There are places full of history, well-known and related stories, places that are visible and admired. Then there are memories of buildings and places that no longer exist, of which there is very little known. These have been handed down as stories byof our elders who and they could start like all the fairy tales with “once upon a time”.
So, once upon a time there was Piazza del Carbonaro and its Church in Torre Cajetani (Guide of Torre Cajetani), a village on a hill of the Ernici Mountains near Fiuggi (Guide of Fiuggi). A village built around the castle Teofilatto (The Incredible Story of the Teofilatto Castle) and that takes its name from the famous Pope Bonifacio VIII who had moved his headquarters into these parts to be able to treat his kidney stones with miraculous waters.
So Zi Checco (historical story teller of the town) loved to tell:
“At the Casa Nove there was a Medieval Church, the fountain stands once there was an altar and the sacristy next to it. When I was a small boy they used to shelter animals there ….”
Many Torrigiani will have heard these words from their grandparents and the mind of us boys made flights of fancy that led you directly to the Middle Ages and to eras that no longer exist
It was all the fault of the earthquake of the Marsica of 1915, also called the earthquake of Avezzano or Sora (Guide of Sora), with its epicenter just behind these mountains that take their name from the ancient people of the Ernici. The earthquake changed the face of the town bringing destruction on one side and then a rapid construction of new housing on the other.
The lawyer Teofilatto described the present “new houses” in the Pro-Loco book (page 25):
“After the moat, still on the west side of the castle, there was a “courtyard” or “castellaro” or “bastia “, a large esplanade intended for market and party activities, which went as far as the current cemetery and covered the area of current social housing up to the lake. Beyond this place the ruins of a vast medieval church had been preserved, and was demolished to make way for the construction of the homes for the earthquake victims of 1915 “.
The Church was not really medieval, its construction began in 1793 but was never completed. About its name, in reality, little is known. An old woman of the village remembered that it should be dedicated to San Sebastiano, while Don Mariano Morini (Torre Cajetani book edited by Pro Loco, page 138) in his work of copying the Statutes of Torre, states that it was dedicated to San Michele in Carbonaro .
Today nothing remains of that church and that square, there are some faded photos of some walls and some yellowed paper of the Gregorian land registry. There are only those memories handed down by our elders and for this reason it is right that they should be recorded and then “remembered”.
On the ruins of the Church, around 1930, the homes for the earthquake victims of 1915 were built, designed by the engineer Fortunati. About the engineer there would be some interesting curiosities to tell, about both a road and his dad, but that is another “fairy tale” …
In the meantime we can advise you not to miss a visit to Torre Cajetani with its castle of unique and amazing history, with its Operetta Museum (The Museum of Operetta in Torre Cajetani) and especially with its young people who are rediscovering and improving this charming village.