b&b sermoneta Le Camere Pinte - bed and breakfast latina

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Vieni in Vacanza a Sermoneta
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 15:25

Sermoneta


The flat country between the Volsci (or Lepini) Mountains and the sea is actually an inclined surface where the coastal dunes are at a higher level than the ground at the foot of the mountains, thus causing the stagnation of several small rivers. In 312 BC the Romans dug a canal to protect Via Appia from being periodically inundated, but most of the plain remained an unhealthy marsh. Things got worse after the fall of the Roman empire and in the VIIIth century Via Appia was no longer practicable and it was replaced by a winding road which followed the ridge of the hills overlooking the plain and favoured the development of Sermoneta and other medieval towns.

View of Sermoneta and a watching tower

The marsh however was no protection against the raids of the Saracens, who took advantage of the coast being unpopulated. Between 700 and the year 1000 they could actually temporarily occupy the shores between S. Felice Circeo and Nettuno and from there move inland. This explains the fortified aspect of Sermoneta and the existence of watch towers built on high rocks.

The Walls and View towards Norma

The walls of Sermoneta were reinforced in the XVIth century when the risk of attacks from the sea increased again: the Ottomans had expanded their empire to the coasts of Tunisia and Algeria and from there they promoted corsair raids on the coasts of Italy. The walls were also necessary due to the fact that Italy was a battlefield for French and Spanish troops and their local supporters. Sermoneta is located on the top of an isolated hill not far from Norma.

Views of Castello Caetani

In the early XIVth century Sermoneta became a fief of the Caetani, the family of Pope Boniface VIII, who from their base in Anagni expanded their possessions towards Rome and the sea. Their castle was confiscated by Pope Alexander VI Borgia who improved its fortifications; shortly after the death of the pope in 1503 it returned to the Caetani to whom it still belongs.

Details of Castello Caetani

The castle shows details of different periods but its prevailing aspect is due to Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, who had designed for Pope Alexander VI the impressive fortress of Civita Castellana.

Medieval street; the synagogue; Renaissance palace

Sermoneta, because of its position along one of the two roads which for centuries linked Rome with Naples (the other one being through Palestrina and Anagni), provided services to merchants and travellers. In particular at the beginning of the XVIth century its Jewish population expanded because of the arrival of many Jews from the Kingdom of Naples. In 1492 King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabel of Castile decreed the expulsion of all Jews from their possessions which included Sicily. Many of them moved to the Kingdom of Naples, which, although ruled by a dynasty of Aragon origin, welcomed their arrival. In 1503 however it became a direct possession of the Crown of Spain and the Jews were on the move again: several families settled in the towns of southern Latium increasing the local communities. It was not the end of their journey: in 1555 Pope Paul IV ordered the Jews to live either in Rome or Ancona in a segregated area (the Ghetto). There the Jews, who had not a tradition of using surnames, but rather patronymics, had to live in a relatively large community and for practical reasons adopted as a surname the town they came from one of which was Sermoneta.

Cathedral

The Cathedral of Sermoneta is a sort of summary of the history of the town: built on an ancient Roman temple, it shows elements of all styles.

Paintings of a ruined church; S. Giuseppe

With the reclamation of the marsh in the 1920s and the opening of a new railway which runs at the foot of the hill next to the restored Via Appia, Sermoneta lost its role and its population decreased, attracted by the new towns built on the plain: several old houses were abandoned. Today it gives the impression of a partial recovery: its old churches and the memories of the past foster the feeling of belonging to a community which the new towns seem unable to create.

Move to
Sezze
Priverno
Fossanova
Sonnino

 

The Castle of Sermoneta:

