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 Capuaand 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
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.
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.