecassino
The Abbey of Montecassino was built on the mountain chosen by San Benedetto in 529 to build a monastery that would have housed it. Paganism was still present, but managed to transform this place into a well-structured Christian monastery where everyone could have the dignity they deserved, through prayer and work. Over the centuries the Abbey has known magnificence and destruction many times, and has always been reborn stronger from its ruins. In 577 the Lombards destroyed it, then in 887 the Saracens. In 1349 there was a terrible earthquake and in February 1944 a bombing almost destroyed it. It is the faithful reconstruction of the twenty thousand square meters that can be seen along the A1 motorway. On the summit of the mountain, 520 meters high, the monastery is easily seen even from afar, and thus becomes a well-defined reference point for the area.
In the heart of the Sabina there is a magical place, immersed in a truly fabulous village: the Abbey of Farfa. A spiritual and profound place, it lies at the foot of Mount Acuziano, in the area of Fara Sabina, and is just a short walk from Rome. The abbey is located in an almost enchanted place, a village with a special and magical atmosphere. Much more than a church, it is a true hymn to serenity, to the supremacy of nature, to the beauty of the verdant environment to which we can do nothing but admire and contemplate.
The Fossanova Abbey is one of the most significant examples of Cistercian Gothic art in Italy. Built on the ruins of a Roman republican villa, it was first a Benedictine monastery and later, at the behest of Innocent II, it was granted to the Cistercians who built it in its present form.
Abbey of Valvisciolo
Built in strict Romanesque-Gothic-Cistercian style, the Abbey of Valvisciolo is one of the greatest masterpieces of the genre in the province after the Fossanova abbey. Tradition has it that this abbey was founded in the 12th century by Greek monks and was occupied and restored by the Templars in the 13th century. When this order was dissolved in the 14th century, the Cistercians took over. A medieval legend is linked to this abbey, where it is said that in 1314, when the last Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was placed at the stake, the architraves of the churches broke. Even today, by carefully observing the architrave of the main portal of the abbey, a crack can be seen. The signs of the Templar presence consist of some characteristic crosses: in the first step of the church floor, in the ceiling of the cloister and the most famous of all carved on the left side of the central eye of the rose window, which came to light in the restoration of the beginning of the century. In recent times, on the western side of the cloister, knocking down a false wall, the five famous words of the magic palindrome came to light, graffitied on the original plaster: SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS, with the variant, so far a unicum, that the twenty-five letters are arranged in five concentric circular rings, each of which is divided into five sectors, so as to form a figure similar to a target.
Abbey of San Magno
Halfway between Monte San Biagio and Fondi, in the province of Latina, inside the Regional Park of Ausoni rises Mount Arcano: at its feet the Monastero San Magno, on its top the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rocca, which delimit the Campo Demetriano of the ancient Romans, the Valley of the Martyrs of the Christians. It was in fact in the second half of the third century that these places were the scene of an episode of the most ferocious persecution of the emperors of Rome, that of Decius. An extraordinary number of Christians, with San Magno and San Paterno, who took refuge in the crevices of the mountain to escape the execution of the edict, discovered, testified their faith by sacrificing their lives. The remains of the martyrs were kept for centuries in the Roman building that stood on the source of the Licola river. The place of martyrdom was soon the object of veneration and many followers of the new religion withdrew there in solitude, favored by the environmental conditions of this happy district. As long as Honored, as Pope Gregory the Great testifies of his Dialogues, in the first decades of the sixth century he established in that place a real community dedicated to prayer and work. Later the monastery, following the Benedictine rule, will depend on Montecassino.