Ciociaria (AFI: /ʧoʧaˈria/), less commonly Cioceria, is the name by which some territories between today’s Lazio and Campania (ancient Terra di Lavoro) were called in the 19th century, without geographical limits defined. Since the Fascist period, the same name has been used by the local press, promotional associations and folklore events as a synonym for the province of Frosinone and for all the popular traditions of its territory . The identification of Ciociaria with the territory of the province is endorsed by the same tourist promotion company of the province of Frosinone  .
1.1 Territorial distinctions
1.1.2 “Pastoral” Ciociaria
1.1.3 The unification of Italy
1.2.1 Banditry, Sonnino and the «Ciocerìa della Croce»
1.2.2 Ciocie or zampitti?
2 Other clichés in linguistics and literature
2.2 Literary clichés
2.3 Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti
2.3.1 Cesare Pascarella
2.3.2 The “great Ciociaria” and the province of Frosinone
2.4 Cinema and entertainment
5 General bibliography
6 Related entries
7 Other projects
As happens for many popular denominations, a geoanthropic description of Ciociaria that defines its borders and its vaunted ethnic peculiarities has never really been provided. The territory concerned has always been historically and administratively called Lazio, Campagna and Marittima or Campagna di Roma and the historiographical and demological studies that brought to light the social aspects of the so-called Ciociari, at the beginning of the 19th century, treat the question marginally, without having accurate documentation.
The first attempt to give a scientific character to the question was made only in 1916 by Adele Bianchi who, in a publication of the De Agostini geographical institute, suggested that «the Ciociaria includes the wide Sacco Valley, the Ernici Mountains, the internal degli Ausoni and part of the Lepini», roughly the district of Frosinone. A few years later the study was taken up again by some Frusinate fascist intellectuals whose geographical and ethnological theses were also the banner of their political ideas, and who managed to construct the anthropology of a “Ciociara race”, bringing new confusion to the problem .
In 1930 the «Enciclopedia Italiana» resumed and reworked Bianchi’s studies, however considering Ciociaria also part of the district of Sora and the Gari valley and, departing from the opinions of the ‘fascist intellectuals from Frusinati’, explicitly considered the geographical area described « devoid of its own individuality. Since the second post-war period, however, since the administrative structure of the regime was preserved in Lazio, with the term “ciociaro” the local governments promoted the provincial identity of Frusinate, and the problem of identifying whether there was also a “historic region” was raised by various authors. ciociara and what were its characteristics and its limits; they then advanced very divergent solutions.
The anthropological and toponymic analyses, published from the early sixties were so contradictory that it came to identify the Ciociaria now with the territory between the Liri and the Castelli Romani now with part of the ancient papal province of Campagna and Marittima, or even with the entire province of Frosinone or a good part of southern Lazio. Other scholars, in fact, consider the “Great Ciociaria” as all of southern Lazio, including the entire provinces of Latina and Frosinone.
Latium according to Pliny and Strabo.
The social and urban characteristics that characterized the towns and cities between Rome and Capua have often induced some authors to search local myths and the economic and social homogeneity of the territory for some peculiar imprecision up to Bragaglia which even evoked a «Ciociarian Kingdom»[ 13]
Again Bragaglia recalls: “Fortunately, our land is always under the sign of Circe”.  The archaeologist Giuseppe Marchetti Longhi believes that the borders of modern Ciociaria coincide with those of the former district of Frosinone, but also including some municipalities of the former district of Velletri; «at the confluence of the two valleys: del Cosa and, the greater, del Sacco, we can panoramically understand the area, which we call Ciociaria».
The ancient Latium adjectum would therefore be today’s Ciociaria, the scholar then says, and the “civilization” of the Pelasgian walls with the use of ciocia are the historical factors that would distinguish this part of Lazio. Finally, in the Middle Ages those borders were established which until the unification of Italy delimited the administrations of Lazio. After a series of conflicts that saw Byzantines and Lombards opposed first, the Papal State and the Kingdom of Naples then, the Liri river and part of the Ausoni mountains became a border that cut the att
ual provinces of Frosinone and Latina and which strongly marked the guidelines of development and modernization, however in fact weaker in separating cultural identities.
The oldest document that testifies to the use of the name Ciociaria to indicate a physical region dates back to the 17th century and consists of a manuscript in which the toponym Ciocciarìa is recorded. On the other hand, there are no documents in the kingdom of Naples or in Terra di Lavoro that certify the geographical expression within the borders of the Two Sicilies and, despite the Vatican document, historical sources are silent for a long time. For the geographical expression to become known to writers, historians and intellectuals, one must wait for the full modern age.
The Campagna and Marittima in the Magini map.
