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Welcome to our blog, Genzano it story
and this post, Historic events in brief
Historic event in brief
In this post we are still talking about the castle of Monteserico, so we
continue to look at the history around this castle. The history during the
first millennium of this castle is not know very much, but it is believed that
there were some caves that the shepherds and other inhabitant of this region
used for themselves, before the castle of Monteserico was built. Some people
say that this part of Southern Italy has seen many battles; they even suggest
that Spartacus with his other slave friend have been here, while they were in
Southern Italy, as history tells us when the slaves rebelled and formed their
own army under their leader Spartacus, they went to live near the Ionian Sea,
now Monteserico is part of the territories that runs into the Ionian Sea
through the river Bradano and its tributaries, there might be also another
story why Spartacus could have come this way; you see in Genzano town even
today there is this chasm called the Greek chasm, the only thing this can mean
is that there was a Greek colony living in this chasm; and Spartacus being
Greek for sure would be attracted from this countrymen community, so even
Spartacus could have come in Monteserico territory.
Now let us go back to talk about our castle Monteserico; as we all know
everything most time starts small and then starts growing, so, some people say
that at the beginning, this could have been a Roman villa used for holiday,
then turned as a monastery of the Greek orthodox religion. Then as the time
went by and many wars and other things happened around this place it kept
growing until we find that the Normans at the beginning of the second
millennium have this castle, and they rule over most of southern Italy from
this castle of Monteserico.
After that the castle of Monteserico changed many owners, and some of
which we are going to mention as soon as we get around; one of the most known
of these people from the inhabitant of Genzano is Aquilina Sancia queen of
Monteserico. The reason for this is that while this Aquilina Sancia was there
she built a monastery of the Clarisse in Genzano and this monastery attracted
people that lived around to move and live around this monastery and for this
reason Genzano town is said that Aquilina Sancia is the founder of the existing
Genzano, today we know that this is not correct, since there is some historic
evidence that the town of Genzano has existed since the Roman times.
More historic events
Here we are saying that we are
going to look at some historic event that would help establish the history of
this castle, today it is hard to do that because there isn’t any history
written properly about this Monteserico castle, so we are going to rely on
search done about sixty years ago from the writer Ettore Lorito who has done
some search and written a book about Genzano including the castle of
The writer Ettore Lorito suggests
that the beginning of the castle is ancient, but nobody really knows when it
was started; anyhow we would like to tell you what he has written in this very
shortened and translated version, since here we are writing this article about
this castle; we are doing this since the original is written in Italian. Now if
there are some people that would like to read the original Italian version they
should go to this link; http://genzanoit.blogspot.com/,
this is one of my blogs, so I am going to explain how to navigate to this link,
first of all click on the link above, once you have reached the blog, you need
to navigate down the left side column until you reach Home pages, in Home pages
find the link, Genzano in Italiano, (it 1) and click on it, go down the
page and then click on the link, Scrittori e poeti, a few names of writers come
up, click on Ettore Lorito, some links for two books come up, click on GENZANO
DI BASILICATA Cronografia; within this book there is also the story of the
castle of Monteserico.
Now that I have explained how to
find the Italian original version, let me start to tell this shortened version
It is thought that very early at
the place where the castle is today there were caves below it that the local
people used to live in; today it might seem strange to think that people lived
in caves, but they did, so that was already a start for people to continue to
live there. So very likely when the Romans conquered southern Italy some of
them might have built a villa, this was only natural as this gave them the
control of the country side, this is one of the possible ways how this castle
was started. It is also believed that Spartacus and his Roman slave’s friends
have been in this country and fought with the Romans, and also that even the
Roman council Marcello and Hannibal have fought on this territory, but there is
no mention of the castle in those times.
Some people say that the castle
was built around 900 AD just because they have found some written story; one of
this is the following.
The writer Deblaisiis in his Norman
Conquest said that in the year 929 AD Guaimaro and Ladolfo to repay the Norman
for the help they had given at Monte Serico and Monte Peloso gave them some
castles including one in Spinazzola; so the castle of Monteserico was already
there and perhaps it had been there as a villa at the beginning and then
modified into a castle after the fall of the Roman empire, when most localities
had to look after themselves, since there was not a Roman army to guard the
country. Anyhow, because in 929 the castle was already there, it was not built
by the Norman as some people believe.
