For more than 1500 years the history of the village remains suspended between space and time
The Borgo was born on an ancient Benedictine settlement of the 6th century built on the remains of a Roman villa. Saint Benedict, with his rule “Ora et Labora”, drew the guideline for the development of the monastic phenomenon in the West. The seed of the rule produced extraordinary fruits, such as the new important settlements of Cassino, Farfa and San Vincenzo al Volturno. Between the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century the proliferation of
monasteries generated, due to the frantic search for suitable areas, a new form of settlement: the new monasteries no longer rose in impervious and isolated areas, but close to urban areas, such as the ancient Privernum, on the remains of pre-existing basilicas and in areas directly controlled by bishops.
In spite of a tradition based on the belief that portrayed the area of Fossanova as totally unhealthy, you can imagine the area between Privernum and Fossanova itself as a “continum” of life with a strong urban and suburban value.
In 1135 by the will of Pope Innocent II, the territory around Fossanova passed to the Order of the Cistercians. The name of the order was inspired by Citeaux, a place located in eastern France, called Cisterciumal in the time of the Romans.
It was there that an Abbey was founded in 1098 giving birth to the new monastic experience whose belief is “Poverty”, evident and recurrent also in the architectural choice of the buildings and the Abbeys which are stripped of embellishments and decorations.
The Cistercian creed was completed by the addition of the manual work in the fields to the life of the monks. The bond of “charity” also influenced the system of diffusion of the Order and the “mother” Abbeys generated the “daughter” Abbeys. The Father of this experience is St. Bernard of Clairvaux who, around the 1120, encouraged the birth of the first Abbeys in Italy. The presence of a Cistercian settlement in Italy was only apparently autonomous, because it actually strengthened,
throughout the territory, the political presence of the Church weakened by a hard struggle between the antipope Anacleto IV and Innocenzo II, for the conquest of the papal throne.
According to the “entrepreneurial” customs of the Cistercians, the monks tried to expand their possessions by purchasing and accepting as a gift some land suitable for being more productive.