Ciocerìa is mentioned for the first time in texts and literature since 1833, so it is believed that the toponym actually entered common use, without precise geographical connotations, starting from the French invasions in the Papal State, when it was also established in the provinces Roman the obligation to perform military service, a situation that brought to Rome the peasants and shepherds of the suburbs, who in the city were called, based on their customs, ciociàri (from ciocia) .
Starting from the eighteenth century, the term became commonly used in Rome, used by the inhabitants of some municipalities not directly assimilable to the economy of the capital, mainly located south of the Tiber valley, in generic evocations of the traditions of Lazio. The toponyms Campagna di Roma and Campagna e Marittima which directly trace the imperial name Campania, with which some territories of Regio I were known, were however always the only denominations adopted to indicate the territories of southern Lazio, together with the classical Latium of the cartographers and of the humanists and, subsequently in the territories of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, to the toponym Terra di Lavoro, until 1927. The adjective campanino was also the word with which the inhabitants of the Campagna were qualified and with which it was indicated everything that concerned the homonymous papal province, with geographical and administrative pertinence.
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The same topic in detail: Ciociaria in historiography.
The ruins of Ninfa before the Pontine reclamation
A primitive geographical arrangement, from the end of the 19th century, is traced in the work of a Roman historian, where Ciociaria is vaguely mentioned as it was known in the Papal States. David Silvagni, who however is not directly interested in the problem, in «The Pontifical Court and the Roman Society» adopts an interpretation by Carlo Maria Curci, and following in his footsteps he notes that «it is the most mountainous and of the district of Frosinone and Sora», i.e. the Monti Ernici of today’s Lazio, but then called «ciociari» all the cardinals originating from the Catholic dioceses between Anagni and Terracina, avoiding the social meaning which had hitherto had the popular name of Lazio shepherds.
Silvagni then reports a list of famous ecclesiastics, blamed for their provincialism and for dubious administrative skills, in which the places of birth of each are also mentioned, all explicitly agglomerated to form a region he calls Ciociaria, even if clearly extraneous to the Hernic area (Sonnino, Ceprano, Ceccano, Gorga, Paliano, Anagni, Ninfa, Roccasecca, Carpineto, Monte San Giovanni Campano). In this arrangement therefore emerges an effective translation, poorly documented elsewhere, of what was meant by Ciociaria and Ciociaro, which from the expression of a “popular coat of arms” was gradually establishing itself as its own “geographical identity”. The region outlined includes all the cities of Campania organized within dioceses immediately subject to the Holy See, therefore united by the same political, economic and social system, and which were extraneous by identity and tradition to the territories of the suburban dioceses and to the historical events of the city of Rome .
The unification of Italy
When the territories of the former Pontifical State were subject to the political and administrative reforms of the Italian government, the pre-unification administrative divisions were suppressed and the territory between Viterbo and Frosinone was united under a single province, called the province of Rome or the province of Lazio and for the first time with the «Latium» of the classics the territories north and south of the Tiber were simultaneously indicated, and the names of the ancient historical regions disappeared from the pages of historians and geographers and from the official denominations (Heritage of San Pietro, Sabina, Campagna di Roma , Marittima, Comarca). The new national administrative situation no longer corresponded to the previous provincial arrangements and political propaganda ended up with the illegal appropriation of geographical expressions to support the r
current political forms.
The adjective “campanino” slowly disappeared and lost its territorial meaning; the term Sabine took on a more extensive and classical meaning, the wide range known today as the Ernico-Simbruini mountains was generically called the Sabine mountains and new terms were coined such as Agro romano to indicate the reclaimed lands of the latifundia around Rome, and Roman countryside, the region that according to Giuseppe Tomassetti extended from Monte Cavo and Torre Astura to Tivoli and Bracciano, in reality closer to the imagination of the artists who represented the Lazio landscapes in paintings and to the stories of foreign travelers than to a real historical and geographical reality. Likewise in 1862 Agnone became «Villa Latina». In the terminological and philological confusion that followed, the term Ciociaro survived, without ethnic or geographical meanings, only in the artistic-literary sphere: it is found sporadically in poems by Giosuè Carducci and Pascoli and in a short story by D’ Announcement to indicate the pipers of Atina.
«And a Ciociaro, wrapped in a cloak,
grave whistling through his thick beard,
he passes and does not look. Fever, here I invoke you,
(Carducci G., In front of the baths of Caracalla, in “Odi Barbare” of 1889)
The same process of redefinition of geographical and territorial expressions also continued in the early twentieth century: in 1891 «Pònza» was renamed «Arcinazzo Romano» while in 1911 «Anticoli di Campagna» became «Fiuggi» (a few years earlier the thermal establishments and the Rome-Fiuggi railway), and the last trace in the official toponymy of the Campagna and Marittima region was canceled from the geographical maps.
