SAN MICHELE ARCANGELO
In the Town Hall Square stands the Church of S. Michele Arcangelo (St Michael the Archangel), built on the site of a pagan temple dedicated to Apollo and the nine Muses.
The interior is in the Baroque style, in the form of a Latin cross with three naves, side chapels, and vaults. S. Michael is the guardian of numerous prestigious works. Immediately upon entering, we note the large painting on the main altar painted by Il Cavalier d’Arpino, which represents the Archangel Michael victorious over Lucifer, and upon the vault the majestic figure of the Eternal Father.
SANTA MARIA DI CIVITA
On the spot where the Church of St. Maria Civita now stands once stood a pagan temple dedicated to Mercury Lanner, the patron of wool, which was the main activity of the center of the Roman Civitas Falconara. A tower was the original base of the current bell tower, and a plaque was found in the floor of the sacred precinct, both of which attest to this precursor. The plaque, now walled up on the facade of the Church, states: “R.UM-SACRUM-TRI-MERCURY-LAN-Cilix-TULLI-LS-TEPA-PRAECIAE-S-PHILOTIMUS-PERFIC.”
Also worthy of admiration is the Chapel of the Crowned Virgin, whose walls are covered with marble. It houses a wooden statue of the Assumption, carved from the round trunk of a cedar of Lebanon.
In this Church we can find paintings by “il Cavalier d’Arpino” depicting the two patron saints: St. Benedict and St. Andrew. Note that the face of Sant’Andrew is identical to that painted by the same author in the fresco Ascension in the Borghese Chapel in S. John Lateran.
Behind the grille, facing the church, the nuns of the adjacent convent assist with choirs and sometimes participate in religious services. Just behind the grates is a preserved eighteenth-century papier-mâché statue of Our Lady of Loreto, who was declared patron of Arpino in 1802, and the “machine” in the wood made by Stolz, representing the House of Nazareth, carried by angels. On the front is written: “Facta east. Domi Pisces 1756. Michael Stolz.”
Adjacent to the beautiful church of S. Andrea is the ancient cloistered monastery of Benedictine, with whom there have always been religious relations and interests, as shown in a deed signed by the abbess Odda, and her sister, dating back to 1249. But as the tradition goes, it was founded as far back as the sixth century. by S. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict.
VEROLI – ABBAZIA DI CASAMARI (Km 20)
Built by some monks of Veroli around 1036 in the same period of Fossanova, where St. Thomas Aquinas died in 1274. It is, in architectural history, a staple of the Gothic-Cistercian style in Italy. Around the beautiful Cloister meander several buildings, of which the largest is the church, with three naves. In addition to beautiful places of worship, the Museum, the refectory, and the library, replete with old books, are all worthy of note.
CASSINO – ABBAZIA DI MONTECASSINO (Km 40)
Founded by St. Benedict in 529, and a major centre for the spread of monasticism in Europe during the Middle Ages. It suffered several destructions and reconstructions, the last of which took place during the Second World War, in 1944. The reconstruction started at the end of the war, and effected an exact reproduction of the destroyed architecture. The crypt of the Church houses the relics of St. Benedict.
SORA – ABBAZIA DI SAN DOMENICO (Km 11)
The Abbey of San Domenico, founded by Saint Foligno in 1011, was initially built in the Romanesque style, and later adapted to the Cistecian style in 1250. It was completely rebuilt after the earthquake of 1915.
Of particular interest is the main portal of the church, decorated with an archway from the villa of Cicero, and the crypt, of primitive beauty, which keeps the body of the holy founder.
COLLEPARDO – CERTOSA DI TRISULTI (Km 43)
The Charterhouse of Trisulti is a Cistercian monastery, set in the woods at the foot of Mount Rotonaria, founded by Pope Innocent III in 1204.
An extraordinary feature is the ancient pharmacy of natural herbs , and also the Palace of Innocent III and the Church of St. Bartholomew.
ROCCASECCA – EREMO DI SAN TOMMASO (Km 28)
n the historical center of the village lies the castle and the church of S. Thomas