Boville Ernica is a small hill town in the province of Frosinone south of Rome. The main tourist attraction is the San Pietro Ispano Church, with works of art by Giotto, Sansovino and others. An annual tradition is the festival Pane, Olio e Fantasia (“Bread, Oil and Imagination”), which is held in November.
Boville Ernica (province of Frosinone) City Guide
The address of the city hall is Corso Umberto I, 03022 – Boville Ernica (tel. 0775379004). The ZIP Code is 03022 and the city code 0775. The city is part of the provincie of Frosinone and the region Latium and has more or less 9,000 inhabitants. It consists of the frazioni Antica Colle Piscioso, Brecciaro, Casavitola, Castello, Colle Campano, Colle Martino, Colle Mausoleo, Colle Piscioso, Galoppino, Madonna delle Grazie, Mozzano Torretta, Panicelli, Portantino, Rotabile, Santa Elisabetta, Sasso, San Lucio, Santa Liberata, Scrima, Spulla, Torretta, Vettuno and Colle San Paolo.
By car/public transport
By public transport from Frosinone: There is a Co.Tra.L bus to Boville Ernica. Frosinone is a stop on the railway line between Rome and Naples (via Cassino).
Public transport from Rome: Take the train to Frosinone, followed by a Co.Tra.L bus.
By car from Frosinone: Follow the SP278 to Sant’Angelo in Villa Giglio and then the signs for Boville Ernica.
By car from Rome: Take the Autostrada del Sole A1 from Rome and then the SS214 toward Sora. Follow the signs to your destination. The total distance is slightly over 100km. (The A1 is a toll road.)
Boville Ernica has several interesting medieval churches and palaces and its partly pre-Roman city walls, including 18 towers, are well preserved. Its town centre is still almost completely medieval, with typical narrow alleys and intimate, cosy squares. Some of the round towers are within the city wall, although connected to it. This probably means that there used to be a double defensive wall. There are three city gates, the Porta San Francesco, the Porta Santa Maria and the Porta San Nicola.
The main entrance is the Porta San Nicola at the Piazzale Granatieri di Sardegna. This square is adorned with a fountain and a monument in memory of the battle between the Italian kingdom and the Bourbon troops in 1861. The gate was constructed in the 18th century and restored in 1865.
The second main entrance to the old town is the Porta San Francesco, a late medieval gate which is now incorporated in the Franciscan convent. Its main characteristic is a tall tower.
The biggest tower is now part of the Palazzo Filonardi behind the San Pietro Ispano Church.
The Palazzo Simoncelli, constructed using already existing buildings, stands on the main street Corso Umberto I. It is named for the clergyman who brought the above-mentioned works of art from Rome to the San Pietro Ispano Church. The San Giovanni Battista church, which is nowadays used for cultural events, is incorporated in the palace.
The present version of the San Pietro Ispano Church was built toward the end of the 16th century. Elements of the original Roman church are still visible in the crypt. San Pietro Ispano, a Spanish saint who fought the Muslims, is thought the have lived and fasted here. The main attractions inside this church, including a 4th century sarcophagus, were moved here from the original Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
The Santo Stefano Church contains a painting by Sebastiano Conca.
The San Francesco Church contains frescoes from different periods, the oldest of which are Byzantine. Other, 14th century wall paintings are thought to be painted one of Giotto‘s pupils. Thanks to the presence of these and other works of art, this church is now the seat of a picture gallery and of the Museo Civico.
Already before the Romans ook over there was a settlement in the spot where Boville Erica is located. This is testified not only by archaeological finds in the area, but also by the still existing Pelasgian Walls. The name Boville originates from the cult a fertility God called Bove. Excavations in the area have unearthed small statues of oxen (bue, in Italian). The original settlement was located in the valley, but the inhabitants moved up the hill after the Saracen and Hungarian invasions.