Banditry, Sonnino and the «Ciocerìa della Croce»
Thomas Allom, The family of the Brigante – Sonnino.
At the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century the use of the term, in any case relatively uncommon, of the term ciociàro in historiography as synonyms of a particularly disadvantaged social class, but not of a people. In 1781, in a work by Gian Gaspare Cesari about Anagni, which mentions the presence of «the homes of the petty Ciocciàri» in the territory of the city. The term remains offensive when almost half a century later, in 1824, Fra Pacifico da Monte Compatri, of the nobles of Carpineto, generically writes in a letter that he knows “well these fucking Ciociari barons”, with the noble Gioacchino De Santis, who reiterates that «true ciociari» were «effeminate men and drinkers». Giuseppe Giusti mentions the «bagpipe of the ciociari» and Francesco Bulgarini, in 1848, speaks of mountain farmers «ciociari» in reference to sharecroppers coming seasonally from the district of Subiaco to Tivoli, to cultivate maize. Instead, Franco Mistrali, in 1861, identified with the same name a “race of bandits or brigands of Sabina”, and speaking of Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli, he also defined ciociaro with mockery, for dubious moral qualities. .
Mistrali was probably followed by the historian Armando Dubarry, who in a work of 1875 testifies to the custom of vulgarly calling the entire apostolic delegation of Frosinone, at the time suppressed, Ciociaria, and there for the first time is clearly related the geographical expression with the ciocia, footwear, says the French, of the local brigands, peasants and irregular militias. Thus the name began to take on a broader and more general meaning, and the adjective ciociaro was from then on closely connected to the toponym Ciociaria. However, in some historical descriptions of Sonnino it is possible to find clearer considerations on the original meaning of the expression, easily distinguishable from the confused references of the chroniclers.
Between 1843 and 1844 some works identify a region around the Volscan city as Ciociarìa or Ciocerìa della Croce, an area which was the center of a deep-rooted resistance movement to the French occupation which lasted from the beginning of the Roman republic until 1815, led by a group of local brigands who had stolen a large part of the Ausone mountain between Roccasecca dei Volsci and Priverno from foreign military control. These, if compared with other historical sources which prove the link between the vulgar use of the term «ciociàri» and the phenomenon of popular brigandage, lead us to consider that some territories around Rome, even distant from each other (Subiaco, Sabina, Sonnino, Monti Ernici), particularly subject to the phenomenon of banditry and for this reason often fallen under the anarchy of popular governments, have been repeatedly called Ciociaria, diachronically, due to unusual popular and improvised brigands , as in the case of Sonnino, who wore the ciocie, a completely exotic costume compared to the other traditional garments of the papal territories and to the habits of mercenaries, mercenary captains and bri
many citizens of Tuscia, Marche and Umbria.
Zampitto model of Etna.
Ciocie or zampitti?
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The same topic in detail: Ciocia.
In the first documents and historiographical works much emphasis was placed on a type of footwear called ciocie; however, these do not properly correspond to any precise folkloric context, nor does the territory in which they are found in local customs reflect a specific historical-geographical region. A sort of ciocia is adopted almost everywhere in the regions of the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, sometimes in primitive forms, as well as in Albania, Greece, Macedonia and Kosovo.
However, since footwear has interested scholars and artists in Lazio, even in recent times, the variability of popular customs has been neglected and many have used the word ciocia improperly or approximately, extending or reinterpreting its meaning, or have found inspiration to construct figures literary rather distant from the real popular condition of Lazio. Almagià extensively uses the word ciocie to designate similar footwear from the Balkans, without mentioning the actual Slavic or schipetari names; Emma Calderini speaks of cioce from Lazio and in other works the expression cioce Romane is found, in phrases that sound a bit forced, since the word ciocia, in the strict sense, is properly Roman and perhaps sublacense  (in Minturno also «cioceri»).
Ciocie in the civic museum of Alatri.
So for years the cultural substratum to which we wanted to refer was completely ignored, neglecting linguistic and folkloric investigations. What is actually known in Italy about the problem is a much more complex and currently debated issue. The promotional and propaganda superficiality of the first studies is made more confused by the fact that some folkloric aspects of Lazio directly involve the territories of the Two Sicilies, where several indigenous words are recorded, which denote the ciocie and other footwear that closely resemble them, which have never were considered of demological relevance: the «zampitti» and the «sciòscio», i.e. the southern ciocias. Zampitti is a much more established dialectal word than Romanesco ciocia, due to territorial extension, also found in the territories of the former Papal State.
