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Isola del Liri: a unique wonder of nature, history and architecture

In the province of Frosinone, at the center of a valley surrounded by hills, Isola del Liri (or Isola Liri) offers a setting unique at least in Europe.

The Liri River surrounds the historic center, forking into two cascades at the exact spot on the rock on which the Boncompagni Viscogliosi Castle stands.

A national monument formerly a medieval fortress placed to protect the valley. The two waterfalls are not symmetrical.

An authentic romantic “postcard” to visit with camera, canvases and brushes

While the waters of the magnificent Cascade Grande (with a 27-meter drop) run downstream, those of the Cascade of Valcatoio feed an ancient paper mill.

The famous Béranger-Coste paper mill is now the Paper and Telecommunication Civilization Museum.

A delightful image of the village, painted in 1793 by French painter Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld, is on display in the Louvre to the pride of the people of Lyre.

In addition to the castle, with a small church inside, which is also in great demand for weddings, the historic center has other artistic and architectural treasures stemming from its medieval origin. Let’s read a little history

The present name is derived from the first recorded name: Insula Filiorum Petri

That is, Isola dei figli di Pietro Gastaldo (official of the royal court) di Sora (main center of the place). Even earlier, in document from 1004, a locality called Colle dell’Isola is recorded. After the unification of Italy in 1863 it became Isola near Sora, and in 1869 it was given its present name.

Dating back to Ancient Rome, the origin is linked to the municipalities of Arpinum and Sora, which shared the present municipal territory. In medieval times it fell alternately under Byzantine and Lombard rule. It was a fief of the Dell’Isola family, later passing to the Cantelmo and Boncompagni families.

In 1579 Pope Gregory XIII , famous for the reform of the calendar known as the “Gregorian” calendar, purchased the fiefdom from the Della Rovere family to give it to his son, Duke Giacomo Boncompagni. Joachim Marat’s administrative reorganization during the Kingdom of Naples brought Isola del Liri back under the control of the Duchy of Sora.

In the 1820s the industrial development of paper mills facilitated by the Liri River began. In the early 20th century, hydroelectric power generation began, which also enabled the establishment of important woolen mills.

Isola del Liri today: tourist center with fine handicraft production

The bombings that razed nearby Cassino and its famous Abbey in World War II did not spare local industries. Postwar attempts at industrial recovery were unsuccessful.

Today the town is a busy tourist center favored in part by its good location in an area rich in natural, historical and cultural attractions. Local crafts are expressed in the art of weaving and the production of stylish furniture.

The cuisine of popular character is excellent with specialties to try in local restaurants. Starting with Finifini, wafer-thin fettuccine with meat sauce prepared over low heat, Sagne e fagioli and Timballi di patate. The variation in the volume of water in the river allows, or not, the presence of fish on menus: shrimp, trout and spiny dogfish.

A catch that can also come to the table from nearby Lake Fibreno. For the holidays: abbacchi and capretti; Crespelle at Christmas; Susamelli (cookies with honey) and Pigna (pasta with raisins and candied fruit) at Easter.

With the Blog of Rome and Latium Region, Around Rome guides you to discover the territories for the pleasure of satisfying curiosity and putting culture at the service of people and businesses.

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Edited by il NETWORK | text Andrea Franchiniphoto Ezio Bocci

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