Declared “National Monument”in 1874, Fossanova Abbey is the most ancient example of Gothic-Cistercian art in Italy. The complex was founded at the end of the 12th century on the ground of a Benedictine monastry dating back to the 6th century, of which a small trace is still visible today above of the church rosette.
The ancient monastry, built on a Roman villa ruins, was given by Pope Innocenzo II in 1134 to some monks led by Saint Bernard from Chiaravalle, who followed the stricht rule derived from the Citeaux reform (1098) and based on the original benedictine rule.
First of all the Cistercian monks thought of reclaiming the swamped area by digging a new canal (nuovo fosso) in order to control the river Amaseno water level and that’s where the name Fossanova comes from.
The building of the church began only in 1187. On 10th June 1208, Pope Innocenzo III, consecrated the altar.
Very close to Fossanova there is the town of Priverno which was once an obliged crossing point for whoever wanted to reach the sea from the towns on the mountains. The centre of this town still has a medieval setting divided by the Via Consolare.
Every year in Fossanova a medieval festival is held around mid August.