Province of Latina, Latium, Italy


About Formia

Formia is an Italian town of 38 032 inhabitants in the province of Latina in Lazio.

Physical geography


In the municipal area stands Mount Altino, which reaches 1368 on the summit. It is washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea and its main beaches are that of Vindicio and Gianola. It has many cultural heritage from the Roman era, including the tomb of the famous orator Cicero.


O temperate dulce Formiae litus .., the mildness of the climate declaimed by Martial in the epigram dedicated to his friend Apollinare and his villa Formiana is not a simple poetic expression but a reality; thanks to its position on the sea, protected by Gaeta to the west and the hills behind it, Formia boasts an enviable climatic condition, which together with the beaches of Vindicio, Acquatraversa, S. Janni and Gianola make it a sought after tourist destination.

Climate classification: zone C, 967 GR / G

Origins of the name

The toponym Formia is derived from the Greek Hormiae, Όρμιαι, landing place, to indicate the tranquility of the shelter provided by the gulf.


It was founded in ancient times by the Laconi. In Roman times it was called Formiae. From here passed the viarum queen, the Via Appia.

Lying right in the center of the Gulf of Gaeta, Formia has origins that are lost in myth and are linked to the legend of Troy and the pilgrimage of Ulysses on the way back. All the mythical tradition recalls this area as the land of the Lestrigoni, rough and primitive peoples, and the ships of Ulysses landed there and from which only his own managed to escape.

Of pre-Italic and Aurunca formation, as evidenced by the long and mighty wall of polygonal walls, largely preserved along the coast and in the district of Castellone, after the conquest of the territory by the Romans between the fifth and fourth centuries BC, part of the Latium adiectum. In the Roman legal system, Formia became civitas sine suffrage in 338 BC. (or perhaps 332 BC), because the passage through its territory had always been safe. This passage was strategically important for the Romans, so much so that the Via Appia was passed through the city in 312 BC. In 188 BC, Formia received full Roman citizenship.

Formia was a very popular tourist resort in Roman times as evidenced by the numerous remains of villas, among which the famous were those of Mamurra and Mecenate. On this stretch of the gulf one of his favorite country houses was built, also Cicero. Just in Formia Cicero had his death from the assassins of Antonio in December 43 BC. while trying to escape the proscriptions.

With the fall of the Western Roman Empire Formia was plundered and its inhabitants after the fall of the barbarians and the Greek-Gothic war, fled to the nearby hills, depopulating the town and then dividing into two nuclei, which later became suburbs of Gaeta: the one maritime of Mola di Gaeta, which took its name from the mills that were in operation, where a fort was erected at the end of the thirteenth century by Charles II of Anjou and in the hilly area that of Castellone. The name Castellone derives from the castle (Castel Leone, Castel Lione and finally Castellone) built by Onorato I Caetani, count of Fondi, around the second half of the 14th century.

Gardens with rich citrus groves have separated the two districts for centuries, as also chorographic maps from the 16th and 18th centuries show. The municipality was established in 1862, thanks to the merger of the villages of Castellone and Mola di Gaeta as well as the Maranola hamlet.

The city, during the Second World War, suffered heavy damage in January 1944 and in the following months, as it was located on the edge of the Gustav Line (known above all for the dramatic events of the destruction of Montecassino and for the bloody battles between the mountains of Mignano Monte Lungo). Much of the historical and artistic heritage of Formia has thus been lost; however, what remains is noteworthy.

Monuments and places of interest

Religious architecture

Church of Sant'Erasmo, a three-nave Renaissance-style church. Inside it preserves an anonymous 18th century painting, a funeral slab of the Dukes of Marzano from 1698 and the 18th century altar containing the wooden statue of the saint. Open on Sunday for the Holy Masses.

Chiesetta di Sant'Anna, formerly Santa Maria del Forno, because built near an oven, is located in the heart of the medieval village of Castellone and dates back to the 10th century, but rebuilt in a modern style and preserves a Renaissance apse fresco inside. Neapolitan school to object the birth of the Virgin and other works of the XVIII-XIX century. Built on a probable pagan temple, it has suffered various damages and thefts over the centuries. Open during the festival of the same name, on the evening of June 1st and in December of each year, when a beautiful nativity scene is set up there.

Source: Wikipedia
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