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Monte Cavo is the second highest mountain of the complex of the Alban Hillsmarker, near Romemarker, central Italymarker. An old volcano extinguished around 10,000 years ago, it is almost 1.000 m above the sea level and about 20 km from the sea, in the communal territory of Rocca di Papamarker. With an altitude of 949 m, it is the dominant peak of the Alban Hills. The name comes from Cabum, an Italic settlement existing on this mountain.

Under king Tullus Hostilius there was volcanic activity reported by Livy in his book of Roman history: "...there had been a shower of stones on the Alban Mont...".

Jupiter Latiaris

The Monte Cavo is the sacred Mons Albanus of the Italic people of ancient Italy who lived in Alba Longamarker (the Albani), and other cities, and therefore a sacred mountain to the Romans; there they gave rise to the temple of Jove (Jupiter) Latiaris, one of the more important destinations of pilgrimage for the Latin people and in the centuries of Roman domination.

On the Mons Albanus, between January and March, the "Latin Festivals" were developed. The newly chosen Consuls had to sacrifice to Jupiter Latiaris and to announce the Latin Holidays. When the Consul achieved a victory in war he also had to celebrate the triumph on the Alban Mount. Here in the Latium temple were celebrated every year the Feriae Latinae for four days by the representatives of 47 cities (30 Latin and 17 Federate).
The Via Sacra.
In the 222nd year from the foundation of Rome, King Tarquinius Superbus built here a temple shared with the Latins, the Hernici and the Volsci, where every year there were celebrations in honor of Jupiter Latiaris. In return, Jupiter Latiaris conferred upon whomever was elected head of the Latin confederation, the power of dictator latinus.

A triumphal procession along this sacred way that left the Appian Way at Aricciamarker and climbed ut 450 m to the hillside. More than 5 km of this way is well preserved through the woods.

Pagan temple, hermitage, hotel

Hotel Monte Cavo at the beginning of the 20th century.
The history of the Pagan temple of Iuppiter Latiaris was interrupted in the early Middle Ages, when a hermitage was built by a Dalmatian hermit devoted to St. Peter, which replaced the pagan temple. It was visited by Pope Pius II in 1463, and subsequently by Pope Alexander VII. After the Dalmatian hermits the Polish religious order of Edmondo of Buisson was established there, then the Trinitarian Spaniards, and finally the Flemish Missionaries.

Then the hermitage was convert to a monastery (1727). The Passionists came in 1758 and restored it in 1783, using the materials of the temple of Jupiter, as found and raised by Henry Benedict Stuart, Duke of York, bishop of Frascati.

During this period there were guests in the monastery: the king Francis II of Naples in 1865 and Pope Pius IX in 1867. The "contemplative-missionaries" abandoned the monastery in 1889.

In 1890 the structure was converted to an hotel that entertained national and international personalities, among others: Umberto II of Italy, Massimo d'Azeglio, Luigi Pirandello, Armando Diaz (who sojourned in Rocca di Papamarker and was remembered with a commemorative headstone mail in the residence on De Rossi palace) and the King Edward VIII with his wife Wallis Simpson.

From 1942 the hotel was used as military base for radio communications by the German Wehrmacht. On June 3, 1944, soldiers of 142nd Regiment-36th Infantry Division ("Texas" Division), attacked and captured the military site --with 20 enemy soldiers killed and 30 prisoners taken.

References

  1. National Archives and Records Administrations of College Park, MD, USA (signature:Record Group 407, Entry 427, File 334-INF(142)-0.3)
[*] Students of the Pontifical Scots College, Rome, used to spend the long vacation at the villa in Marino which the College then owned (up until about 1965 or so). Monte Cavo was clearly visible from the villa, and it became a custom for students at least once in their student days to walk to the summit to see the sunrise.To time this right meant rising at about 1.30 a.m. and undertaking a sometimes very rough walk in near total darkness.But catching the first hint of the sun's orb was a breathtaking experience."Scots College, Rome,magazine,1961/62"

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