Cisterna di Latina

Province of Latina, Latium, Italy

Cisterna di Latina
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About Cisterna di Latina

Cisterna di Latina is a city and comune in the province of Latina in Lazio, central Italy. It was the scene of the battle of Cisterna in January 1944.

The garden of Ninfa is located in the territory of the municipality.

The city, then known as Tres Tabernae ("The three taverns") is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as one of the cities where Saint Paul stopped on his way to Rome.


In Finocchione, in the territory of Cisterna, traces of prehistoric human presence have been discovered. In historical times, the Volsci founded here their still unidentified center called Ulubrae, although the lost city of Suessa Pometia could also be located nearby. Ulubrae is mentioned by Orazio, Plinio il Vecchio, Svetonio, Cicerone and Giovenale, referring to the numerous patrician villas built here. According to Suetonius, Augustus lived here in his family villa until the age of eighteen.

A village, called Tres Tabernae, originated from 312 BC. as a postal station on the Via Appia, whose name derives from the presence of three taverns. The site is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as the place where Saint Paul stopped during his trip to Rome, and was hosted by the local Christian community. Around the third century AD, the area was invaded by swamps and the inhabitants of Ulubrae probably moved to Tres Tabernae, which grew in importance and became a Christian bishop's site with an early Christian cathedral dedicated to Saint Paul. In 307, Emperor Flavius Severus was assassinated here by Heraclius, by order of the rival usurper Maxentius. The barbarian invasions in Italy caused further expansion of the marshes and Tres Tabernae declined until, in 592, Pope Gregory I joined his diocese to that of Velletri. Later in the early Middle Ages, Tres Tabernae was devastated several times by the Saracens, until it was completely destroyed in 868.

The inhabitants moved to a nearby small hill, which is mentioned for the first time around 1000 AD. as Terra di Cisterna, which, according to tradition, derived from Cisterna Neronis ("Cisterna di Nerone). An ancient cistern still exits today under Palazzo Caetani on top of the hill, Cisterna housed a Benedictine abbey dedicated to Sant'Eleuterio (in later abandoned) and was a fief of the counts of Tusculum, who ceded it to the Frangipani in 1146. The latter reinforced it with a line of walls and a fortress (castle) In 1159 Pope Alexander III fled here to escape the emperor Federico Barbarossa who, in retaliation, he destroyed the village, which was later rebuilt by the Frangipani and in 1328 was again besieged and devastated by the emperor Louis IV.

In 1504 Pope Julius II assigned Cisterna to the Caetani. Their member Bonifacio Caetani renewed the city and, after having demolished it, rebuilt the castle as a patrician palace that still exists.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Pope Pius VI launched a reclamation project for the area, but this was blocked by the arrival of French troops during the French revolutionary wars. The Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen stopped here in 1840. The city, after a plebiscite, changed its name to the Cisterna di Roma. A new reclamation project began under the fascist government in 1929, in an era when marshes and swamps occupied a large part of the municipal area; this led to the creation of the nearby major center of Littoria (modern Latin); the city was renamed Cisterna di Littoria as part of the newly created province of Latina.

During the Second World War, Cisterna was the site of a battle between Germans and allies in 1944. 96% of the city's buildings were destroyed until the area was conquered by the Allies on March 25, 1944. The city was later rebuilt, in particular in the 70s, after numerous industries were founded in the area with the support of the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno: the inhabitants of Cisterna passed from about 7,000 in the 1940s around the nineteenth century. 30,000 in the 80s. In the 70s it became an important kiwi production center. After the abolition of the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno, the industrial sector gradually lost importance and unemployment increased considerably in the territory.

Main attractions

Ninfa Gardens

Source: Wikipedia
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