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Civita D'Antino

A Danish circle in the Abruzzo hinterland


21 giugno 2023

Reading time:

4 min

  • Authentic villages
  • Comuni d’Abruzzo
Civita D'Antino, Ph. Marica Massaro, CC BY-SA 4.0


Descrizione lunga

Civita D'Antino is a village in a happy position, dominating the Roveto Valley crossed by the Liri River.
The town retains much of its glorious past. An ancient Roman municipium in the territory of Marsi, Antinum enjoyed its privileged position, made even stronger by cyclopean walls at its most exposed points.
In the Middle Ages it was a fief of the Piccolomini family and later of the Colonna family. In the 12th century it was home to St. Lidanus abbot, forerunner of the reclamation of the Pontine marshes.

Due to the beauty of its places, between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the village became a strategic point of vacation and creation for numerous artists, an example of which is the art school frequented by a large group of Danish painters, a lively circle established in the early twentieth century around the master Kristian Zahrtmann, which saw the production of numerous paintings depicting local landscapes and customs, some of them of high artistic value.

For those who want to rest and enjoy the view and the silence, the area offers peaceful and easy walks at the Pineta and the spring of St. Francis, or long trips to the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ritornata and at the Pratelle pond. On the side of the Simbruini Mountains, instead, lovers of heights can choose the daring excursions to the Morino Valley, Schioppo or the climb of the Mount Viglio, which offer the eye endless horizons. 

You could have many wonderful and varied experiences in and around the village! Let's take this walk together and come with us.
On your way, do not be frightened by the imposing Guard Tower, commissioned by the Colonna family in the 11th century, a characteristic element of the urban profile. Proceed without hesitation to the Ferrante Palace, named after one of the families that played an important social role in the history of the town from the 16th century onward. In the heart of the historic centre – once surrounded by a large garden, now largely built up – the palace also includes the noble Chapel of the Most Holy Conception. Going further, we invite you to pause and peek at the Church of St. Stephen, the oldest, probably episcopal seat in the 5th-6th centuries. And you can also visit the Church of St. Lidano, in the hamlet of Pero dei Santi, dedicated to St. Lidano, a Benedictine abbot born in Civita D'Antino in 1026, who worked on the reclamation of the Pontine marshes.

Don't think this is the end of it! Let's move on to Casa Cerroni, also known as the House of the Danish Painters, a symbolic site of the Zahrtmann school. The building dominates the steps leading to Porta Flora, the only one remaining of the historic entrances to the village. Near the square, there is also the Fontana del lavatoio, built in 1903. The village's two museums are also worth a visit: the Antinum Archaeological Museum located in the old deconsecrated church of Santa Maria Maddalena, which houses numerous memorial stones, epigraphs and a selection of coins, pottery and votive materials, referable to a shrine that must have stood nearby, and much more; and the Museum of Peasant and Pastoral Civilization, located in the old village, which displays the working tools and objects used by the farmers and shepherds of the Roveto Valley. 

Don’t miss the Napoleonic Monumental Cemetery: a remarkable cemetery architecture, among the first to be built under the rules of the 1804 Edict of Saint Cloud. Along with the remains of generations of Civita inhabitants, it holds the ashes of the Swedish painter Anders Trulson and the British travelers John Jugh and Mary Ann Symons.

After this pleasant stroll around the village, gather your energy and reach the Hermitage of Santa Maria della Ritornata. The name of the small church, according to one legend, derives from the disappearance of the icon of the Madonna del Monte, which would later reappear, hence the name "returned". The church and hermitage are located halfway up the mountainside on a rock face of the Serra Lunga at about 1,200 metres above sea level. The original core and interior Byzantine frescoes could most likely date back to the 12th century.

Are you satisfied but also a bit tired? No problem! Civita D'Antino has to offer you a perfect refreshment, with typical flavours, in an ideal combination of local productions and rural “rovetana” tradition. Lost and ancient flavours can be found in the excellent first courses such as “pasta alla chitarra”, “fettuccine”, “ravioli” with “ricotta”, vegetable soups and legume soups. Main courses are mainly sheep meat in various versions. The bread, cheeses, cured meats, extra virgin olive oil and truffles are very tasty. In addition, chestnut desserts, the parrozzo “rovetano”, spelt cookies and almond “amaretti” are a delight for the sweet tooth.


  • borghi autentici
  • borghi montani
  • Comuni

Location of the Destination


41.886196591368, 13.471244573593

Last updated

17/10/2023, 15:42

Published by AbruzzoTurismo