The 13th-century Caetani Castle was built by the Annibaldi family, to whom the papacy had granted the hill towns of Sermoneta, Bassiano and S. Donato along with other nearby estates.
This imposing fortress, with its 42-metre high keep known as the Maschio, and a lesser tower known as the Maschietto, became the heart of the medieval town of Sermoneta. The Church of S. Pietro in Corte was built in the courtyard, together with a vast rainwater cistern to compensate, at such a height, for lack of alternative water sources.
In 1297, during a period of economic hardship for the Annibaldi, the Caetani Pope, Boniface VIII acquired all their lands for 140,000 gold florins. He also bought Ninfa for 200,000 florins, a strategic move allowing his administration to control the important Via Pedemontana connecting Rome to Naples. From this point on, the Caetani family governed these properties for more than 700 years.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, thanks to the Caetani, the Castle reached a peak of prosperity. Enlarged and re-fortified it was put to cultural uses. The Camere Pinte(painted rooms) are decorated with frescoes representing mythological figures. They date back to this period. The unknown artist is probably of the school of Pinturicchio.
In 1499 the Borgia Pope Alexander VI issued a Bull excommunicating the Caetani, and in so doing confiscated their properties and turned the Castle into a military fortress, adding to the fortifications but destroying the church and so much of what the Caetani had accomplished in their time.
After the death of Alexander, just five years later, the Caetani were given back their properties by Pope Giulio II Della Rovere. In the 17th century, because the properties no longer had strategic relevance, the family moved to Rome and Cisterna, and the Castle was left abandoned only to be looted by French and Spanish solders in the 18th century. Eventually, because of its poor condition, it was rented out by the family for use as a depot and warehouse. Only at the end of the 19th century did Caetani family members, aware of the historical and artistic significance of the castle, begin once more to restore and transform it into a social and educational centre.
Today, the Roffredo Caetani Foundation owns the Castle, and is responsible for its conservation and for continuing the work of the Caetani family over previous centuries.

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The Castle is open every day, except for Thursdays, no booking required from guided tours.
All visits are conducted in groups accompanied by a guide. The tour, which is not suitable for persons with walking difficulties, follows a single route and lasts approximately one hour. It is feasible to visit both the Castle and the Garden of Ninfa on the same day, allocating a half-day to each.

Spring and summer season timetable

mornings

afternoons

April - May

10 a.m. / 11 a.m. / 12 noon

mondays and wednesdays:
2 p.m. / 3 p.m. / 4 p.m.
other days:
3 p.m. / 4 p.m. / 5 p.m. / 6 p.m.

June - September

10 a.m. / 11 a.m. / 12 noon

3 p.m. / 4 p.m. / 5 p.m. / 6 p.m.

During April and May, on Mondays and Wednesdays, both the garden of Ninfa and the Caetani Caetani are open for schools. The Caetani Castle will be open as follows: 10-12 and 14-16.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 13:31

Ninfa Gardens: online booking to visit

To visit the Garden, you have to book on line the entrance ticket at www.giardinodininfa.eu


During public opening days, visitors tour the Garden in groups accompanied by a guide and following a single route.The tours leave every ten minutes and last approximately one hour and it is suitable for the disabled.
All visitors are expected to make an entry contribution towards the cost of maintaining the garden and ruins and providing guides. The hortus conclusus, a formal garden dating from the 17th century, is accessible on payment of a small supplement.
By dedicating approximately a half day to each, there is time enough in a day to visit not only the Garden of Ninfa but also the Caetani Castle of Sermoneta, likewise a property of the Roffredo Caetani Foundation.

Please note: during public opening days bilingual guided tours leave at 10.30 a.m. and at 3.30 p.m..
English-speaking or other overseas visitors wishing to tour with a bilingual guide should be at the main entrance before the tour leaves (9.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.) to make their requirement known. Whilst tours are conducted in Italian, between the various stopping points explanations in English will be provided.

 



