Frosinone borders Abruzzo to the east and Campania to the south. It’s ancient name is Ciociaria – after the traditional ancient sandal made from a piece of leather tied onto the foot with leather straps – still worn today by a few sheep herders in the mountains and at traditional events. Frosinone had strong connections with three of the most important Pontiffs of the Middle Ages: Innocent III, Celestine V, and Boniface VIII. This territory is also closely associated with the Benedictine Order of monks, who have trodden their sacred path across this terrain since the year 1000, characterising the landscape with monasteries and sanctuaries. Part of the Via Francigena runs through Anagni. Scenery can be unexpectedly breathtaking at times.
City of Frosinone
Origins of Frosinone date to the 7th–6th c. BC, built by the indigenous Volsci tribe, its ancient name was Frusna. Under Piazzale di Mattheis is a Volsci necropolis dating to 6th-5th c. BC with 21 tombs but it has since been re-covered until it can be excavated properly. In the 4th c. BC Frusna was conquered by the Romans who called it Frusino. Destroyed by Hannibal during the 2nd Punic War: locals refused to surrender and rebelled instead, ending in a bloody mess. A Latin writer of the epoch - Silius Italicus - defined the townsfolk as: Bellator Frusino which means “city of fighters” because of their refusal to surrender (2000 years later this motto is still proudly used on the towns Coat of Arms). Frosinone was destroyed (and rebuilt) several times after that during Barbaric invasions.
During the Middle Ages Frosinone belonged to (and was under protection of) the Papal Church, so despite numerous attempts from neighbouring nobles to conquer it for their own gain, they never succeeded. In 1350 the city was destroyed by an earthquake. Rebuilt in 1527, just in time for more Barbaric troops to destroy it, bringing the plague with them this time! And in 1556 it was the turn of the Spaniards who were at war with the Pope. In 1798 Frosinone was attacked by the French, during the Roman Republic under Napoleon. Though the Pope no longer had power there, Frosinone townsfolk rebelled anyway but in the mayhem the city was sacked and burned until nothing remained! Today each year, during Carnival, an event called ‘La Radeca’ takes place which is a re-enactment of this battle against the French.
So, why was Frosinone attacked so often, by just about everyone? – well, because of its strategic military position in the Sacco Valley - so vital in those early centuries - and also its proximity to Rome! Lastly, between Sept 1943 - May 1944 Frosinone suffered 56 bombardments by the American air force. On 31 May 1944 Canadian Allies entered the city to find it completely destroyed & abandoned.
What’s left to see: