The Village of Campodimele
The picturesque medieval village of Campodimele is perched high on a hilltop at an altitude of 645 metres. It is situated a little inland from the town of Itri in South Lazio, between the two mountain ranges of the Aurunci and Ausoni. The head of the Aurunci Natural Regional Park is located in Campodimele. In Italy the village has been classified as being one of the most beautiful in the country.
The village of Campodimele has been awarded the European title of The Village of Eternal Youth as it is noted for the longevity of its citizens. It seems that they are a particularly hardy breed, who seldom have the need to visit a doctor. In 1985 the World Health Organization sent researchers to the village to discover its secret. It seems that many of the villagers possess a dominant gene which keeps their blood pressure low and cholesterol levels minimal. Other contributing factors may be the healthy mountain air, the less stressful pace of life, and consuming olive oil as an integral part of a healthy Mediterranean diet made of good fresh wholesome local ingredients. The elderly also keep themselves active and are not left to grow old alone. Perhaps we should all take a leaf out of their books
The Main Square and Theatre
From the main square, outside of the town walls, there are beautiful views of the verdant valley, which has a wonderful patchwork of fields intermittently dotted with traditional old farmhouses. Just off this square an outdoor theatre has been built into the hillside, similar in style to that of a Roman amphitheatre, which has seating for up to 1000 people.
The Medieval Town Wall
The medieval village is encircled by sturdy stone walls with twelve turrets. Ancient houses have been built, embedded into the defensive structure. There is also a path, known Locally as Lovers Lane, which winds its way around the village. From here, once again, there are beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, countryside and of the Liri Valley.
The Town Hall and Piazza Municipio
Within the town walls, in Piazza Municipio, stands the Town Hall. The square was created around a centrepiece. Here there is an ancient elm tree that was planted on this spot around the time of the French Revolution.
The Historic Centre of the Village
Access to the medieval centre is only possible on foot. It is a delight to wander around the narrow twisting cobbled alleyways. Here there are little piazzettas, covered passageways, pretty gardens with ancient mill stones, balconies with geraniums, murals and many interesting doorways.
In one area of the village there is a small childrens park and play area. Close-by there is a beautiful mosaic by Giovanni Repossi, known as the Monumento all’Emigrante. It is dedicated to all the emigrants of Campodimele.
Nearby is the town’s War Memorial. There is also a bronze bell commemorating members of the Caribinieri who fought and were killed during the fight against viscous brigands and outlaws who troubled this area during the 19th century. In addition there are two statues, the first is the Monumento del Pastore and the second is a religious statue of Santo Pio.