Ninfa: the ancient town
The town of Ninfa takes its name from a little temple dedicated to the nymphs during the Roman period, built on one of the most abundant springs at the foot of the Lepini Hills. These waters gave life to the original river Nymphaeus. Of the abandoned medieval town there remain today an imposing double wall and the ruins of a castle, churches, municipal buildings and many private dwellings. As in the past, water is still the key to Ninfa's survival.
Ninfa had a significant economic and strategic identity as early as the 8th century. This came about due to the flooding and impassability of a stretch of the Appian Way between Cisterna and Terracina and the consequent spread of malaria. A water dam, seen to this day at Ninfa, is an example of advanced engineering from early times. The resulting lake enabled waterpower to be used to turn rudimentary machinery such as mills, olive presses, bellows and hammers for the working of metal - making a fortune for the little settlement. By the beginning of the 11th century, Ninfa had grown to the status of a small town. It continued to expand and prosper. In 1159, Rolando Bandinelli was consecrated as Pope Alexander III in S. Maria Maggiore, the largest of Ninfa's seven churches. Several papal families - among them the Tuscolo, Frangipani, Conti, and Anibaldi - fought over Ninfa which was at various times destroyed and rebuilt before passing finally to the Caetani family in 1298. 100 years of prosperity followed. As the result of papal wars and inter-family disputes, however, the town was substantially destroyed in 1382 leading to an exodus of the population and an unstoppable decay that lasted until the 20th century. In the 17th century, Ninfa was for a time used for commercial activity, for example iron-works and a tannery, or as a recreational retreat for the Caetani who then commissioned Francesco da Volterra to design the Hortus Conclusus (enclosed garden). In the 18th and 19th centuries artists and travellers regularly visited the ruined town, after failed attempts to repopulate it. Their various depictions of it left an important record of how it then was. Notable among them were Carlo and Enrico Coleman, Edward Lear, Gregorovius, Ettore Roesler Franz; and Giulio Aristide Sartorio in the 20th century.


Ninfa: the garden
Gelasio Caetani, in the early 1920s, set out to restore Ninfa by means of a well-planned programme of research, excavation and restoration of the ruins, laying out the foundations for a garden today counted among the most beautiful in the world. With his English mother, Ada Wilbraham, the first of Ninfa’s gardeners, and inspired by Ninfa’s evocative and mysterious character, he began planting the great trees that we enjoy today. The creation of a garden at Ninfa, meaning the ability as far back as the 1920s to visualise the potential of a site completely abandoned and covered by a mantle of vegetation, is intriguing - the more so because Ninfa came back to life after centuries of neglect in the form of a garden conceived in a typical Anglo-Saxon style. The Garden of Ninfa today, with its paths spreading like sinews, is spontaneous and informal with little in the way of geometric patterns. The development and planting work continued with Ada’s American-born daughter-in-law Marguerite Chapin. She opened the garden to an important circle of writers and artists associated with the literary reviews Commerce and Botteghe Oscure, which she founded. Such friends were equally inspired by Ninfa.
Marguerite’s daughter, Lelia Caetani, remains nevertheless the true artisan of the garden and in her time Ninfa took on the romantic character we know today. Lelia's gardening approach was undoubtedly inspired by her natural talents as a painter, which led her to select plants in the landscape as if at work on a large canvas. She had a natural and creative touch.
On Lelia’s untimely death in 1977, ownership and responsibility for the garden passed to the Roffredo Caetani Foundation. Ninfa is well cared for. Spontaneity remains key and visitors are little aware of the human touch. Managing such a remarkable place is a difficult and complex challenge with the delicate eco-system always a foremost consideration.

Ninfa today
The garden of Ninfa was declared a Natural Monument in 2000, and it comprises:
- the medieval ruined town, with its outer walls
- the English-style romantic garden dating from the early 20th century
- the 17th-century Hortus Conclusus
- the river and lake with their rare eco-system
- the setting itself – culturally, pictorially and environmentally exceptional.

Ninfa draws together history, architecture and nature. The microclimate and eco-system are rare because Ninfa sits at the juncture of two contrasting geological formations - the alluvial Pontine plain and the limestone Lepini hills. The property faces south and enjoys the benefit of pure and abundant spring waters.
Though in ruins, Ninfa is a rare example of a complete medieval town. Abandoned for five centuries, it was described by the historian Gregorovius in the 1880s as the ‘Pompeii of the Middle Ages’. What we see today are the significant remains of a fortified town, encircled by a double girdle of walls, which reached its peak of prosperity between the 13th and 14th centuries. The urban layout is still clearly distinguishable, giving the garden a setting that appeals to the imagination. The main buildings, not all of them in good condition, are easily identified as the castle, the town hall (converted to a Caetani family house), and the churches of S. Giovanni, S. Biagio, S. Salvatore, and S. Paolo all situated along the outer walls. S. Maria Maggiore occupies a central position and S. Pietro ‘outside the walls’ stands closer to the base of the hills.
Over time the Garden of Ninfa has developed a truly international plant collection. It is widely known for being both a protected monument and a nature conservation area.

