Maranola in South Lazio Italy

Maranola in South Lazio

Maranola is a suburb of the municipality of Formia and is situated at an altitude of  276 metres above sea level overlooking the splendid Gulf of Gaeta.  Behind it is the backdrop of the magnificent Aurunci Mountains.

Maranola Formia in South Lazio Italy
View from Maranola Formia in South Lazio Italy

The History of Maranola

The presence of tracts of megalithic walls built of large tightly fitting blocks of stone, shows that this area was inhabited from pre-roman times. These walls were erected by the native Aurunci people as fortifications to defend their territory.

During the 9th century there many Saracen invasions along this coastline. Therefore the local people began to flee inland to higher ground and small settlements were formed at Maranola, Trivio and Castellonorato. Maranola was first documented in 1029 and was described as a Castrum, a fortification with walls and towers.

Maranola Formia in South Lazio Italy
© Maurizio Arprea
View from Maranola Formia in South Lazio Italy
© Maurizio Arprea

In 940 a document shows that the dukes of Gaeta, Docibile II and John II make a gift of Maranola to the Duke Marino.  In 1029 Maranola was described as a Castrum, a fortification with walls and towers. Other documents dating from the 12th century indicate that there were several early churches in this area namely: San Martino, San Giovanni, San Angelo, San Giovanni di Palazzo, San Nazario, Santa Croce, Santa Maria in Castagneto and San Nicola de Militis.

In 1135, Gaeta and its lands, including the town of Maranola, became part of the Norman kingdom of Sicily and came under the rule of the Aquila family of Fondi.  Tancredi, the Norman King of Sicily, then gave Maranola to the duchy of the Caetani family. Under the Caetani Maranola the town experienced a period of tranquility and prosperity. During the second half of the 1300’s, Onorato I Caetani built fortifications in the neighbouring towns of Castellone and Castellonorato, to guard against attacks from the by the Saracens. In Maranola he built a fortress with four towers surrounded by a fortified wall. There was just one entrance to the town. Only one of Maranola’s towers remains to be seen today. This tower is 30 meters tall constructed of limestone blocks and red bricks. It is positioned in the highest part of the town.

Possession of the town later passed to the Colonna family, which was then inherited by the Gonzaga family. In 1688 Maranola became under the ownership of the Carafa family who held possession until 1806 and the end of the feudal system. During the Napoleonic period, the territory of Maranola was joined with that of Castellonorato, and became under the jurisdiction of Gaeta. In 1851, by Royal Decree, the two territorial entities were once again separated and Maranola became autonomous. Finally in 1928 the municipalities of Maranola and Castellonorato became part of the municipality of Formia and remain so to this day.