Comune di Formia

Remains of the ancient Roman
port in the Gianola park

Coat of arms

Formia within the Province of Latina

Location of Formia in Italy

Coordinates: 41°16′N 13°37′E / 41.267°N 13.617°E / 41.267; 13.617
Country Italy
Region Lazio
Province / Metropolitan city Latina (LT)
Frazioni Castellonorato, Gianola-Santo Janni, Marànola, Penitro, Trivio
  Mayor Sandro Bartolomeo
  Total 73 km2 (28 sq mi)
Elevation 19 m (62 ft)
Population (9 October 2011)
  Total 36,331
  Density 500/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Formiani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 04023
Dialing code 0771
Patron saint St. Erasmus and St. John
Saint day June 2 and June 24
Website Official website
The tower of Mola Castle

Formia is a city and comune in the province of Latina, on the Mediterranean coast of Lazio (Italy). It is located halfway between Rome and Naples, and lies on the Roman-era Appian Way. It has a population (2011) of 36,331.[1]


The octagonal tower of Castellone.

Formia was founded in ancient times by the Laconi and named in Greek, Ὁρμίαι (hormiai, meaning "landing place") and later in early Latin, Ormiae. In the Roman Republic era it was called Formiae (derived from Hormia or Ormiai, for its excellent landing). 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 Anjou built 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 1943–44 in bombing operations and the Battle of Anzio.[2]


Formia lies on the Tyrrhenian Sea, in southern Lazio, close to the town of Gaeta and next to the borders of Campania region.

The municipality borders with Esperia (FR), Gaeta, Itri, Minturno and Spigno Saturnia.[3] It counts the hamlets (frazioni) of Castellonorato, Gianola-Santo Janni, Marànola, Penitro and Trivio.

Main sights

The most famous monument of Formia is the mausoleum traditionally identified with the Tomb of Cicero: it is a 24-metre-high (79 ft) tower on the old Appian Way, enclosed in a large, 83-by-68-metre (272 by 223 ft) funerary precinct.

Other sights include:


Formia is the seat of the National Athletics School of the Italian National Olympic Committee, founded in 1955. Athletes such as Pietro Mennea and Giuseppe Gibilisco trained here.


Formia itself is the most important transportation hub of southern Lazio. The Rome–Formia–Naples railway passes through Formia-Gaeta railway station, from which visitors and residents may travel by bus to Gaeta, Minturno, Spigno and other local towns.

Ferries and hydrofoils connect Formia to Ponza, Ischia and Ventotene.

Twin towns

Notable people

See also


Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Formia.
  1. (Italian) Source: Istat 2011
  2. (Italian) History of Formia
  3. 41192 Formia on OpenStreetMap
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Formia.
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