Formia is situated on the spectacular Gulf of Gaeta, and its name is derived from
the Greek word "Hormiai" meaning "a safe place to lay anchor".
Even back in Roman times it was a fashionable holiday resort for statesmen, and today
many ruins of ancient monuments of this era still exist. Some of these include: Tomb
of Cicero, the Muro di Nerva ( remains of the city
walls built be the Emperor Nerva), the Peschiere (fish hatcheries), the San Remigio
Fountain on a tract of the old Via Appia, the Criptoportici, and Villa Rubino, not
to mention all those detailed below.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, this area fell into decline and was
repeatedly attacked by the Barbarians and then by the Saracens. The townsfolk were
forced to take refuge in the surrounding hills. However, gradually over time, two
Except where photos have been rightfully accredited to the photographer / owner
The first, named Mola (di Gaeta), was situated on the waterfront, the second, positioned
on higher ground, on the remains of a Roman colony, was Castellone. In the 13th
century Charles II D’Anjour ordered the construction of defensive towers in each
of these villages and in the mid 1400’s Onorato I Caetani, Count of Fondi, built
a castle in Castellone. Each of these communities still has their own churches and
patron saints. Eventually, many years later in the 1800’s the two districts were
united to form the town of Formia as it is today.
As you approach the lower part of the Castellone district with the sea glistening
behind you, it’s as if walking back in time. Just outside the old city walls is
the 15th century Church of San Rocco, which has a 16th century triptych of the Virgin
and Child with San Rocco and San Sebastiano by by the Neapolitan painter Girolamo