In Marsica and in South Pontine it is used with offensive connotations: with «i sampìtte» in Avezzano the inhabitants of Vallelonga, Sora and Valle Roveto are defined, with the nickname of «zampitti» in Terracina the inhabitants of Vallecorsa are mocked and in 1869 the same name vulgarly indicated the members of an irregular militia in the pay of Pope Pius IX, hired to control and repress brigandage on the southern papal border, made up of popular soldiers who wore ciocie   . «The zampitta» or «the zampitti» are also a type of footwear of the populations of Etna, Cilento and Basilicata. Then there are several approximate and improbable assessments issued in this regard: the footwear in use in the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, unlike what has been historically studied in Lazio, never reaches a single standard in terms of shape and is spread without continuity in many southern regions, and some indicate that only the section of historiographical evidence is of ethnographic interest, to which a specific territory of diffusion would correspond, ignoring the investigations on southern dialects and considering the Lazio costume an evolution of the Neapolitan equivalents.
An approximate hypothesis, which cannot be confirmed by real data: there is no popular lexicon which detects specific varieties in the Lazio tradition or which distinguishes this from the Neapolitan one and furthermore, since the Marsican and Terracina dialects, as well as the Neapolitan language, for example know the term zampitto as a synonym of the Italian ciocia (cf. the Neapolitan sciòscio), or as a word whose meaning is very similar to that of ciociaro or villano, the considerations that want the folklore erroneously said to be exclusive to Lazio are denied “ciociaro”, isolated from the ethnological context of southern Italy.
As for the typical model of Ciocia, still most of the authors who deal with the question, identify in the shoe of the tradition of many countries of the ancient Campagna and Marittima, which would always be made of leather both in the soles and in the strings, always knotted ( «abbote») up to the knee with thirteen laps the true distinctive element of the costume; it is also argued that the materials of which it is made and the conformation would have made the ciocia suitable for complex rural landscapes, whose inhabitants were permanently dedicated to sheep farming and sharecropping, dealing with both and without one prevailing over the other. The versatile and rustic use would thus have made it inadequate to face the winters of the Abruzzo Apennines or
conduct any activity related to the plains of Campania and maritime Lazio, the vast areas subject to hydraulic maintenance, bogged down and malaria, and for this reason either it did not have great diffusion there or, even where it had established itself in tradition, it was replaced for the most part of daily activities from clogs, boots or other footwear as early as the second half of the 19th century, surviving only in more rudimentary forms.
The ciocie in a folklore exhibition.
Other clichés in linguistics and literature
The dialects south-east of Rome have often been erroneously defined, at a popular level, as “ciociari” or “ciociareschi” dialects, but in reality the different dialects of the area belong to two different linguistic branches: central-northern Lazio ( historically known as campanino) and southern Lazio. The first group is in fact part of central Italian (median dialects), while the second is part of southern Italian (southern dialects).
Linguistic situation of southern Lazio: in pink the median dialects (Romanesco, central-northern Lazio, Sabine), in magenta the southern dialects (southern Lazio, Campania, western Abruzzese).
Specifically, the definition is often associated with a group of dialects of Romance derivation more or less homogeneous from a lexical and phonetic point of view used in the vernacular of the inhabitants of the Sacco valley and the Lepini mountains, belonging to the group of central Italian dialects, and characterized by sporadic aspects of transition towards southern dialects. These are sometimes identified, again incorrectly, as Ciociaresco. The phonetic system in which they are grouped differs in the ones spoken south of Rome, and has as its center the western portion of the province of Frosinone and the hilly and mountainous area of the province of Latina, as well as in the complex linguistic exchange between Campanian and central dialects traceable in many Hernic cities (Alatri, Frosinone, Sora, Veroli), and Pontine cities (Terracina, Monte San Biagio, Lenola, Minturno, Castelforte), with various problems of general classification, which also affect some southern dialects, known as southern Lazio[ 67] (Sora, Arpino, Comino Valley, Roccasecca).
The common linguistic domain is rather discontinuous and altered not only in the southern area, but also close to the Colli Albani, in the Velletri district, where historically Neapolitan metaphonetic outcomes and a median Italian verbal system prevail, and north of Anagni, where the they preserve the archaic Sabine vocalism, so as to form an autonomous group in the Aniene valley with the Spoletino and Sabino. An intuitive southern border is outlined by the Veroli-Priverno-Monte San Biagio band, while to the north by the imaginary Vallepietra-Valmontone-Colleferro-Velletri line.
To the west, the watershed of the Ernico-Simbruini mountains clearly separates the dialects of central-northern Lazio from those of Abruzzo in Valle Roveto, while to the east, the villages of the Lazio Pre-Apennines (Cori-Sezze-Sonnino) characterize a linguistic offshoot firmly inserted in the confused Pontine patois. The typical characteristics of the southern dialects, such as the sonorization of the deaf after N (montone > mondone), a phenomenon unrelated to the Roman dialect, and the postposition of the possessive personal pronoun (mio padre > patremo), in the dialects of the provinces of Frosinone and Latina overlap with others typically central, such as the almost total absence of the scevà and the reduction of the Latin consonant links PL – CL to kj and FL to sc/c, for which the whole territory concerned is commonly included in the area of central Italian dialects[ 65].
