Atina, the Val di Comino and Ciociaria

 

Belmonte Castello

Belmonte Castello is perched on a rocky calcareous outcrop (380 metres) between Cassino and the Val di Comino.  This picturesque village appears to cling to and wind its way around the rock.

 

In 990 the territory was owned by the Prince of Capua and Benevento and then passed to the Counts of Marsi.  It was a stopping point for pilgrims on their way to Rome.  In 1140 it was conquered by the Norman troops.  In 1270  it became the property of the Counts of Aquino.  Because of its strategic position the town was provided with strong fortifications in the form of a tall tower and a small fortress surrounded by strong protective walls, with three gates. This provided an ideal viewpoint from which to watch out for hostile troops or brigands approaching from Montecassino or Alvito.

 

 

Over the centuries the town’s ownership changed hands several times, to the Cantelomo’s, the Carafa’s,  the Borgia’s until finally in 1851 it became free of feudal control.

In 1595 it was described as having “good land for livestock, for vines rather than grain, abundant in farms, meat of every kind, soft white wines.  It has good air, is populated and surrounded by strong walls.  The fortress rises in front of  the tower’s door and has 9 rooms – one subterranean, four on the ground floor and four on the first floor.”

The village was first known just as simply Belmonte, the originating from the latin “Bellus Mons”. It was not until 1862 that it took on its present name of Belmonte Castello.  Indeed, it was not considered to be a town in its own right,  coming under the jurisdiction of  Atina,  until 1819 and then of Terrelle until 1851 when it was made a township in its own right.

Next - Belmonte Castello  (page 2)

 

The town suffered badly during the bombing of the Second World War, when the  castle was  completely destroyed.  The town was renovated after the war however the population dropped rapidly as many of its inhabitants emigrated overseas.

 

The inhabitants of Belmonte Castello are known as Belmontesi.  Belmonte was once famed for its traditional textile handicrafts.

 

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