Guide of Guidonia Montecelio

Guidonia is a ‘Fascist Planned Town’ inaugurated in 1937 and that was formed around the so-called “aviation city”. The military airport of Guidonia was created at the time of World War I alongside some of aviation training camps.

But the story of Guidonia is much older. Here, and in Tivoli, is a historical layer of travertine used since the times of Rome for the construction of architectural works.

The area was inhabited since the Neolithic period leading to the pre-Roman city of Corniculum, the pointed shape of the two hills that resemble two horns, conquered by Tarquin the Elder in the seventh century BC. The area was partially covered by a swamp of sulphurous water in the Aniene Valley. From the sixth century BC, the area was occupied by the Romans, who built their villas.

The medieval fortress was built on a temple of the first century BC on top of this hill when the citizens sought refuge on the heights against the Barbarians and then the Saracens.

Montecelio appears for the first time in a bull of Pope Benedict VII of 973 among the possessions of the Church of Tivoli. The fortress was built by Crescenzi, and saw control by the families of Orsini and Anguillara before entering the Papal States.

A significant increase in population occurred in the mid-sixteenth century, for jobs in the travertine quarries that supplied the construction of St. Peter’s in Rome. Bernini’s colonnade is from these quarries.

The return of the marsh and malaria affected these areas until the next reclamation in the early twentieth century thanks to which plenty of land became available on which were built an airport and military training centre.

The town was established on October 21, 1937. The first name comes from general aviation, Alessandro Guidoni, who died in 1928 while testing a parachute.

 


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