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Atina and the Val di Comino

Montattico & Monforte

The small village of Montattico sits above Casalattico, at a height of 700 meters, and has commanding panoramic views of the Val di Comino.  

It takes its name from the 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.

Back in 1837 Montattico was struck by a devastating outbreak of cholera which claimed the lives of many of the local inhabitants, causing great suffering and despair. On July 29th of that year the local people got together and formed a solemn procession of penance through the streets of the town and beseeched the Madonna della Pace to release them from this terrible pestilence. They walked barefoot, with a rope around their necks and each wearing a crown of thorns. It is said that their prayers were answered and that from that day forward there were no more cases of cholera in the village.

The Church of the Madonna della Pace and a local chapel in the village of Montattico.

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In the village there are the remains of a Medieval tower and in the surrounding countryside there are several well preserved wells that were created by the local farmers and herdsmen for the collection of precious rainwater. There are also many interesting mountain trails to follow.

Emigration also took a toll on the number of inhabitants of Montattico, with many of the local people departing overseas in search of a new life. However in the summer months many native families return to the village of their roots.

From Montattico a road climbs a tortuous route to a tiny backwater, the small hamlet of Monforte.  This place takes its name from Lord Charles Forte, a renowned British caterer and hotelier who was born here.  In 1911 his poor peasant family, and he aged just four years of age, emigrated to Scotland to work in the ice-cream and confectionery trade. Charles went on to establish a huge business empire.  He always had a sincere affection for his humble place of birth and would often return there and restored the family house. The hamlet was formerly known as Mortale but was renamed in Charles Forte’s honour.

The hamlet of Monforte.

The church of Sant’Antonio di Padova in Monforte. The feast day of the village’s patron saint is celebrated on the 13th June each year.

Below is a photo taken outside the church of La Madonna del Pace of the Madonna de Canneto. While the Santuario di Canneto was undergoing repair,  the Madonna went on tour around all the villages of the Val di Comino.

photo © Silvana Macari  

A winter view over the mountains from Montattico.