For the Turkish composer from the 17th century, see Buhurizade Itri. For the Taiwanese industrial development organization, see ITRI.
Comune di Itri

Panorama of the Città alta of Itri, with the castle on the right.

Coat of arms

Location of Itri in Italy

Coordinates: 41°17′N 13°32′E / 41.283°N 13.533°E / 41.283; 13.533
Country Italy
Region Lazio
Province / Metropolitan city Latina (LT)
  Mayor Antonio Fargiorgio
  Total 101 km2 (39 sq mi)
Elevation 170 m (560 ft)
Population (30 November 2015)
  Total 10,679
  Density 110/km2 (270/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Itrani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 04020
Dialing code 0771
Patron saint Madonna della Civita
Saint day July 21
Website Official website

Itri is a small city and comune in the central Italian region of Latium and the Province of Latina.

Itri is an agricultural centre divided in two parts by a small river, the Pontone. It lies in a valley between the Monti Aurunci and the sea, not far from the Gulf of Gaeta. The more ancient part, with the Castle, was partly destroyed during World War II.

The Itrani speak a particular variant of the Neapolitan dialect, the Itrano.


The first direct documentary record of Itri dates to 914, but settlements in the neighbourhood existed from prehistoric times, as proved by findings from the Neolithic and the Bronze Ages.

According to legend, Itri's origins appear to coincide with the destruction of Amyclae, a maritime city founded by the twin sons of Zeus, Castor and Pollux, whose Spartan followers clashed with Aeneas. The Greek colony was most likely on the coast at about 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Fondi. Amyclae was founded between Lake Fondi and the Terracina coast, on the edge of the murky waters of the swamps present at the time. The quiet Amyclaeans were plagued by the cursed and numerous evil forces of the swamp, unstoppable beings such as the monstrous serpent with nine heads, the Lernaean Hydra, which attacked with poisonous venom, and whose heads would re-grow as quickly as Hercules could slice them off with his sword. The city of Amyclae was soon annihilated. The few survivors abandoned the city and relocated a few kilometers south to the area now known as Itri. These first inhabitants of Itri supposedly adopted the emblems of the "Signum Salutis", a serpent, as their symbol of power, and "Amycleus", the dog's head, as their symbol of fidelity.

More likely, Itri was probably a town or outpost of the Aurunci, later conquered and assimilated by the Romans.

The name Itri derives from the Latin word iter, meaning "route" or "way", appropriate since the city lies where the old Roman Via Appia, built in 312 BC, crosses the Monti Aurunci by way of a narrow pass, the Gola di Sant'Andrea, called by Charles Dickens a "noble mountain pass". An alternative hypothesis on the origin of the town's name suggest it derived from the cult of the Eastern God Mithra, as there is a large subterranean temple dedicated to him a few hundred meters south of the town. Still another suggestion is that it derives from the Greek for snake "hydra", pronounced in some dialects as "itra". In Roman times Itri would have been no more than a post station, a role it continued in until well into the nineteenth century; in Bourbon times Itri was the 12th of 18 posting stations going south from Rome to Naples.

In the Middle Ages the population grew, and three lines of walls were built to protect the people living around the castle. Itri was part of the duchy of Gaeta and was a possession of the Dell'Aquila family, dukes of Fondi. In modern times Itri was part of the Kingdom of Naples.

Due to its location on the Gola di Sant'Andrea, Itri has historically been the scene of much military activity and a number of important battles. Perhaps the most famous occurred in 1503 when Consalvo of Cordova defeated the French army under the command of the Duke of Nemours, an action known as the Battle of the Garigliano.

During World War II, Allied bombing destroyed 75 percent of the city edifices.

The bell tower of the destroyed church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
The Crocodile Tower.
Infiorata on Via Della Repubblica.

Main sights

Patron saint

The Madonna della Civita is the patron saint of the town; her feast is celebrated on July 21.

Popular tradition narrates that the sacred painting representing the image of the Madonna was found in the 8th century by a deaf and mute shepherd, who was looking for a missing cow on Mount Civita. Upon discovering the painting, the mute shepherd fell to his knees, prayed, and miraculously was able to hear and speak for the first time in his life. He went back to the town to share his discovery with the Itrani, who were shocked and amazed to witness that the shepherd could now hear and speak.

The origin of the painting appears to be dated back to the 8th century, when the Byzantine Emperor Leo III ordered religious persecutions and banned the cult of sacred images.

Famous people


Sister cities

Cultural references

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