Via Francigena



According to tradition, the place has a legendary past: it is said that this was the mythical town of the Laestrygones where Ulysses landed and where Aeneas stopped during this voyage to Lavinius.

The town probably dates back to the Auruna people and the place was later occupied by the Volsci before becoming part of Lazio. According to historical sources the first documented information about the town dates back to 338 B.C. and it is known that in 88 B.C. the town obtained Roman citizenship.

The ancient Formiae was a town of great strategic importance at economic and commercial level thanks to its position along the Via Appia, between Capua and Rome.

The place was a favourite of the Romans for holidays; the presence of the sea, the mild climate, the beautiful nature in its surroundings and, last but not least, its closeness to Rome made it a very attractive place for building the holiday homes of illustrious people, including that of the famous Roman orator Cicero.

After becoming a Roman colony during the age of Hadrian, Formia enjoyed a period of great prosperity during the whole Empire, but during the IV century it went into decline, due, first of all, to the Longobard occupation and in 850 by its destruction by the Saracens, an event that forced the survivors to seek refuge in nearby Gaeta.

Following the short period of Saracen domination, defeated by Pope John X in 915, two villages rose from the ruins of the ancient Formiae: Castelnuovo the hub of the ancient Acropolis, later called Castellone due to the presence of a castle built by the Count of Fondi, Onorato I Caetani at the end of the fourteenth century, and Mola di Gaeta, situated in a lower position.

The two villages remained separated for centuries by fields and citrus groves but were joined in 1819 into the Municipality called Mola and Castellone, acquiring their current name following the creation of the Kingdom of Italy.

During the Second World War, Formia suffered heavy damages, but it still preserves very valuable historical and artistic testimonies, such as the National Archaeological Museum, the Roman theatre, the Roman cistern, the church of Saint Teresa and Cicero’s Tomb.



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