Campodimele in South Lazio Italy

The History of Campodimele

Early History

Village of Campodimele in South Lazio Italy
Village of Campodimele in Latina South Lazio Italy
Village of Campodimele in Latina South Lazio Italy

It is thought that the village was founded on the ruins of an ancient Latin fortified settlement named Apiola. This was destroyed by Lucius Tarquinius Priscus in 579 BC.  The ruins of this ancient town are still visibile, located 6 km from the present village centre. In the 6th century AD the Lombards established a settlement, and during the 7th century it became the possession of the Monastery of Montecassino. In 916 it came under the rule of the Duchy of Gaeta and was known as Campo de Melle. The medieval town was encircled by formidable fortified walls, with 12 towers,. 11 cylindrical and one square in shape. In 1220 Campodimele passed to the Dell’Acquila family, in 1384 ownership passed to the Caetani family and then in 1497 it was gifted to Prospero Colonna.

Giuglia Gonzaga and Barbarossa

In 1534 the area of Sperlonga and Fondi came under attack by the fierce Turkish pirate Khair-ed-Din, also known as Barbarossa. His plan was to capture Giulia Gonzaga, the beautiful countess of Fondi, and present her to Sultan Suleiman. However The countess managed to flee from Fondi and found refuge in the village of Campodimele.

The Bourbon Era

In the following centuries Campodimele became under the control of various other noble families until the abolition of feudalism in 1806. During the Bourbon era the village was on the border between the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies, to the south, and the Papal States towards the north. King Ferdinando II often used to visit this area and the nearby sanctuaries of the Madonna della Civita, San Onofrio and San Michele Arcangelo. He ordered improvements to be carried out to the local roads connecting Itri with Campodimele and Pico.