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The Abbey of Casamari is situated in the territoryof Veroli(Frosinone), on the Via Maria, mid-way between Frosinone and Sora, and lies on a rocky hill sloping down to the torrent Amaseno, at about 300 metresabove sea-level. It was built on the ruins of an ancient Roman municipium named Cereatae, being dedicated to the goddess Ceres, at Marianae, for it was the birthplace, or at least a residence, of Caius Marius, from whom the abbey later derived its name. The documents witness the presence of a Benedectine monastic community in the 11th century, under the name of Casamari.
The monastery soon showed a strong vitality both spiritual as well as social and economical, but, in the early 12th century it was affected by a rather long crisis due to a sort of ungovernability (which is witnessed by the frequent resignation of its abbots) caused by both a decline of the Curtis system and the political and religious confusion of that period. During the schism of Anaclet II (1130-1138), when Bernard of Clairvaux, by his persistant work of mediation, became the leading promoter of the Church’s unity through the recognition of Innocent II as pope, Italy became acquainted with the Cistercians. She appreciated their spirituality and requested their presence, while all Europe watched and supported the Order’s astonishing, miraculous expansion.
The Cistercians started the construction of the monastery which we can still admire today, following the Order’s typical planimetry. In 1203, Pope Innocent III blessed the first stone of the church, the construction of which went on under the management of Fra’ Guglielmo of Casamari until 1217. On September 15th of that year; the basilica was consecrated and dedicated to Our Lady Received into Heaven, according to the Order’s custom, and to the Roman martyrs, John and Paul.
Casamari suffered heavy damages in the early 15th century when Ladislaus of Anjou, after storming Veroli, besieged and plundered the monastery. During Napoleon’s first campaign in Italy some French soldiers, on their way back, plundered the monastery and desecrated the Eucharist, although they had been received with open arms by Prior Simon Cardon. In 1833 the monks of Casamari reacquired the monastery of San Domenico of Sora and in 1873, owing to the laws of suppression, the abbey was deprived of its possessions and the following year; was declared a national monument.
In spite of endless change, Casamari is still one of the Cistercian monasteries in which monastic life has had no interruptions since its foundation, except for the short period 1811-1814. The revival of religious life has been made possible by the institution of seminaries (1916) which have in a short time set many young men on the way to the Cistercian ideal. Thus the abbey, together with its dependent houses, was declared a monastic Congregation by the Holy See in 1929. Its Constitutions were approved provisionally in the same year and permanently on June 13th, 1943 by Pope Pius XII. They were approved again in 1979, after a revision according to the instructions of Vatican II. According to the latest statistics, the Congregation of Casamari now consists of sixteen monasteries and three residences, with 220 monks.

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From Rome you can reach the area of Ciociaria in less than 1 hour, travelling by car of course. Ciociaria  is the  name of an italian region, situated in the heart of Italy, between Rome and Naples. It’s the ideal starting point to explore the suth part of Latium. The province of Frosinone, called Ciociaria is not very well known among tourists, but this land rewards generously its visitors with unspoilted nature, magnificent abbeys, archaeological treasures, genuine food and deep traditions. In Ciociaria you can do a journey among forgotten flavours and smells where the old-times taste of typical rural dishes can be appreciated on the tables of many typical restaurants, accompanied by local  wines, such as Cesanese and Passerina of Piglio, the Cabernet of Atina and Torre Ercolana of Anagni.
The Ciociaria has great gastronomic traditions
, you will be surprised by the quality of the food: the genuine local olive oil, the cheeses made with sheep’s, goat’s or buffalo s milk, the wines produced by the local farmers, and the preparation of dishes with vegetables selected in centuries of good farming. The Ciociarian cuisine can produce carefully prepared dishes with different types of meats, dressed pork products which are among the best in Italy, and such a variety of bakery products and sweets that it is almost impossible to treat them exhaustively. As far as “fettuccine” is concerned, they are only one of the home-made pastas typical of this area which can boast the most rich list of main courses of Latium. That is why the visit to the artistic, naturalistic and historical sights in Ciociaria must include a plunge into a world of flavours that await to be discovered and that, they alone, represent a trip in its own.
The Ciociarian cuisine has a country tradition, simple and genuine. The fundamental basis of its typical dishes are the ingredients, undoubtedly ‘poor’ yet of excellent quality. One of the most popular dish is a type of egg pasta, homemade and cut in thin noodles called ‘fini fini’, seasoned with a meat sauce or a simple tomato sauce. Among the main courses, there are also ‘gnocchi’ (flour and potato dumplings), you will find in most trattorias as dish of the day especially on thursdays and  the ‘cannelloni’(finger-thick tubes of stuffed pasta) and the well-known ‘timballo ciociaro’, also known as ‘Boniface VIII’s, a kind of stuffed lasagna. Tradional soups such as ‘sagne and beans’, ‘pasta and potatoes’, pasta and chick-peas’, prepared according to the Ciociarian tradition, have a special flavour. The second courses see a predominance of pork, sheep, rabbit or chicken meats, which, in the country is still genuine and tasty, because it usually comes from small, traditional stock farms.

The most famous artistic medieval castles and churchs in Ciociaria to see are: The Castle of Fumone, The Castle of Monte San Giovanni Campano and the Castle of Alvito.
The amazing churchs to visit are: The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore(Ferentino), The Cathedral of SS John and Paul (Ferentino),  St. Mary Major in Alatri and Basilica of St. Mary Salome(Veroli).

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Ferrentino – Sagra della Polenta
Filettino – Sagra della Braciola and Sagra delle Ciambelle con vino caldo
San Donato Val di Comino – Sagra della Cruspola
Ausonia – Sagra delle Crespelle
Ferentino – Sagra degli Struffoli
Patrica – Sagra delle Fettuccine
Campoli – Sagra del Tartufo Bianco
Ferentino – Sagra del Pecorino and Sagra del Castrato
Serrone – Sagra del Vino Cesanese
Monte San Giovanni Campano – Sagra della Grafolata e della Bruschetta
San Elia Fiumerapido – Sagra della Frittella
Casamari – Sagra delle Pizze Fritte
Veroli – Sagra della Ciammella
Sant’Apollinare – Sagra dei Tagliolini e Ceci
Sant’Ambrogio sul Garigliano – Sagra dei Tagliolini e Fagioli
Vico nel Lazio – Sagra delle Sagne e Fagioli

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