More Churches of Fondi
The Ex Church and Convent of San Domenico
The church and convent of San Domenico was given to the Benedictine monks in the year 1215. It is believed that the original church of Sancta Maria Iuxta Anphiteatrum Civitatis Fundanæ had been built on the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre. The complex was restored by Count Ruggiero dell’Aquila and then later in 1466 the duke Caetano II erected a new church in a late Gothic style.
Saint Thomas Aquinas lived in the convent for some time, three rooms still exist that were inhabited by the saint. One was where he dictated lessons, another was where he slept and where mass was celebrated, and the third that was the oratory. It is certain that the remains of the Saint were kept in the adjoining chapel, having been transfered from the Abbey of Fossanova, the place of his death – 17th March 1274. In 1367 Pope Urban V ordered that the saint’s remains be taken to the Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse, France. The convent has a beautiful cloister with a garden in the centre. Up until 1835 an orange tree grew here that was said to have been planted by Thomas Aquinas himself.
The convent was once used as the town hospital. However the site was badly damaged during World War II. In recent years the complex underwent significant restoration, during which some frescoes of the original church of Santa Maria were uncovered. The ex church and convent now serves as an auditorium, with several multimedia rooms, a museum and cultural spaces for educational activities.