Castellonorato in South Lazio Italy

Castellonorato is a small suburb of the municipality of Formia.  Nearby are the villages of Trivio and Maranola. It is perched on a steep rocky ridge, long and narrow in form, at a height of 308 metres Behind it stand the impressive peaks of the Aurunci Mountain chain. Castellonorato has 360 degree panoramic views of the Ausente Valley, the Garigliano Plain and the Gulf of Gaeta. On clear days there are splendid views towards Naples, Ischia, Procida and Capri and some of the Pontine Islands.

History of Castellonorato

A township (Castrum Honorati) with a formidable fortress was constructed by the Caetani family who owned much of the terrain situated between Terracina and the Garigliano River. Onorato I Caetani built a chain of defensive fortifications and watch towers to guard against sea-faring invaders. Legend says that when Onorato Caetani died he was buried in his suit of golden armour as he had ordered on his death bed.

The Caetani Tower

Today, in the heart of the old Medieval village the central tower (14th century) is all that remains of the ancient fortification. Severly damaged during the Second World War In recent years it has been restored and brought back to its former glory. It is now privately owned.
Two entrance gates lead into the walled town with its narrow streets and alleyways.

After the abolition of feudalism in 1806 the village was joined to the nearby village of Maranola. In 1852 it once again gained its independence, however in 1928 it became part of the municipality of Formia

Church of Santa Caterina

The main church is dedicated to Santa Caterina, who is the patron saint of the town together with San Rocco.  The church is of simple design with a bell tower and contains a statue of the Madonna della Colomba, and behind the altar is a beautiful 18th century painting  by Andrea Mattei. Adjacent to the church is the Torre Campanaria.  Below the old clock is a plaque made from tiles of majolica depicting  Castellonorato’s coat of arms.

The Chapel of San Rocco

In the past there were several rural churches in the area dedicated to San Rocco, San Nicola, Santa Margherita, San Vincenzo, San Matteo and Sant’Anna.  The only two remaining are the tiny Chapel of the Madonna della Columba, dating back to 1236 situated near the spring of  Palommaro. The chapel contains an ancient fresco of the Madonna.