Guide of Roccasecca

The history of Roccasecca is deeply linked to its geographical position at the entrance of two gorges that give access to Val Comino and is overlooked by Mount Asprano which allows control of the Valle del Liri. Its name is linked to the lack of water on the mountain and therefore for the castle (fortress).
Roccasecca was for centuries the only convenient point of passage for the armies that passed on the three Roman bridges over the river Melfa.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, these territories for a certain period belonged to the Duchy of Benevento, which was a kingdom of the Lombards that occupied central-southern Italy, excluding the extremities of Calabria and Puglia. The duchy was then transformed into a principality divided in turn into duchies and ‘gastaldati’ to administer the entire territory. Roccasecca was part of the Gastaldato of Aquino with the first noble title given to Rodiperto in 887 directly by the Longobard prince Adenolfo. These territories, as well as the first fortress in Montecassino, were all in defence of the Saracens who came from the sea and tried to penetrate the hinterland.

When in 986 the abbot Mansone was appointed as head of the Abbey of Montecassino, he had all of Monte Sant’Angelo donated to him by the Princes of Capua and started the construction of the castle of Roccasecca.
After the millenium the Lombards took over from the Normans and in this period in Roccasecca were bitter disputes between the local lords and the castle was the border post of the abbey for the control of the territory, while in the meantime the village was born and therefore so was a community.
One of the protagonists was San Tommaso d’Aquino who here had his castle, an important defensive bulwark placed in 994 in defence of the nearby monastery of Montecasssino.

Around 1157, the abbot of Montecassino placed a collateral branch of the D’Aquino family at the head of the fortified fortress, which would reign over the village for centuries. Saint Thomas D’Aquino was born from this branch.
Thanks to Frederick II of Swabia, there was a lucky moment for the family.
From 1550 the inhabitants of Roccasecca saw the Angevins, the Papal States, the Aragonese, alternating in the power of their castle, according to the Lord who at that moment dominated the Valle del Liri.
Since the end of the seventeenth century, Roccasecca, like all of southern Italy, ended up under the dominion of the Spaniards and the life of the town for two centuries was somewhat grim.

After the unification of Italy many Roccaseccani emigrated to look for work in the North or abroad. During the second world war, Roccasecca was chosen for its position, due to the presence of the railway station and of the bridge over the river Melfa, as headquarters of the XIV Panzerkorps by the Germans. Roccasecca then suffered hard and continuous bombardments by the Allies.
Today it is a city that has passed the mass industry era and has returned to a tourist-cultural dimension and to the enhancement of its immense heritage.

 


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