Itri Latina Italy

The Historic Hilltop Centre of Itri

A visit to the Medieval historic hilltop centre of Itri is recommended and it has wonderful views of the lower half or the town.

The Medieval Centre and Jewish Quarter

The castle and the medieval centre were guarded by a ring of strong defensive walls. There were several gates that lead into the fortified town: Porta Mamurra, Porta San Martino, Porta Ripa and Porta Cea. A series of steep narrow flights of stone stairs lead to the centre of the old town. There was once a separate Jewish ghetto named the Vico Judea, which had its own synagogue. It seems that there is something interesting to see around every corner.

The Church of San Michele Arcangelo

In the heart of the historic centre you will find the XI century church of San Michele Arcangelo, which it the oldest religious building in Itri. It was erected on the remains of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Asclepius. The church was built in an Arabic-Norman style. It has a central square belltower, On the first and second section of the tower there are stone Romanesque mullioned windows, each supported by a single column. Above the bellfry is built of alternate layers of stone and terracotta tiles and another mullioned window with two marble columns. This is further embellished by coloured majolica disks in a Byzantine style.

A steep flight of steps lead up the the church’s main entrance. The interior is divided into three naves. Near to the entrance there is a choir which is supported by columns which have a their base a pair of marble crouching lions which are thought to date from the XI or XII century. The ceiling is of wood supported with trusses.

On the right-hand side of the church there is a niche in the wall which is decorated with XV century frescoes. The upper part depicts the crucifixion with San Giovanni and Santa Maria.The lower section has the Madonna and Child. Painted within the arch of the niche are the heads of the 12 apostles. This work is thought to be that of Roberto Oderisio of Naples.

The main altar is ornately inlaid with different shades of coloured marble. Above the altar is displayed the XIX century wooden statue of St. Michael the Archangel slaying the dragon.  On either side of the altar there are two XV century frescoes that were recovered from the ruins of the nearby church of Santa Maria Maggiore, The one on the left shows the “Assumption of the Virgin”, the one on the right is of San Biagio.

The Ruined Old Church of Santa Maria Maggiore

Close to Piazza Fra Diavolo there are the remains of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which is believed to date from the mid XI century.  This church also suffered major damage during the Second World War.   The bell tower was fortunately spared and has since been restored to its original splendour.