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born in the family house at Aquino. The Counts of Aquino had a fortress at Rocca-Secca, but it was never used as a residence.)
It is a delightful drive of about five hours from Sora to S. Germane Four miles from Sora, on the left, was once the little Lake of La Posia, but it has been entirely drained, to the great detriment of the scenery. As we approach Atina many ruined tombs appear near the road-side.
Atina occupies a striking position on a hill, and is approached by a beautiful ascent through rocks and trees. It has an old castle, with a Roman statue and other fragments built into its walls. The position strikingly resembles that of Arpino. The Volscian city occupied the other apex of the double hill, and is approached by a very steep rocky path, almost a staircase, beginning behind a convent, opposite the gate of the later town. It has a double platform, guarded by two ranges of ancient walls, and at the summit is the citadel. Antiquaries suggest fragments of masonry as representing temples, &c, but they are very obscure. The situation is most imposing, girt in by rocks and with views into the depths of wild mountain gorges.
Pietro Diacono declares Atina to have been the oldest of cities, having been "built by King Saturnus, after he was expelled by his son Jupiter." Martial speaks of its age in his epigram on Marius Atinates.
"Mari, quictae cultor et comes vitae,
In some of its old inscriptions the town is called "Atina Satumi filia." The place must have been of great strength, and is mentioned as " Atina potens" by Virgil (mil viL). After leaving this ancient city, there is nothing more to be seen, till, on descending to the plain, and turning the shoulder of the hills, the great convent of Monte Cassino and the castle of Rocca Janula below it are discovered upon the right .
THE great monastery of Monte Cassino is now brought within a few hours of Rome by the station of S. Germano on the Naples railway. Though it is bereaved of its former splendours, strangers are still hospitably received within its walls. All travellers should visit it, for those who are careless of its sacred memories and historical associations, will find sufficient to delight them in its architectural features, and in its position, which is one of the finest in Europe.
The railway to S. Germano has been already described in preceding chapters as far as Frosinone. The next station, Ceccano, is at the foot of a town which is, externally, perhaps the most picturesque on the whole line. On the left bank of the river was the site of Fabrateria Vetus.
Ceprano (distant miles from the station) has an old castle which was the scene of several events in Papal history. Paschal II. lived here while he was quarrelling with Henry IV.: here Lucius II. had his interview with Roger of Sicily; and hither the cardinals came to welcome Gregory X. as Pope. Here, in 1266, the Count of Caserta, left by Manfred to defend the passage of the Garigliano, fled at the approach of Charles of Anjou.
"E l'altra, il cui ossame si accoglie A Ceperan, la, dove fu bugiardo Ciascun Puglicsc. • Dante, Inf. xxviii. 15.
Crossing the Liris, we pass near the site of the Volscian Fregeller, which was colonized by Rome B. C. 328. It was destroyed in consequence of a rebellion in B.C. 125, and Fabrateria Nova founded in its stead.
We now pass Rocca-Secca (described Ch. XVII.), and leave, to the right, the ruins of Aquino (see Ch. XXIX.).
From a great distance, the convent of Monte Cassino is visible, rising on the hill-top above the plain of the Garigliano. As we come nearer, we see the splendid old castle of Rocca Janula, half-way up the ascent, surrounded with towers, embattled and crenellated, and connected by a long line of turretted wall with the town of San Germano at its feet.
San Germano * is wonderfully picturesque. It occupies the site of the Roman Casinum, which Strabo describes as the last town of Latium on the Latin way. Livy (XXII.) tells how Hannibal intended occupying it to prevent the consul Fabius from advancing on Campania; but was led by a mistake of his guide to Casilinum. Silius Italicus speaks of its springs:
"Nymphisque habitata Casinis
and of its foggy climate:
• The inn is the Albergo Pompei, a very clean, comfortable, pretty little hotel in a garden, indeed one of the best country urns in Italy. Double-bedded rooms 3 iraucs, single rooms a francs, dinner 3 francs. These prices should be maintained.
AMPHITHEATRE OF S. GERMANO. 207
"ct nebulosi rura Casini."
Casinum continued to flourish under the empire, but was destroyed by the Lombards in the 6th century. Its modern name of S. Germano is derived from a holy bishop of Capua, a contemporary and friend of S. Benedict .
About half a mile from the town, just above the high.road from S. Germano to Rome, is the principal relic of Casinum, an Amphitheatre, small, but very perfect externally, built, as an inscription * narrates, at the private expense of Numidia Quadratilla, whose life and death are celebrated by. Pliny the younger.t The interior is an utter ruin.
Above the Amphitheatre is the little Church of the Crocifisso, occupying an ancient tomb which is shown as that of Numidia Quadratilla. It is cruciform with a dome in the centre, and much resembles the tomb of Galla Placidia at Ravenna. The blocks of stone in the entrance-walls are colossal. At the head of the steps in front of the church is a sacrificial altar. The hermit who takes care of the tomb has a school above it. Immediately beneath are the vast remains of the Seminary of Monte Cassino, occupying the site of the historical convent Plumbariola. They enclose a courtyard, with a well and an old fig-tree. The surrounding corridors remind one, on a small scale, of the Coliseum before the spoliations of Rosa. A little beyond, on the side of the mountain, is a garden of Indian figs, with quite a settlement of small houses amongst the great cactus plants. The view in returning to S. Germano is most beautiful.
Near the town, on the banks of the river Fiume Rapido,
* Now at Monte Cassino, let into the wall of a gallery,