Cisterna di Latina is a municipality in the northern part of the Province of Latina. It is located in what was once a swampy region and has about 36 thousand inhabitants. Its main attraction is the famous Garden of Ninfa.
Cisterna di Latina (Province of Latina)
Tourist office: Piazza XIX Marzo – 04012 Cisterna. Opening hours: From 10:00 till 13:00 and from 16:00 till 19:00. Closed: Mondays.
A brief history of Cisterna di Latina
The original name of what was to finally become Cisterna di Latina was Tres Tabernae. It was an important stop on the Via Appia Antica, the ancient consular road connecting Rome to Brindisi. The stop was even mentioned in the “Acts of the Apostles”.
The settlement was destroyed by the Saracens in 868. The same happened in 1165 and 1328, when respectively Frederick I Barbarossa and Emperor Louis the Bavarian invaded the region.
In 1401 the city came into the hands of the Caetani family, who made it their headquarters. This family owned the city until the 18th century.
In 1872 the name was changed from Cisterna to Cisterna di Roma. After this it became Cisterna di Littoria and in 1946 the city received its current name. Littoria was the original name of what is now the provincial capital Latina. According to tradition, the name Cisterna is due to a water tank commissioned by Emperor Nero. This tank was meant to supply the beach town of Anzio with drinking water.
In the early 20th century, the Caetani family had the dead city of Ninfa renovated into what is now the famous Garden of Ninfa.
In early 1944, the city was destroyed again, after the Allies had come ashore near Anzio.
What to see
Major attractions are the Palazzo Caetani and the Santa Maria Assunta Church. The Fontana Biondi is considered the symbol of the city. However, the greatest attraction of all is the famous Garden of Ninfa, named after the dead city that used to be located here.
The Museo del Cavallo e del Buttero is dedicated to the shepherds and their horses who used to work in the area. After the drainage of the Pontina (the swampy area where Cisterna is located), these virtually disappeared. However, the city still has the nickname Città dei Butteri.
Arriving by car
From Rome, take the SS7 (Via Appia Antica). From Naples, follow the A3 until the exit for Frosinone.