Dating back to the thirteenth century, it still houses the monks who produce cosmetics, liqueurs and delicious chocolate. But not only!
Jewel of Cistercian Gothic, which is traced back to the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Casamari Abbey complex is among the most visited religious sites in the entire Lazio Region. It is located in Veroli, not far from Frosinone, in the Ciociaria which has always been a destination for tourists for the quality of the gastronomy and the environment.
Built on the remains of an ancient religious site from the pagan era, the Casamari Abbey owes its particular name to the “house of Mario”, or to the location which, during the Roman period, belonged to the consul Gaius Mario. It was he, in 88 BC. to challenge Silla in the Roman civil war and his large representative residence stood on Via Maria, a road that today would be approximately between Frosinone and Sora, in Lower Lazio.
Not only beautiful, but also productive, this reality is today among the most vital among the male monastic orders of the Catholic Church in Italy. Visiting it means immersing yourself in atmospheres of other times, among scents, flavors and flashes of culture that invite you to visit. But let’s find out more about the complex together.
Casamari Monastery: a constantly evolving reality
The history of the Casamari Monastery is, at least in part, shrouded in the fog of history. In fact, it seems that the abbey was founded by Benedictine monks (of the order of San Benedetto da Norcia), who settled in Veroli around the 11th century. The monk Gian Giacomo de Uvis talks about it in one of his chronicles, according to which the monks of Veroli moved to Ceretae-Casa Marii (from here, Casamari) in the year 1005.
However, the complex was certainly built on the remains of the Roman temple of Mars, perhaps as the Church of San Giovanni e Paolo, while we had to wait another 30 years for the birth of the monastery. The Casamari Veroli Abbey as we know it today was then entrusted to the Cistercians in a period between 1140 and 1152.
The history of this religious site experienced mixed fortunes for the centuries to come: first it was almost abandoned around the seventeenth century, it prospered in the eighteenth century with the so-called “Trappist monks” and in 1799 it was sacked by Napoleon’s troops, who killed five religious, including Siméon Cardon, beatified in 2021.
The famous products of the Abbey of Casamari Frosinone
Not just beer: the Trappist monks are famous for their products, the result of skilled hands, ingredients produced with care and traditions that have been handed down in monasteries for centuries. Even Casamari abbey responds to this logic of ora et labora, and in fact inside the complex there is a pharmacy and a liquor store that are still very active today.
The Casamari Abbey liqueurs, in particular, are famous well beyond the walls of the building and can even be purchased online. The imperial drops are famous, a remedy for any ailment (especially toothache) but also an excellent thirst-quenching, refreshing tonic to be used after a slightly too abundant meal.
Also try the nocino, licorice, the Gran Liquore Casamari (made with wildflower honey) without forgetting, of course, the Trappist chocolate, a delicacy suitable even for the little ones. And for those who love to take care of themselves, the snail slime creams, donkey milk creams or herbal essences, made with the crops from the Casamari gardens, are also very good.