Botanical Highlights
The Garden contains at least 19 varieties of deciduous Magnolia, along with birch, aquatic Iris and a sensational variety of Japanese maples.  The early-flowering ornamental cherries blossom spectacularly. Viburnum, honeysuckle, Ceanothus, holly, Clematis, dogwoods, ornamental crab apple and tulip trees are among the many varieties, numbering over 1,300 in all, growing in the eight hectares of the garden.
Many rose varieties grow along the avenues, festooning trees and ruins, bordering the river and its watercourses. In a substantial collection are to be noted varieties such as R. banksiae, R. bracteata, R. x odorata 'Mutabilis', R. hugonis, 'Ballerina', 'Iceberg', 'Max Graf', 'Complicata', 'Penelope', 'Buff Beauty', 'Mme. Alfred Carrier, R.filipes 'Kiftsgate' and 'Gloire de Dijon'. Wild flowers are much in evidence, for example anemones, cyclamen, marguerites, primulas and valerian. The particularly mild climate at Ninfa also allows the cultivation of tropical plants such as avocado, South American gunnera and banana.
There are many shrubs, planted not just for their beauty but also for their value to birds and insects - for example buddleia, loved by butterflies; and cotoneaster with its wonderful berries. The presence of birds is notable, with over 100 species. They help the plant-life by controlling the number of parasitic insects.

The International Friends of Ninfa (UK)
This association, founded in 2004, is fully active with nearly 250 members, some based outside the UK. A non-profit making and strictly autonomous organisation, its aim is to provide unconditional support for the garden in general and specific ways that mirror the aims of the Roffredo Ca
etani Foundation itself and the needs of Ninfa as a natural monument.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 13:37

Abbazia di Fossanova

The 'Fossanova Abbey, built at the dawn of theOrder of the Benedictines,expanded during the eleventh and twelfth centuries in the past to the Cistercian monkswho developed the reclamation of the nearby swampy allowing the spiritual rebirth, social and economic.

The church was built in the second half of 1100 with the help of FrederickBarbarossa "Fridericus Emperor Augustus always hoc opus fecit proud."

In the abbey, where he met his death St. Thomas Aquinasa Studium Artiumdeveloped for the training of monksmany of whom brought with the secrets of the influence of Fossanova sites in the surrounding area.

Official Site: http://www.abbaziadifossanova.it/

Even before the settlement of the Cistercian monks, the place was inhabited byBenedictine monks who had built a monastery with the title St. Stephen the First Martyr, where he also lived Gregory IV dell'827 first year of his election to thepapacy. Later, probably around the year one thousand, the monastery was therestructuring and expansion, of which still remain well preserved, the three sides of the Romanesque cloister.

Thursday, 07 April 2011 17:45

Sermoneta Apartments

The apartments, furnished with elegance, are composed of rooms with private bathrooms, full equipped kitchen, dining area and large living room with sofa and TV. For outdoor living, tables and chairs on the panoramic terraces make pleasant stay... aperitifs on the terrace at sunset like the Italian style

The apartments can accomodate families or working groups from 2 to 6 persons from medium to long periods for a comfortable and relaxing stay.


The Residence, despite being in the old town of Sermoneta, is easily accessible by car (you can park in front of the apartment in Via G. Matteotti 3) and it is near Restaurants, bar, supermarket and anything you need for a long time stay.



SERVICES INCLUDED:

- Set of towels for guest
- Bedding
- Soaps and shower kit
- internet wi fi – ethernet -  TV SAT
- Heating, gas, water, electricity
- Kitchen and its forniture: washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, stove, coffe machine with capsules.
- Final cleaning
- Free entrance to the open pool for weekly stay (the pool is 5 minutes drive from the apartment)


EXTRA:
- Air conditioning

- Infant bed

 

Do you need a special offer for your family or for your working group? Are you planning your holiday in Sermoneta and you need suggestions (restaurants, turistic informations)? Write us an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone to 0039 3385265478 and we'll be happy to provide you a special offer

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