Formia is a city and comune in the province of Latina, on the Mediterranean coast of Lazio (Italy). It is located halfway between Rome andNaples, and lies on the Roman-era Appian Way.
Formiae (modern day Formia) was founded by ancient Romans, the name deriving from the Greek Ὁρμίαι hormiai, meaning “landing place”. It was a renowned resort during the imperial era.
Cicero was assassinated on the Appian Way outside the town in 43 BC, and his tomb remains a minor tourist destination. The city was also the seat of St. Erasmus’s martyrdom, by being disemboweled around 303 AD, during the persecutions of Diocletian. St. Erasmus later also became known as Saint Elmo the patron saint of sailors.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire the city was sacked by barbarians and the population moved to two distinct burghs on the nearby hill, which were under the rule of Gaeta. Charles II of Anjoubuilt a fortress in the maritime burgh, Mola di Gaeta. The other burgh was known as Castellone, from the castle erected there in the mid-14th century by Onorato I Caetani, count of Fondi.
The two villages were united again in 1863 under the name of Formia. The reunited city was badly damaged in 1943-1944 in bombing operations and the Battle of Anzio.
The most famous monument of Formia is the mausoleum traditionally identified with the Tomb of Cicero: it is a 24 m-high tower on the old Appian Way, enclosed in a large (83×68 m) funerary precinct.
Other sights include:
- Tower of Castellone
- Roman cistern, one of the world’s largest. Similar to the structures in Constantinople and in the Domitian’s villa of Albano, it dates from the 1st century BC.
- Remains of the Villa of Mamurra, partly destroyed in 1943, and of Roman aqueducts and cryptoportici.
- Church of San Giovanni Battista e Lorenzo, known from 841. It was almost entirely destroyed during World War II. It houses a panel byAntoniazzo Romano (c. 1490)
- Church of San Luca, known from the 15th century. It has a recently discovered crypt with frescoes of Episodes of the New Testament andMadonna del Latte.
- Renaissance monastery and church of Sant’Erasmo. It was erected on the alleged site of the saint’s martyrdom.
- Archaeological Museum.
- Regional Park of Gianola and Mount of Scauri.
First contacts and connections between Formia and Gračanica were established through sports (specifically soccer) and sports employees in mid June 1978 at a prestigious handball tournament in Fondi. Throughout the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina Formia supported Bosnia and Herzegovina and Gračanica, not just morally but also by providing extensive humanitarian assistance, particularly through a pro-Bosnian organization called “Lilium”.