Priverno, a plunge into the Middle Ages
Priverno is a small medieval village perched on the Lepini Mountains.
The origins of Priverno are lost in time. Privernum, an important Volscian city, after numerous wars surrendered to Rome around 325 BC and became its colony. It fell at the break-up of the Roman Empire and was destroyed by the Saracens in the 9th century. It moved from the plains to the hills to defend itself more easily. It resurged from the 10th century onwards.
Around 730, it came under the control of the Pope until 1217. In the following centuries, although it belonged to the Papal State, Priverno always remained autonomous and was never subject to the feudal system.
Priverno is an extraordinary cultural and natural treasure chest.
From a distance, it reveals itself with the medieval historic heart arranged in a crown around Colle Rosso on the Monti Lepini, above the Amaseno valley. The historical centre, cut in two by Via Consolare, reveals a pleasant surprise with a riot of churches, stairways, picturesque sloping alleys, medieval palaces and hidden squares. In the central square, a flight of steps leads to the Cathedral of S. Maria Annunziata where the skull of St Thomas Aquinas, who died in the Abbey of Fossanova, is kept. There are several religious buildings worth a visit: the Church of San Nicola of uncertain Gothic origin, the Church of the Suffrage with frescoes by the Roman painter Giuseppe Camponeschi inside, the Church of S. Antonio Abate in Gothic-Cistercian style, the ancient Church of S. Benedetto with 13th-century frescoes, the former monastic complex of St. Clare and the former Bishop's Palace, where the Archaeological Museum retracing the life of ancient Privernum is now located. However, the most impressive religious building is located in the village of Fossanova: it is the Abbey of Fossanova, the first Cistercian monastic complex in Italy. It was here that St Thomas Aquinas passed away.
Priverno is a journey into the past.
The town takes you by the hand on a journey through antiquity and the Middle Ages. Just outside the town, you can admire the ancient remains of the Privernum Archaeological Area in Mezzagosta, in the heart of the Amaseno Valley. Step inside and let yourself be transported into the past by this open-air museum. Not far from the centre, in the village of Fossanova, you should visit the Museum of the Middle Ages which presents moments of medieval life in the 13th-century setting of the guest quarters of the Fossanova Abbey. Take part in the Medieval Festival.
This is the event held every year in August in the splendid village of Fossanova. A fun occasion to relive the atmosphere of the Middle Ages.
Three days of knights and damsels, acrobats and jugglers, archers and fire-eaters. You can enjoy yourself but also savour the exquisite delicacies that reflect the close ties with the territory:
Chiacchietegli (Slow Food praesidium), Falia (Slow Food Ark of Taste), the PGI Roman artichoke of Lazio, the PDO Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania and the PDO Buffalo Ricotta from Campania, the PDO extra virgin olive oil from the Pontine Hills, the PDO Gaeta olives and the PGI Latina kiwi.
Priverno means walking and nature.
The nearby Lepini Mountains with chestnut, beech, holm-oak and oak forests offer stimulating experiences if you love sport and nature. There are many paths for walking and cycling. The Via Francigena del Sud and the Cammino della Regina Camilla are two routes that also cross Priverno.
Slow and relaxing walks amid greenery to discover culture, environment and traditions. Priverno also has a true Natural Monument. It actually has a decree signed by the President of the Lazio Regional Authority.
It is the Bosco del Castello di San Martino. A natural oasis of 24 hectares with Mediterranean trees and rich fauna. The perfect place where you can walk and relax among twittering birds.
Priverno offers the charm of a bygone village.