Belisario Gioja, Ciociarella, 19th century
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The same topic in detail: Ciociaria in the literature.
With the exception of the fascist propaganda of the time, most scholars believe that the toponym Ciociaria was originally widespread only in Roman popular culture and among the intellectuals who disseminated its traditions, thus resulting insignificant outside the borders of the Papal State: the toponym does not appear in any document of the kingdom of Naples or the Two Sicilies to indicate the Liri valley or the territory of Fondi, nor is the adjective ciociaro used to designate a population or a culture in the Neapolitan state. After the Second World War, however, the realist and neorealist literary topos, the search for a common Christian Democrat political identity in southern Lazio and in part the suppression of the ecclesiastical province of Capua with the annexation of the dioceses of Montecassino, Aquino and Atina to the Roman ecclesiastical province, were the cultural factors that favored, in common opinion, the diffusion of that point of view according to which the suppost
or “Ciociaro territory” to the south it reaches the Garigliano (according to some including even the Lazio coast)  .
Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti
Post-unification literary and historiographic trends also flourished among intellectuals who devoted themselves to the study of the new nation’s regional identities. Many no longer looked for material in historical documents, or in any case they considered the idealistic perspective for the study of the human sciences limited, and adopted primitive comparative and statistical methods within the set of popular traditions of the whole peninsula to better define the Italian traditions: arose “demology”. The librettist Targioni Tozzetti, following the studies of Pitrè, published in 1891 an anthology of Ceccanese popular fables (Saggio di novelline canti ed usages of the Ciociaria) in which he records the rituals and memory of the population of Frosinone and part of the surrounding area. However, in the work the author did not bother to establish the geographical context, obeying anti-historicist and anti-romantic rules, so much so that Frusinate appears as an extreme southern periphery of Lazio and therefore the collected short stories are arranged in a paragraph generically titled popular short stories Roman.
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The same topic in detail: Cesare Pascarella.
The Italian demological school was not very active in the Lazio area, if we exclude the experience of Targioni Tozzetti, but it made a discreet contribution in the literary field, because it inspired many writers of the late nineteenth century who made their own reaction to idealism and romanticism , laying the cultural foundations on which verismo developed. In Lazio, Cesare Pascarella was sensitive to the themes of the new thought, which can also be vaguely found in his Journey to Ciociaria. A tour of the Roman poet from Ceccano to Atina through the Liri valley is told as a grotesque confrontation between the author and the local population, including characters with strange costumes, confused forms of devotion, between superstition and blasphemy, often with evocations mannerisms of Arcadian characters, later recovered in Pasolini’s post-war anti-fascist literature.
«A Ciociaretto, bent among the broad leaves of the plants, like a satyr, drank greedily, collecting in the hollow of his hands the crystalline water that fell on the green grass and soft with dew like a shower of pearls»
(Pascarella C., Journey to Ciociaria, IV, p. 1)
The “great Ciociaria” and the province of Frosinone
After the post-unification cultural movements that marginally involved Lazio, the politicians and intellectuals of the provinces returned to be interested in the definition of local identities, to delimit new territories and new popular movements (Ciociaria, Castelli Romani, Agro Pontino such as Sabina and Tuscia), only after the First World War, when after the ferment of the red biennium, militant fascist groups began to organize themselves in the districts of Frosinone and Sora, as in the rest of the region. The stages that marked the history of southern Lazio are clear and they corresponded to the cultural propaganda of the new social classes that acquired power.
In the municipal elections of 1920, the socialist party conquered 14 municipalities in the Frusinate area and 11 in the Sorano area, while in the provincial ones the PSI became the most influential party in the district of Sora, conquering the seats of Alvito, Sora and Pontecorvo.
The reaction to the growing popular participation in democratic choices had not yet been coordinated and groups of citizens spontaneously arose throughout lower Lazio, at the service of local landowners and bishops, engaged in violent repressive actions against the farmers and workers of the Liri valley. Control of anti-revolutionary policies and repressive actions in the cities between Rome and Naples was instead disputed between the exponents of the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento and the Nationalist Party; however, when the two movements merged into the National Fascist Party, the rivalries that had arisen between the Lazio fascists were overcome, and in Ciociaria also in the common project of establishing a new province between Alatri, Sora, Cassino, Veroli, Ferentino or Frosinone, in the process of administrative and political reform known as «ruralization» and finally in the propaganda and support of corporatist social models.
