Subiaco is a major centre east of Rome in the Simbruini mountains and is crossed by the Aniene river, which joins the Tiber in Rome. It has been inhabited since Roman times and here the Emperor Nero built one of his many villas.
After being destroyed by the passage of the Barbarians, Subiaco Western civilization was reborn with monasticism. In fact in the sixth century AD, Saint Benedict spent some time here as a hermit among the remains of a villa and, during that period, founded 13 monasteries on the ruins of Roman villas. Saint Benedict was then be joined by his twin sister St. Scholastica who formed a nunnery.
The Benedictine convents were then destroyed by the Saracens and only the monastery of St. Scholastica has survived to the present day. The abbey experienced a period of splendour between the eleventh and twelfth century when it was the centre of the administrative life of a vast territory.
Subiaco experienced feudalism with different families, from Borgia in 1467 to Colonna in 1492, the Borghese in 1608 and then the Barberini in 1633.
Subiaco was for centuries the “industrial centre” of the Papal States, that had their headquarters here for the Pope’s support activities, such as the mint, the paper mill and processing of precious metals.
In 1465 the monastery of St. Scholastica printed the first book in Italy, the famous Lattanzio Subiaco.