Cori sits elegantly on a hill at the foot of the Lepini Mountains, looking towards the Pontine Plain and the Tyrrhenian sea. On sunny days you can see the Circeo and the islands of the Pontine archipelago.
Its geographical characteristic has always led it to be divided in two parts between an upper and a lower part called respectively Cori Monte and Cori Valle.
Its roots are deep as Cori dates back to at least the Bronze Age and there are many legends about its birth and its ancient name of Cora. According to some it was founded by a Trojan named Dardano or by Enea himself who had come to Lazio after the defeat of Troy and was among the progenitors of Rome. Another legend links it to Troy and tells of a Corace soldier who founded it and called it by his name. According to other stories, however, Cora would have been built by a king of Alba Longa, one of the cities of ancient Lazio founded by the son of Aeneas and conquered by the Roman kings in 673 BC. In any case, Cori is mentioned in Virgil’s Aeneid.
In the sixth century BC, in the Bronze Age, Cora was already an important city with its impressive polygonal walls, its social status and a currency called ‘Koran’ and it was probably inhabited by the Volsci.
All of its history changed when the Romans conquered Alba Longa and begin their expansion into southern Lazio, beginning a war with the cities of the Latin League. The League and Cori were defeated and 300 inhabitants were killed in the Roman Forum by Appius Claudius.
Soon Cori became an important federated Roman city, helping in its expansion towards Priverno and Fondi, and Cori was essential in the Punic Wars against the Carthaginians. For this reason it became a Municipium with the symbol SPQC – Senatus Popolusque Corensis, i.e. the Senate and the People of Cora – and was attributed to the Papyrian group. This meant that Cori had its own administrative autonomy
The fall of the Roman Empire undermined everything already established and this part of Southern Lazio suffered the incursions of Barbarians and Saracens, such as that of 832. There is not much news from these centuries and the first written documents concerns the small Benedictine monastery of the SS. Trinity of Cori mentioned by Pope Pasquale II in 1114.
In 1167 Cori was sacked by the troops of Federico Barbarossa and in 1211 it became a fief of the Annibaldi family. But feudal rule lasted only a few years with, in 1234, Pope Gregory IX placing it under papal sovereignty and Cori became a free commune whose headquarters were the same as where the present municipality still stands. This condition has brought her wealth and the enrichment by many beautiful medieval buildings.
According to the statute, Cori was governed by a podestà, three priors (one for each gate and ward), a detail council and a general council. From 1512 the mayor was appointed from Rome every 6 months while the priors were drawn by lot in the church of Sant’Oliva every first Sunday of October.
In 1363 the province of Marittima was created and in 1410, after a brief period in which it was invaded by Ladislao of Durazzo, Cori definitively became part of the territory of the church with the status of ‘feud of the Roman senate’. The statue from the 1st century BC of Minerva, which is located in Piazza del Campidoglio, is a gift from Cori and the colors ‘yellow and red’ of Cori denote its particular status and its link with Rome.
In 1870 Cori entered the Italian state and was given the fraction of Giulianello.
Cori suffered bombing during the Second World War which had the particular consequence of rediscovering the ancient Roman Cori.
Today it is a thriving city famous for its history represented by the group of the Cori flag-wavers who perform all over the world, for its artistic heritage and for the quality of its food. The Cori oil and the DOC wines from the native vines of Bellone, Nero Buono di Cori and Greco Moro di Cori.