The Ausoni Mountains

The Ausoni Mountains are the second stretch of Apennines which follows the ramifications of the Lepini Mountains. Along with the Aurunci Mountains they make up a single range that extends to the Garigliano Valley.

Their rock faces overlook the eastern side of the Pontina plain and the expansive Fondi plain. Their furthest ramifications end with the Leano Mountain (676 m), near Terracina, and with the Sant’Angelo Mountain. The latter extended to the Tyrrhenian Sea before the Pisco Montano cliff was cut to shorten the course of the Appian Road, during the reign of Trajan.

The highest mountain is the Monte delle Fate (1,090 m), in the centre of the semicircle that the Ausoni Mountains form, protecting the Fondi Plain.

Worthy of mention on account of its great importance from a scientific standpoint is the geological site of Campo Soriano, comprised within the municipalities of Sonnino and Terracina.

It is a vast karst cave system from which large rocks of the most diverse shapes emerge. The most important is called “la cattedrale” (the cathedral) for obvious reasons and rises to nearly 15 metres.

The most famous and atmospheric speleological site in the region, the Pastena Caves, is located here.

Discovered in 1926, the caves are among the most unique of their kind, especially due to an underground cascade which leaves the many visitors in awe.

The flora of the Ausoni Mountains is typical of the southern landscapes, characterized by wild olive trees and mastic trees.

Furthermore, the valley extending north-west from the San Biagio Mountain is covered by forest land which, along the San Vito pass, becomes a magnificent cork oak wood, one of the largest in Italy.

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