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Atina and the Val di Comino

Villa Latina

Villa Latina is a quiet little backwater, nestling in a fertile basin of the Val di Comino. Surrounded by natural beauty and greenery it is overlooked by the forest clad slopes of Monte Bianco.  There are panoramic views of the valley and the  Mainarde mountains which form part of the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo.

Villa Latina was originally known as Agnone, and formed a part of the Comune of Atina.  However in 1862 it took on its  present name when it became an independent township in its own right.

There was once a strong Roman presence in this area and several grand villas were constructed close to local thermal springs.  Today one can still see the  Roman remains of  a villa, baths and sections of aqueduct.

Agnone is first mentioned in documents of 774 AD when it was described as a simple county "locus" of Atina.  

It is said that in just one year 6% of the population left.

The township has expanded in recent years especially along the main road and flat areas and Villa Latina is an amalgamation of a number of scattered hamlets, such as Colle Cavicchio,  Colle Santo, Palombo, Panetta, Santa Lucia and Vallegrande, and as such does not have a true historic centre.   In fact the town seems to be rather disjointed and sadly several of the older buildings seem now to be abandoned.   

In one area is the Piazza Umberto I°.  Here is the church of  La Santissima Annunziata,  consecrated in 1601 on the site of a pre-existing church.  Above the door is an inscription:  


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© LM  Shapcott 2009 - 2016 All rights Reserved

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Last Update May 2016

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In 891 there is mention of the Monastery of San Mauro near to the River Mollarino that was owned by the Abbey of San Vincenzo of Volturno.

In 1059 Oderisio and Rinaldo, counts of Marsi, built the fortification of Rocca Malcucchiara on a hill facing Atina, to defend themselves from attack.    A century later, during the era of the Norman Ruggero, the fort was further strengthened by adding protective walls, tall watchtowers and an entrance gate.  Inside was the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena and Church of San Salvatore.  The valley was well irrigated by several rivers and streams and was an area of much sheep farming.  In order to better protect themselves the shepherds on the flat constructed three towers,  so that in case of attack they could take refuge and wait for help to arrive from Rocca.

The rivers in the area were harnessed to power several flour mills. The Antico Mollino del Rivo Agnone has been carefully restored and brought back to life.

This area was once plagued by ferocious brigands which included the notorious Benedetto Pannetta of Villa Latina.

During the late 1800's there was a mass exodus emigrants as times  as peasant people toiled in miserable conditions and experienced severe hardship and poverty due to poor wages and food shortages.  

Also in the square is the  Comune and the War Memorial to remember the fallen of Villa Latina, a curious design of a series of tall pipes adorned with swooping swallows.