Frosinone and the Ciociaria

Glie musèu
Tra glie campanìle i l'Annunziàta,
'Ntòcce prima della uìa ‘Ngelòne,
Stamatìna sò fatte 'na fermàta
Pè rattaccà le strengh'a strucenòne.
Me uànne gli'òcchie doppe 'na utràta
I uède, tutt'a giòrne, nè salòne
Addò 'na raccòta sta urdenàta
De prete, crete, pièzze de matòne,
Cule de uàse, de pile, de pignàte,
Màneche de recciòle i de bicchièra
Ancòra prima de Nuè 'mpastàte.
Quante sècule,frà, che sò passàte
'Nche gli'Ome a trebbulà 'ncim'a sta Tera
I ch'è remàste ? Ddù cocce smenuzzàte.
              Irèno Da Vialìra (Poeta ciociaro)  

I am European of Italian nationality. I very proud of my background but, unfortunately, my carrier put me in an orbit that does intersect my country only during my holiday vacations. In these close encounters, my landing site is Frosinone. When not-Italian acquaintances want to know about my Heimat, most of them are puzzled about the name and location of my hometown. Usually, I help them to overcome the understandable disorientation by giving as reference Rome and telling them that my birthplace is somewhere 80 km in the South of the Caput Mundi. Last year (2018) my hometown soccer team (Frosinone Calcio, nicknamed Canarini, The Canaries, for their home colours)) moved in the first league (A) of the national soccer championship. So, let see if this success will help to raise its notoriety!

It is a long time that I would like to write about Frosinone. However, in this article, I won’t write about the success of the Canarini football team but about my hometown and the rural place in central Italy where it is located.

In the province of Frosinone, there are many historical famous towns such as Anagni that has the exquisite Anagni Cathedral with its museum, Alatri with its megalitic Acropolis, Ferentino another megalytic city with also a beutyful Romanesque Duomo, Veroli and the closeby Certosa of Trisulti that has been recently on news spot for the sadly attempt to trasform this wolderful medieval santuary of christianity and culture to a private business when instead it should be preserved and nominated instead as an humanity heritage. I will talk about these town in other articles. This just to mention some of the famous towns and cultural places in Ciociaria.

Frosinone is situated in the south of the Lazio region, and it is also one of its 5 provinces (together with Roma, Viterbo, Rieti, and Latina). It is in the heart of the Ciociaria a beautiful area of central Italy named after an ancient type of footwear called Ciocia. The Ciociaria is a green region, and formerly the traditional agriculture was mainly based on forests and pastures. However, over the last fifty years, the population has considerably increased, and industry has developed, with aid from the Mezzogiorno Fund and with the construction of the Rome-Naples stretch of motorway. Today there are many factories, mainly sited along the principal roads and railway lines, operating in the engineering, textile, plastics and foodstuff sectors.

The old town of Frosinone is situated on the top of a hill 291 meter above sea level. From its panoramic position, it overlooks the valley of the Sacco River. In the following photo was taken from the Belvedere one of the most spectacular scenic spots in the town.


The photograph shows the new part of the town. That is dominated by the 60-meter tall skyscraper L’Edera in De Mattheis’ Square (the tall black and white building on the right side) that just this year turned 50 years old. The centre of the photo shows the commercial area of the town with its “high street” (via Aldo Moro) fitted with shops. This quarter can be reached from the Belvedere using a cable lift that starts just where the photo was taken. On the right side background, it is visible the pre-Apennines mountain chains that in December are covered by snow. The mountains on the left side are the called Lepini frames the boundary of the Sacco Valley. The Sacco river flows just under the base of Frosinone hill and continues its course in the valley bearing its name between the Lepini and Ernici mountains.

Frosinone was an ancient centre of the Volsci Frusino population. They were proud opponents of Rome, but the town was then conquered, and it became a Roman municipium (Latin word for a city) in 386 BC. In medieval times it was in the hands of the Byzantines and Lombards and in the 817, the Franks gave it to the Church.

The Coat of Arm of the city of Frosinone (Figure below on the left) was created in 1928. It shows a lion with the motto  Bellator (Frusino (Frosinone the warrior). While in the banner of the coat of arm of the provence of Frosinone (Figure below on the right), the motto is ferocior ad bellandum (the most fierce in fighting). The motto is in honour of the fearless attitude shown by the inhabitants to contrast the invasion by Hannibal’s army.

The most important monuments, located in the old part of the city on the top hill (Frosinone alto) are the Church of S. Benedetto (19th century Baroque), the Cathedral (originally Romanesque but it was damaged during the World War II and rebuilt after the War), and finally the little Church of S. Lucia of Neo-classical style.



The verse in Ciociaro language at the beginning of this article belongs to a prolific poet friend of mine that give me the permission and honour to add this beautiful poem on the archaeological museum in Frosinone. The Italian translation is given below

Il museo

Tra il campanile e l’Annunziata,
Poco prima della via Angeloni,
Stamattina ho fatto una fermata
Per riattaccare le stringhe a trascinio.
Mi vanno gli occhi dopo una vetrata
E vedo, tutto a giorno, un salone
Dove una raccolta sta ordinata
Di pietre, argille, pezzi di mattone,
Fondi di vasi, di pentole, di olle,
Manici di orci e di bicchieri
Ancora prima di Noè impastati.
Quanti secoli, fratello, che sono passati
Con l’Uomo a tribolare su questa Terra
E che è rimasto ? Due cocci sminuzzati.

Irèno Da Vialìra

followed by the English one

The museum

Between the bell tower and the Annunziata,
Just before the Via Angeloni,
I made a stop this morning
To knot again drag strings.
My eyes go after a window
And I see a large hall in daylight
Where an ordered collection
Of stones, clays, pieces of brick,
vases bottom, pots, jars,
Handles of jars and glasses
Even before Noah kneaded.
How many centuries, Brother, that have passed
With man to suffer on this earth
And what's left? Just crumbled potsherds.

Irèno Da Vialìra

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