However, the new political alliances were formed in an uneven way in the Caserta area, of which the district of Sora was a part, and the parties of the Liri valley, close to the nationalist cause, ended up isolating the Caserta fascists, who, unlike the frusinati, arose inspired by trade unionist positions and close to the positions of the left and remained anchored to this ideology until the suppression of the province of Caserta. [in this last step it seems that the creation of the Pro
vinci of Frosinone and the contemporary suppression of that of Caserta were the result of a contrast between the pro-fascist orientation of the inhabitants of Frosinone, against a socialist/anti-fascist one of the Caserta citizens; with the consequent rewarding of the first ones, by the regime, and consequent penalization of the others. Furthermore, there is no mention in any way of the historical fact that in those years (1926/27) various new Provinces were created in Italy, with a view to a much broader plan (compared to the slightly minimalist reading of the facts set out above ) of revision of the administrative divisions of the national territory. Thus it was that, in order to rebalance the territory of the then vast Province of Rome economically, the provinces of Viterbo and Rieti were also created in those years (the latter, similarly to the case of Frosinone, aggregating the district of Cittaducale – until then included in the Province of Aquila degli Abruzzi – with that of Rieti itself, until then part of the Province of Perugia). At the same time an attempt was made to restore greater dignity to Naples (obviously above all for the purpose of reviving its economy) which had in fact passed, in 1861, from the rank of state capital to a simple capital of one of the less extensive provinces of the Kingdom .
The result caused, for Caserta, the suppression of its Province (on the other hand this city was – and still is – rather close to the capital of Campania). It should be considered that the aforementioned revision of the provincial territories, carried out in those years – and evidently on a national scale – also led to the creation of other provinces, such as Aosta, Varese, Pistoia, Terni, Matera, Brindisi, Pescara, Nuoro, Enna, Ragusa – provinces all created in 1927 as Viterbo, Rieti and Frosinone]. In 1920 the historic center of Sora was also rebuilt, partly destroyed by the Avezzano earthquake in 1915: the design of the main religious buildings was entrusted to the engineer Paolo Cassinis, a member of ASCI, and for each church a medievalist mannerism was adopted close to the architectural models of Rome and its surroundings, gathering Gothic-Cistercian, Byzantine and Romanesque elements. With the appointment of Annibale Petricca as podestà, the urban planning replanning of Corso Volsci was approved; the palaces were rebuilt from scratch in an eclectic neo-classicist style, the only case in Lower Lazio together with Via Vitruvio di Formia, and thus every stretch of Neapolitanness present in the city was canceled, until then with Castel di Sangro and Avezzano the northernmost center of diffusion of the Neapolitan neoclassical and baroque.
Frosinone, the Provincial Palace.
In the same years, with the dissolution of the workers’ leagues and the embankment of the socialist party, from which the administration of the main municipalities of Frusinate and Sorano was taken away with a series of commissions, as early as 1923, some politicians active in the Ernico area they supported the proposal to establish the province of Frosinone. They organized themselves and gathered their ideas and propaganda around the mayor of Frosinone Pietro Gizzi, also financed by the local industrial and agricultural elites.
Thus in 1924, to disseminate the project to establish the province of Frosinone, Gizzi, following the example of the various cultural initiatives that arose in other Lazio cities (in Viterbo «La nuova Provincia» and in Rieti «Latina Gens» and «Terra Sabina») for the establishment of new administrative entities, promoted the magazine «La Ciociaria», entrusting its direction to Guglielmo Quadrotta. Publicists and historians from the Frusinate area collaborated with the magazine, some of whom were openly fascists. Previously, another propaganda newspaper had published studies aimed at researching or building a “Ciociaria identity”, the weekly “Ciociaria Nuova”, by the journalist Carlo Mancia (close to the subfederation of the PNF of Frosinone): there it was proposed the annexation of the district of Sora and part of the current Caserta area to that of Frosinone, to reconstruct the ancient Latium adjectum; the scholars who wrote in «Ciociaria Nuova» then went on to publish Quadrotta in «La Ciociaria» and, probably sharing the political designs of those who envisaged the suppression of the province of Terra di Lavoro, even arrived in their articles to propose a real «new region» which, according to Gizzi, should have included the entire Liri Valley from Tagliacozzo to Sessa Aurunca, the Pontine marshes from Anzio to Terracina, as well as part of present-day Molise with Venafro, and be called Ciociaria.
«(Of the border of Ciociaria) …figure of a rectangle limited 1) to the north-west, from Velletri, Palestrina, Subiaco; 2) to the north-east, from Subiaco, Tagliacozzo, Civita d’Antino, Sora, Atina, Sant’Elia on the Rapido or Gari river, which, flowing into the Liri, gives origin
and at the Garigliano; 3) to the southeast from Sant’Elia on the Rapido or Gari river, Monte Massico, Sessa Aurunca; 4) to the southwest by the Tyrrhenian Sea»
(Cipolla C., The territory of Ciociaria, in «La Ciociaria», I, 1924.)
