History of Ferentino


See Ferentino guide for highlights and historic monuments

Ferentino is located north of the province of Frosinone at about 400 meters above sea level.

Around 493 BC the league of the Ernici,  of which was part “Ferentino”, came under Roman influence against  the Volsci, who was repeatedly attacked, and then finally defeated. “Ferentino” became part of the Roman State with the population obtaining citizenship.

Origins of the name Ferentino

Since ancient times it has maintained its name, “Ferentinum”, which, according to some scholars, derives its etymology from the Latin verb "fero-ferre", which means "to produce", reflecting the fertility of its soil. Indeed, taking into account its geographical position, the etymology would seem to have good fundamentals.

G. Semerano however derives the name from "Lucus Ferentinae", i.e. a wood ("Lucus") surrounding the sacred spring of water called “Ferentina”. The Sacred Wood was the venue for the confederated peoples of Latium [1].

In addition to its strategic location close to the major roads of central Italy, from the Middle Ages the city was a compulsory transit point to travel to the largest monasteries in the area, such as “Trisulti”, “Casamari” “Fossanova”, “Montecassino” and “Subiaco”.

Christianity took hold in this country since the beginning - many popes in the early centuries of Christian history were forced to flee from Rome and came to seek their refuge in Ferentino, in the Episcopal palace.

With Innocent III (1160-1216), as part of a reorganization of the State, Ferentino became the political center of the Upper Ciociaria. The last pope who lived here was Honorius III (1148-1227), who called in Ferentino Frederick II of Swabia  (1194-1250) in 1223, to persuade him to participate in the Fifth Crusade.

The presence of the papacy led many other religious orders to “Ferentino”: as well as the Benedictines, present from the beginning, came the Cistercians, Franciscans and the so-called called Knights “Gaudenti”.

Ferentino in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages the city's economy had become very prosperous, thanks to agricultural development encouraged by the fertility of the soil and the abundant presence of water.

It was also a period of particularly bitter struggles against Anagni. After the death of Pope Celestine V (1209-1296), his successor, Pope Boniface VIII (1230-1303), ordered that he be buried in the Church of San Antonio Abate of the Celestine in Ferentino. During the ensuing conflict with “Anagni”, his relics were moved into the city, but two Celestine monks dressed as soldiers stole them and took them to the city of Aquila.

Ferentino in recent centuries

In the 16th century, Ferentino lost much of the role played by Pope Innocent III. In fact, the papal rulers moved their headquarters to Anagni and Frosinone. During this period the castle was also knocked down, and the first changes implemented to the baroque cathedral and the Bishop's Palace.

In the late 18th century, during the French occupation, Ferentino rebelled against the French and the Roman republic, forming armed counter forces. In the 19th and 20th century the city had a strong urban and economic renewal and a significant industrialization.

See also the tourist guide for Ferentino.

References

1. See G. Semerano, “The Origins of European Culture”, Olschki, 1984, Vol. II, p. 850