Acquafondata is a small town in the Val Comino that was built on the bottom of the ancient lake called ‘Vitecosum’ located at an altitude of over 900 meters at the foot of the Meta Mountains.
The name Acquafondata (deep-water) is due to the presence of a lake or a dried up water source and the village was formed in the Middle Ages near the Abbey of Montecassino. At that phase of its history, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the role of the monasteries was to preserve what was still left of the ancient Greek and Latin culture and to rebuild a socio-economic fabric.
It was thanks to the Benedictine monks that the population returned to using ancient knowledge, to masterfully work the land and to live in communities around fortified military camps (castrums). The territory of Acquafondata was donated to the monks by the Lombard princes who had their kingdom in the Duchy of Benevento.
The castrum then transformed into a castle around 1000 and was governed by the Counts of Venafro which were in opposition to the Monastery of Montecassino in some areas. From 1089 Montecassino regained full control over Acquafondata that became the ‘Land of San Benedetto’. Thanks to the monks, Acquafondata maintained a certain prosperity even after the terrible earthquake of Cassino in 1349.
Acquafondata then entered the Bourbon Kingdom and in the nineteenth century was invaded and sacked by Napoleon’s French troops. As a result of this aggression begin of brigandage began that were not linked to the simple theft but to the fight against the invaders and their abuses, and through these territories the band of ‘Gaetano Mammone’ passed. Here the famous Fra Diavolo, born in Itri and originally a member of the Bourbon army, had a clash with the French army.
After the unification of Italy in these areas there was a strong resistance by brigands and many inhabitants joined the bands of Domenico Fuoco and Antonio Gentile. Their stories are still very much remembered in the oral tradition.
During the Second World War, Acquafondata was located along the Gustav line (on the side of Cassino) and near the Reinhard Line (on the Molise side) of resistance of the German army and was completely destroyed by the Allied bombing. The population also suffered personal violence and rape by Moroccan troops within the French army.