The Ciociaria according to Cipolla: the four historic districts concerned are highlighted (Frosinone, Gaeta, Sora, Velletri).
Fascist political propaganda was so deeply rooted that it continued even with the extinction of workers’ struggles. The reforms desired by the exponents of the magazine «La Ciociaria», which later became «Rassegna del Lazio e dell’Umbria», were never fully implemented, but this did not prevent the new bodies of power from codifying within the revision programs of the years preceding the artistic and literary heritage of lower Lazio, also directing the local editorial and promotional system in the same direction: in 1927, under pressure from the Ernici mayors, Mussolini promulgated the birth of the province of Frosinone, partially reversing the proposals of the Frusinate cultural movement, and so in fascist circles Ciociaria became synonymous with the province of Frosinone.
Starting from the sixties, the meaning of Ciociaria adopted in the twenty years  was also consolidated in local and national journalism and publishing, even if already around 1930 the Almagià debunked the nascent geographical concept, which in the Italian Encyclopaedia considered as the expression of an «undefined region» and «deprived of its own individuality», while the more rhetorical opinions of the Frusinati fascists were soon forgotten. Quadrotta, in 1968, again proposed to identify the artificial “Ciociari borders” with those of the ancient Latium Novum, this time also annexing the Castelli Romani.
«Ciociaria constitutes southern Lazio, the Latium Adjectum or Novum of the Romans, which in addition to the primitive territory of the Latins, included the lands of the Ernici, the Volsci, the Ausoni, expanding to the east and south as far as the borders of Marsica, Sannio, of Campania»
(Quadrotta G., La Ciociaria in its borders, in Let’s discover Ciociaria, Casamari 1968)
Currently the equation Ciociaria = province of Frosinone is still widespread, widely shared in the Lazio population without the original political implications, as well as in some local cultural associations and commercial promotions, in the publications of the Provincial Tourist Board of Frosinone and also extensively in the national press. In Cassinate and Sorano, together with the proposals for the establishment of the province of southern Lazio, a cultural movement is being born which contrasts the current idea of “Ciociaria” and the ethnic and folkloric unity of the province of Frosinone which with it is intended to express: geographical and ethnological sources are sought in the traditions and history of the Terra di Lavoro that prove the existence of a common territorial identity, typical of the populations of the Middle and Lower Liri-Garigliano Valley.
Sofia Loren in an image taken from the 1960 film La ciociara.
Cinema and entertainment
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The same topic in detail: Ciociaria in cinema.
The attendance by directors and writers of the territories south of Rome, described and witnessed in many works and publications, has also favored the dissemination of costume and spectacularisation. Some artists say they have found inspiration here, for literary settings and film sets, of subjects and contexts, often vague, which generally expressed an indeterminate southern provincialism. The correspondences between these poetics and the Lazio geography unite a set of films, set between the Tiber and the Garigliano, and the characters and acting of some actors. Both for the topics dealt with and for the different collaborations between the directors in these films there is a common poetics, which is often related to an indefinite idea of Ciociaria, even if only a few authors and actors actually heard and attested a “Ciociarian identity” in their works, cultural or territorial, even less if one wants to bring their artistic choice back to this theme.
Victor De Sica.
In 1960 De Sica shot La Ciociara, based on the novel of the same name by Alberto Moravia: the success with audiences and critics meant that the work became the eponym of a discrete neorealist production, even of works that preceded the release of the film, to which artists who lived in southern Lazio, such as Cesare Zavattini and Giuseppe De Santis, had given their considerable contribution. Since then, often eluding the opinions and testimonies of directors and authors or the support of accurate documentation, vague ideas such as those of Ciociari and «la Ciociarìa» were taken as a sort of neorealist topos by some critics and writers, image of a rural and primitive Italy, anchored to the problems of employers and unemployment, also far from political struggles,
from social claims and anthropological stereotypes of the 20th century; categories that are still enjoying success today. All the films and actors born between Rome and the Garigliano are considered Ciociari in various publications, conferences and contemporary cultural events, from westerns to comedies, with once again abused expressions, in local publications and in territorial promotion, not being found in the specific artistic environments and literature no real clichés specific to these environments.
