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Atina and the Val di Comino


The village of Casalattico, encircled by mountains, sits at a height of 420 metres, overlooking the surrounding picturesque countryside of the Val di Comino.

Casalattico and the nearby village of Montattico take their name from an influential Roman, Titus Pomponius Atticus (109 BC - 32 BC), who had a villa constructed in this vicinity.  An ancient stone was discovered near to the Camposanto / Monforte area inscribed in both Latin and Greek. It  refers to a road being built, at his own expense, by Gaius Pomponius Tigra, freedman of Gaius Pomponius.

Pomponius Atticus had been a governor of the Greek province of Attica, where he became a very wealthy man.  He transported back numerous Greek slaves, and even to this day, some of the local people of the Montattico area bear strong Greek characteristics, and the common surname of Macari has Greek origins (ie Makarios).  Pomponius Atticus was a close friend of Cicero the notable Roman orator, writer and statesman.  There are several Roman remains to be found in the Casalattico area including a Roman road and bridge spanning the River Melfa.

There were also settlements here during the Middle Ages, which were known by the name of “Monte Casale” or “Casale Attico” which later transformed to Montattico  and Casalattico.  

From the end of the 900’s the area was plagued by raids from the Visogoths, Lombards, Saracens and Hungarian invaders.  The local people retreated to higher ground where they were better able to defend themselves.  Thus Casale became a small fortified town with a commanding view of the River Melfa below and its mills. Some remains of the town walls and a semi-circular tower, which looks towards Casalvieri, are still visible today.  

Also, during the rule of the Counts of Marsi, a watch tower was constructed in nearby Montattico, as well as the fortification of Rocca Malcucchiara on a hill facing Atina to guard the Cassino Valley.  Such fortifications enabled agricultural settlements to develop and flourish once again in the  Comino Valley.

During this period the monastery of Sant’Angelo di Pesco Mascolino was founded in the area below in the valley at San Nazario, on the left bank of the River Melfa.  It was built on the remains of a Roman temple and the original construction was most likely destroyed during the above mentioned raids, however it was soon reconstructed and became one of the largest Benedictine monasteries in the area, which also had a Mill.

On 9th September 1349 a violent earthquake devastated the entire valley.

Over time the terrain was ruled by the abbots of Montecassino, the princes of Capua and by the Marsi, Aquino and Boncomagni families. In the late 1800’s the terrain passed to the Kingdom of Naples. The area was notoriously plundered by robbers and brigands who preyed on the local inhabitants and travellers alike.

The old Medieval village of Casalattico is very quaint, with a friendly atmosphere.  It consists of just one main street with many little alleyways leading off it.

The main church is dedicated to San Barbato Bishop of Benevento was built in 1517.

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Last Update May 2016

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