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Guide of Isola del Liri

Isola del Liri is named after a small island that was formed just behind the waterfall of the Liri River. Thanks to its shape, Isola del Liri has played a strategic role during the Volsci period.

In 305 BC, it was subjugated by Rome and, during the Roman period, two important communication roads crossed the river in this area, so the country became an important trading centre.

These roads were used at least until the IV century AD, after this date the first document on Isola del Liri dates comes from 1010 when it is mentioned in a document by the governor of Sora and Arpino.

In 1100, it is mentioned in a bull of Pope Paschal where it refers to a castle of ‘Isola di Sora’, the ancient name of Isola del Liri.

The papacy and Kingdom of Naples fought for dominion over these lands for years and, in the town, you can clearly see traces of domination by each.

Isola del Liri had its first period of glory during the 15th century thanks to the Boncompagni family, originally from Bologna and connected to Pope Gregory XIII, who acquired the Duchy of Sora. For many years, it was home to the dukes of Sora and the administrative centre of the Duchy.

In these years, the ancient castle guarding the river was transformed into a palace and became the residence chosen by the Boncompagni family. The magnificent palace was enriched with gardens and a theatre while two drawbridges connected it to the two banks of the Liri River.

The Boncompagni family built the first silk and wool processing factories and also built the urban structure of the village over the centuries.

In 1796, Isola del Liri passed under Bourbon rule and with the French Revolution began a ‘dark’ phase of terror, especially because of opposition to the new conquerors by local brigands. The most famous brigand is ‘Mammon’ and his force provoked the anger of the French who destroyed and looted Isola del Liri.

After the Napoleonic departure, it had another great period of glory in the nineteenth century when the first paper mills were installed. Between 1821 and 1841, industries were born and later, thanks to the availability of water for plants along the Liri River, several paper mills were commenced and then the related industries such as felt-making started.

The first factory was founded in 1805 by Simoncelli. Paper mills, woollen mills and felt factories prospered over the course of the century.

During the Second World War, it has been bombed extensively by the allies, the citizens were displaced, several factories were destroyed and much machinery vanished. The post-war economy grew due to the illegal trade in cigarettes produced by hand from paper stockpiles.