The Abbey of San Magno Near Fondi
In between the towns of Fondi and Monte San Biagio is the ancient Abbey of San Magno. It stands at the foot Monte Arcano, close to a stream that flows into the Licola river. The monastery was founded in 533 AD in the memory of the martyr San Magno on the site of a former Roman structure. During the second half of the third century many Christians, such as San Magno, were threatened and persecuted by the Roman emperor Decius. Some early Christians in this area took refuge in the local hills and mountains, however they were eventually captured and were executed because of their faith. The remains of San Magno and other martyrs were kept for many centuries in a tomb within a Roman building that stood on the source of the river. Over time this became a site of holy reverence.
The medieval church dates from the early 10th century. During the begininng of the the 15th century the monastery complex was renovated by Prospero Colonna, the Count of Fondi. In 1798 the abbey was looted and destroyed by Napoleon’s French troops.
The Restoration of the Abbey
After a long period of neglect and abandonment this historic Abbey of San Magno has undergone total restoration in recent years and has been given a refreshing new lease of life. The complex was re-opened in 2007 and the abbey is once again a place of pilgrimage and peaceful contemplation. The church has a single nave and is in a simple style. There are some 11th century frescoes which depict the life of Saint Benedict.
The Abbey of San Magno forms part of the Monti Ausoni and Lago di Fondi Regional Nature Park.
Close to the monastery there stands a Medieval water mill that was used for pressing olive oil.