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La Casa & la Quercia

"Italy’s best-kept secret, Ciociaria is not even marked on the map......Can there really be an incredibly beautiful slice of Italy which, despite an abundance of fine local produce, award-winning wine and proximity to Rome remains a well-kept secret?
Well yes, this paradise does exist – but you won’t find it on any map...

Ciociaria (pronounced cho-cha-ree-a) seems to be known only to Italians and the descendents of expats who walked into exile to survive. Thousands emigrated to England, Scotland and South America in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now they’re coming back to this sub-region of central Italy to see the places where their families used to live!

Its borders have no official definition but, roughly, the area occupies a tranche of Lazio and the tip of Abruzzo, with Frosinone as its capital. Rome caps it in the north, Naples in the south; it’s hemmed in by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and, in the east, the Abruzzo mountains.

However vague its geographical borders, Ciociaria has a cultural and culinary identity as distinct as any other Italian region. Here even humble beans and sweet peppers are special enough to get their own DOC, and cherries and wild mountain greens deserve one too.

But the area was, nevertheless, emptied by unemployment, brigands and war as the 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino in the province of Frosinone formed the backdrop for the Sophia Loren movie Two Women, aka La Ciociara....."
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