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Guide of Bellegra

Bellegra is located on the top of Monte Celeste, at 815 meters, and overlooks the beautiful valley of the Sacco River and the Aniene River Valley. From its best vantage point we can see as many as 52 towns, from Lake Bracciano to Frosinone.

Like many towns in the Lazio region, its origins are pre-Roman and the original town was surrounded by cyclopean walls. It was the ancient Vitellia of the seventh century BC and the area has been inhabited by Ernici, then by the Equi, a people of hunters and warriors, and finally by the Romans. Around 390 BC the Romans conquered Vitellia and founded a colony there.

Around the tenth century the current medieval village was founded at the time that the population of the valleys came to live in the mountains gathering around a castle to seek refuge from the Barbarians. They chose a name similar to that of ‘small town’ in old Roman language so the village was given the name of Civitella, a name that was kept until the nineteenth century AD.

The name ‘Civitella’ appears for the first time in a document of 967 by Otto I, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, which lists the properties granted to the monastery of Subiaco. So, from the beginning of its life, the village was put under the control of the powerful Benedictine monastery.

About 1051 Civitella disappeared from the records of Subiaco, and was governed by Landone, an aggressive knight belonging to a Neapolitan family that had arrived in the area of Subiaco with the Normans.

Landone had many bitter clashes with the abbot of the monastery of Subiaco, and the two had even fought in the open field. During these struggles first the abbot jailed and imprisoned Landone in the prison of the monastery, then Landone captured the abbot and locked him in his own prison. The fights ended with the arrival of a new abbot from the Abbey of Farfa and excommunication of Landone by the Roman council in 1081.

Back under the control of the monastery, the Abbot in charge obtained from the Colonna feudal lords milling of their grain for free in the “abbey” mills of Subiaco. Bellegra belonged until 1639 to the Diocese of Palestrina, then to the Abbey of Subiaco.

In October 1880, the town authorities changed the name from Civitella to Bellegra. Bellegra now finds itself in the Province of Rome next to the border with Frosinone. During the second world war, the view was so amazing that the German forces chose Bellegra as a lookout centre and there are still some bunkers to play in. In 2012 a cultural agreement was signed between Bellegra and Hilchenbach (Germany) to promote learning of Italian and German languages.