Val di Comino is a valley in the centre of Italy, in the region Lazio, that includes approximately 20 villages. It’s a territory that holds unspoiled nature, historical villages, tradition and an excellent local gastronomy.
The majority of international tourists here, are from England, Scotland and Ireland as many locals emigrated to those countries for better opportunities. As they always kept a strong bond with their homeland, their sons and daughters, still come back here with friends and relatives. They promote the valley and sometimes they also invest in small local businnesses. While walking around, it’s very easy to hear some english mixed-up with the local dialect!
Val di Comino is in Ciociaria, a region in the province of Frosinone. This is a priviledge position, close to the National park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise which is the oldest National park in Italy and the richest in biodiversity.
The ski resorts of Pescasseroli, Forca D’acero and Opi are only 30 minutes away by car. In approximately 30 minutes by car, you can reach the Artificial lake Barrea, in the park of Abruzzo. In 30 minutes by car, is also possible to reach the Artificial lake Cardito (also known as lake Selva). This lake is also located in the park of Abruzzo (1000 meters above the sea level), close to the village of San Biagio Saracinisco. For the sea lover, in approximately 1 hour by car, you can reach the beaches of Formia and Gaeta.
In the valley we have a good number of historical villages that especially in summer and autumn, attract many tourists and people from the region, thanks to the cultural events that are organized to promote the territory. In August, for example, in many of the villages, the locals celebrate the Patron Saint and for the occasion there are many festivals with local food and wines. The villages are filled with stalls, scents of local products, music and fireworks. Let’s see a few of the main villages of the valley.
San Donato is one of the most picturesque medioeval village of the valley. It was listed as one of the best historical villages in Italy and also received a recognition by the Italian touring club, for the hospitality and the quality of the cultural events offered. The historical centre is very nice with its narrow streets, stairs, picturesque alleys and small squares with bars, wine bars and little shops with local products. Of particular interest is “the Arch of the origins”, an arch built with wooden beams and decorated with images that describe the foundation of the village. Other monuments to be seen are the Sanctuary of San Donato Val di Comino, the Duomo and the Porta Orologio, which in the past was the access point for those who came from Abruzzo.
San Donato is in the National park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise and it’s a perfect place for nice walks in the nature and hiking excursions on the mountains.
The village of Posta Fibreno and its lake, are located among the hills, not far from Sora, one of the biggest city in Ciociaria.
The lake, due to the rich flora and fauna that surround it, is protected by a nature reserve. It is an unspoilt place, relaxing and quiet, particularly suitable for pleasant walks in the nature. You can rent pedal boats to discover the area or enjoy the view while having a drink in one of the bars along the lake.
Gallinaro is an ancient village with its castle on the hill, the ancient Sanctuary of San Gerardo and the most recent chapel dedicated to baby Jesus, which attracts believers and tourists from every place. The village is also well known for the quality of its local products, especially cheese and wine.
If you pass by in August, you will participate in the wine festival that traditionally takes place on August 13th. The streets of the village are full of people, stalls, music and the cellars are open for tasting the typical wines of the area, accompanied by local food.
The wine festival attracts both tourists and people from the whole region. This event is awaited by the locals who actively partecipate in it.
Another important music event that takes place in Gallinaro in August, is the Gallinarock festival. This is a rock music festival for emerging bands and soloists who play their music.
Also in the center of this small village there are nice bars for a glass of wine in good company!
Isola del Liri is a unique place with a natural waterfall 28 meters high, right in the historic center. The large waterfall generated by the river Liri, was painted by many artists passing by this beautiful village.
The historic center, which is very admired, is picturesque, well preserved and full of bars and typical restaurants, to spend nice evenings with friends. Since 1988, a music event takes place in July, in Isola del Liri: the Liri Blues festival. This event has become in the years more and more famous and in 1997 Isola del Liri became sister city of New Orleans. The main concerts take place in the central square of the village, while in the rest of the old town jam sessions are held at night.
Atina is divided in two parts: the modern one called Atina Inferiore or Ponte Melfa and the ancient village on top of the hill.
Although it is a small village, there is a lot of history. In the historic center we can find the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the convent of San Francesco and the Doge’s Palace. In addition to this, we can see the polygonal walls that protected the village. The central Piazza Ducale is a meeting place where many interesting cultural events take place.
Among the events I would like to mention the Folklore Festival, which takes place between July and August and is an opportunity for cultural exchange between people who sing and dance in their traditional costumes, for the audience.
Another music festival, one of the most important in the lower Lazio, takes place in Atina in summer: the Atina Jazz Festival. This event attracts internationally renowned musicians and music fans from all over Italy.
In summer and autumn, there are also several food and wine events with local products. We name the most famous: the cantinAtina wine festival, the Cabernet DOC wine festival, the Ducal Wine festival to taste local wines and also the festival of Fagiolo Cannellino DOP (white beans), cooked according to typical local recipes. Gastronomic routes, music and good fun!
Val di Comino welcomes you for a holiday of culture, good food and interesting cultural events!
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