Monte San Giovanni Campano
MUNICIPALITY OF monte san giovanni campano
only the historical centre
mt. 420 a.s.l.
12.776 (650 in the borgo)
San Tommaso d’Aquino, March 7th
Tourist office, piazza G. Marconi – Ph. 0775 289980/81/82
Town hall Library, via San Luigi 9 – Ph. 0775 289541
The name Monte means “mount” and refers to the phenomenon of fortifications, when the barbarian invasions forced inhabitants to take refuge in more secure and protected higher places.
The name San Giovanni comes from the sixth century Benedictine monastery, which is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist.
The adjective Campano derives from the Italian Campagna (“country-side”), one of the provinces of the Papal States which the village belonged to. It was added in 1872 in order to differentiate it from the other Monte San Giovanni that already existed in Lazio.
The centre of Monte San Giovanni Campano is simply called Il Borgo. It was built along the slope of a 420 meter high rocky hill and consists of a fortified centre, the Castle, and a settlement which develops around the hill made of houses crowded together. Almost all the external walls have loopholes.
An imposing city wall, of which only a few parts remain today, defended the north-eastern side of the borgo, while the other sides were protected by cliffs and rugged rocky slopes. Around the perimeter of the town there are 36 square and cylindrical turrets, which are now incorporated into the peripheral houses or hidden from view by vegetation.
Originally there were five gates, of which only three remain, called Codarda, Rendola and Scrima. The other two, Valle and Rione, were sacrificed in order to amplify the transport network. Of interest in the well preserved Castle, is a visit to the sumptuous Renaissance palace, and its many other interesting buildings, the cell where Saint Thomas was held by the brothers of the Confraternity, which was later was turned into a chapel, and two towers, one of which is of a curious pentagonal shape.
Very little remains of Palazzo Ducale. It was made up of five floors and its peculiarity was that it was higher than the main tower. The last three floors were pulled down because of earthquakes in 1703 and then in 1915. The main tower faces on to the court square, the highest point of the historical centre, which offers a panoramic view that sweeps from the Ernici Mountains to the Marsica mountains, from the Meta mountains to the Cairo, Aurunci, Ausoni and Lepini mountains.
On the same square you can see the elegant building of the Bargello.
The Collegiate church of Santa Maria della Valle is the main church of the village, it was destroyed by the artillery of Charles VIII, and then rebuilt from its foundations in the sixteenth century with a Latin cross plan, based on a project of the Bramante school.
The church has an artistic bronze portal made by the sculptor Tommaso Gismondi, and contains a wooden statue about two metres high, of Our Lady of Suffrage, which has been attributed to an artist of the Flemish school.
On the same square of the Collegiate, Piazza Marconi, there is Palazzo Comunale, the Town Hall, in which the beautiful council chamber is worth visiting.
The remaining Church of Santa Margherita with its partly walled up Romanesque bell tower, and San Pietro fuori le mura , which was built in the twelfth century, with its Greek cross plan, are worth visiting.
On a lonely hill a few kilometres away from the village is the Capuchin Monastery. It was built in 1260 and was completely restored by order of Vittoria Colonna, the wife of the feudal lord Ferdinando d’Avalos.
In 1531 the monastery was donated, with its surrounding plot of land, by Antonella dei Conti d’Aquino to the new order of Capuchin Friars Minor.
Of great interest is the cloister and the church, which is dedicated to both John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.
The library preserves some precious incunabula, which were donated to the friars by Giovan Thomaso Cimello from Monticiano, a sixteenth century writer and musician.
Worth of note is the ham and all its by-products such as salami and cold cooked meats and also the sheep and goats cheese.
Thanks to the good quality of its Olive-oil, Monte San Giovanni Campano is inserted in the list of “The Cities of Oil”.
Frantoio La Ciera dei Colli
“Olio biologico, quello buono!”
Via Santa Filomena snc
+39 339 4058909 – 328 1044602