Vittorio De Sica, in Bread, love and fantasy of 1953, mentions the Bosco di Forca d’Acero, a locality of San Donato Val di Comino, without however having ever made any reference to the Ciociaria, either as his birthplace or as a location. In the fifties, however, De Santis spoke of the “reality of Ciociaria”, in relation to his film There is no peace among the olive trees, which he claimed: “true and historical, that is, it transcends the boundaries of Ciociaria to become a universal feature, it is the existence of abuses and violence by individuals who, by centralizing economic power, use it to continue to dominate and enrich themselves over the weakest”. Nino Manfredi also remembered the Ciociaria: he affirmed, introducing his covertly autobiographical film For grace received, partly shot in Fontana Liri Vecchia (country of origin, among other things, of Marcello Mastroianni), that he was born in «a town of Ciociaria, which is called Castro dei Volsci” and of having “for years harbored feelings that resembled rebellion and I felt the need to express them”. In fact, therefore, a geographical and cultural, or even artistic, idea of Ciociaria is found only in a few films and in rare testimonies of some artists, not always univocal, well defined only from a social and anthropological point of view.
The historical-geographical problems have also been superimposed and confused with the artistic and poetic ones: thus on the one hand an indefinite category such as those of the Ciociaria cinema has spread in common opinion, which is not clear whether it should contain all the films set in Lazio southern Italy or the films inspired by the neorealist poetics of Lazio, on the other hand, in the world of entertainment, a stereotype has matured often seen as an insult, of a foolish and funny person, “the ciociàro”, of whom, among others, Martufello on many occasions was valid mask.
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The same topic in detail: Ciociari in art.
With the emergence of romanticism, neoclassical artistic currents and archaeological studies in the Nordic countries, many areas of today’s Lazio aroused the interest of artists and engravers due to the abundant presence of ancient monumental ruins, which continued a trend that had already begun in the second mid-eighteenth century, when intellectuals and granturists began to frequent Rome and the surrounding area and to spread interest in Italian pastoral paintings throughout Europe. Animated by the growing demand for souvenirs and artistic postcards, many Italians began to depict the main archaeological finds of the papal territories for mostly documentary purposes, in which the romantic cult for the classical heritage was often colored in fantastic pastoral and pastoral representations, supported by mythical interpretations of lost civilizations or harmonies and idylls of manner.
Vicente March’s Ciociara.
In this same artistic framework, a positive reaction to the formalism of the archaeologists’ drawings and to the fantastic reconstructions of the “granturists” was cultivated in the weak iconographic production of some engravers and illustrators who, in depicting popular Lazio subjects, laid the foundations of a tòpos commonly known like the ciociara, oscillating between folkloric documentation and the artistic research of new iconic female characters. From the thematic archives it appears today that Bartolomeo Pinelli, at the beginning of the 19th century, was the first to name the characters and costumes of his works «ciociari», in etchings of excellent descriptive quality but without artistic pretensions. The same subject was represented several times then also in canvases or watercolors, by minor authors, such as the picturesque paintings by Nicola Palizzi (School of Posillipo), the peasant women by Joanny Chatigny or the oils by Jan Baptist Lodewyck Maes, in which realism and the sentimentality of the romantic works was abandoned to represent simple allegories and primitive symbols, new in the Italian figurative tradition, such as the conca and the cannata, as signs of industriousness and femininity, or the coral, then also taken up again in the works of great artists (Hayez, Depero). Among the most significant works:
Historical boundary of Terra di Lavoro.
Enrico Bartolomei: the little-known work of the Perugian Enrico Bartolomei is mostly themed on the study of the “ciociaro” costume. The womanwhose dress recalls that of the populations of southern Lazio, he is holding a bucket full of grapes, without any of the iconographic symbols of other works from the same subject.
Francesco Hayez: in the work by Francesco Hayez entitled La ciociara (1842), unlike the engravings and folkloric representations of the early nineteenth century, the woman is represented in solitude; the only symbol in the picture is the coral necklace that bends according to the shapes of her breasts. The woman is on top of a mountain, sitting on a rock, with a hilly landscape behind her. On the horizon, a vast barren and desolate plain that ends towards the sea recalls the Agro Pontino.
Vito D’Ancona: the painting (1865) depicts a woman in traditional costume.
Filippo Balbi: he represents La ciociara (1880) in the act of unveiling a basket full of white eggs, dressed in white and red and with a coral necklace, symbols of the Catholic iconographic tradition.
Cesare Tallone: the work, whose original title is Portrait of the painter’s sister Giuseppina Tallone in Ciociara costumed scribe (1885-1887). The woman is holding a tambourine.
Fortunato Depero: Depero renews the subject of la ciociara (1919) adapting it to the poetics of futurism: the woman is in the center of the room, dressed in an apron embroidered with a floral pattern. Two windows open from the room showing another woman wearing a wineskin that resembles a basin and a glimpse of a church that recalls the acropolis of many towns in the province of Frosinone.
Vicente March: the subject is a young woman holding a skin in her hand, whose dress is very reminiscent of that of Hayez’s la ciociara, however deprived of the brightness and sumptuousness of the drapery, in a vaguely realistic and impressionist poetics.