Mentana

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Mentana
Comune
Comune di Mentana
Mentana.JPG
Coat of arms of Mentana
Coat of arms
Mentana is located in Italy
Mentana
Mentana
Location of Mentana in Italy
Coordinates: 42°01′N 12°39′E / 42.017°N 12.650°E / 42.017; 12.650
Country Italy
Region Latium
Province Rome
Frazioni Casali, Castelchiodato, Mezzaluna
Government
 • Mayor Altiero Lodi (PD)
Area
 • Total 24 km2 (9 sq mi)
Elevation 150 m (490 ft)
Population (28 February 2010)
 • Total 21,286
 • Density 890/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Demonym Mentanesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 00013
Dialing code 06
Patron saint St. Nicholas of Bari
Saint day December 6
Website Official website

Mentana is a town and comune in the province of Rome, Lazio, central Italy. It is located 29 kilometres (18 mi) north-east of Rome and has a population of about 21,000.

History[edit]

Mentana's name in ancient times was Nomentum, to which the Via Nomentana led from Rome.[1] According to Livy, the town was part of the Latin League, which went to war with Rome during the reign of Rome's king Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. Nomentum was one of a number of towns captured by Tarquinius.[2]

It was a Latin town, but was considered by some to be Sabine, and, like Fidenae and Ficulea, was excluded from the first region by Augustus, who made the Anio river its northern boundary. The city was part of the League defeated by Rome in the Battle of Lake Regillus, and was captured definitively in 338 BCE.

Subsequently Nomentum received the civitas sine suffragio; in its municipal constitution the chief magistrate even in imperial times bore the title of dictator. Pliny and Martial often praise the fertility of its neighbourhood.

In 408 CE it is mentioned as an episcopal see, and in 593 it annexed the diocese of Cures. In 741 it was briefly occupied by the Lombards and the inhabitants moved to a new centre on the Via Nomentana which was more easily defendable. On 23 November 799, it was the site of the meeting of Pope Leo III and Charlemagne.

The Castle of Nomentum was a possession of the Roman family of the Crescenzi in the 10th and 11th century. In 1058 it was destroyed by the Normans and the population was drastically reduced. The castle was acquired by the Capocci family and, later, the Holy See entrusted it to the Benedictine monks of San Paolo fuori le Mura.

In the 15th century it was under control of the Orsini family. In 1484 it was damaged by an earthquake. In 1594 it became a fief of the Perett family, first under Michele Perett of Venafro, and then in 1655 it came under the control of Marcantonio Borghese and the House of Borghese.

Inner square of the castle in Mentana.

On 3 November 1867 the city was the site of the Battle of Mentana between French-Papal troops and the Italian volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, who were attempting to capture Rome in order to incorporate it into the newly unified Kingdom of Italy. The battle ended in a victory by the French-Papal troops. In Mentana, the monument Ara dei Caduti (Altar of the Fallen) is built over the mass grave of the Italian patriots who died in the battle.

Main sights[edit]

  • The Castle (c. 1000), housing the Archaeological Museum and is a site of art exhibitions.
  • Palazzo Crescenzio
  • Funerary Monument of the Appulei, a 2nd-century BC travertine frieze
  • Museum of the Risorgimento
  • Science Museum.

The Nature Preserve of Nomentum includes the Trentani Park and the Macchia (Maquis shrubland) of Gattacieca, the remains of the ancient city as well as a necropolis of the 8th century BCE.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Corrado Pala; Unione Accademica Nazionale (1976). Forma Italiae: Latium et Campania. Nomentum. De Luca Ed. 
  2. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:38