Now just to make this story
shorter, let us go to when the Norman had somehow got possession of the castle
of Monteserico after many battles, you see even today after a thousand years there
is a hill called (Serra della battaglia) this laterally means “the hill of the
battle” But even though the Norman and their allied won that battle on this
hill, they were not able to take the castle this time, because the castle was
well defended; but somehow they got there some years later.
Anyhow, we know through history
that Robert Guiscard a Norman by birth became duke in southern Italy, I would
like to say more who has owned the castle, but for me to name other names that
owned this castle is hard to know unless I find an historic list, but we can
say that through marriages, exchanges and other things the castle of
Monteserico was ruled from this Spanish princess Aquilina Sancia around 1300
AD.. In those times there was also a suburb near the castle, but it slowly
disappeared around 1400 and 1430 AD.
old history of Monteserico
Let us just imagine how this
small castle might have been built, since nobody seems to know who, when or the
real reason it has been built, but from what we have found we have formed some
possible ideas of its history, so let us say how we see this castle story.
In the beginning there must have
been people of this region living in the caves where today stands the castle, they
could have been local shepherd or perhaps other outside people, anyhow
everything has to have a beginning, some of these people could have originated
from Greece or somewhere else, they came up the valley of the river Bradano and
settled here in Monteserico and also in the town of Genzano, since in Genzano
even today there is this chasm called the Greek chasm, of course this is very
early in history.
Then came the Roman Era with
their conquest of southern Italy and then most of the known world, so, the
Romans ruled over this part of Italy for a very long time; during that time
some of the Roman leader may have started a holiday villa or just a building to
live in and rule over the countryside, that is what the Roman did best, they
usually would build something wherever they went so that they would be able to
run that part of their conquest easily and at the same time bring civilization
to the people in that region. So we believe that since the Roman times there
has been a building there that some Roman landlord used and looked after, it
might also have grown and modified many times.
When the Western Roman Empire
collapsed around in 475-76 AD, when the German Odovacer deposited Romulus Augustulus,
and in affect became king of Rome.
After the fall of the Roman
Empire there wasn’t any real peace in Italy, so people had to try to protect
themselves the best way they could, this in affect made people build castles,
so this villa or whatever was built in Monteserico started to take the form of
a small castle.
The first time that a sort of a
castle or fort is mentioned is in the 800 AD. You see there were many wars so
Monteserico castle and other castles in this part of the region became fortified
forming a line of defence against the enemy; please note that this is before
the Norman came to southern Italy, so when Robert Guiscard came to this part of
Italy the castle was already there, as we can see from some important battles
that happened in those times.
Some known Monteserico history
Let us mention the owner that we
know or we think we know that have owned the castle of Monteserico, So, let us
start with famous owners like Robert Guiscard duke of southern Italy in 1047 of
Apulia and Calabria and later on the Two Sicilies etc. Born 1016 died 1085
Another famous one is Fredrick II
that owned this castle, after Frederick II, 1194-1250, of course it is not easy
here to follow a chain of event, but we know that these castle and other holdings
always changed hand, it is said in history that there was a Roberto D’Angio who
had married a Sancia he donated the castle to a family member del Bosco who saw
husband of Aquilina Sancia, and when he died Aquilina Sancia became owner of
From Aquilina Sancia it was
inherited from her daughter Giacoma Rachele who married Roberto San Severino
the count of Carignano and Terlizzi, and then it was passed to the family
Dentice delle Stelle under the queen Giovanna and the to the Ruffo.
During this time Monteserico had
also a small town or suburb, but around 1400-1430 it slowly vanished, there was
not an explanation why this happened but it happened.
After Aquilina Sancia there were
the Sanseverino who had the castle. After that in 1603 was a Genoese Grimaldi,
in 1613 was the Doria, at the end of 1700 was some descendents of the Sancia
family and after that was abandoned.
It was bought from the Baron
Dell’Agli-Certi the 30-01-1857, and then it was sold to the Cafieri the
30-03-1875 but by then it was too run down to live in.
After world war 1 the tenant
Gardini bought a portion of the land from the Cafieri and the castel of
Monteserico, it was used for holiday or resting place from this actress: Lyda Borelli(22 March 1884 – 2 June
1959) was anItalianactressofcinemaandtheatre. She was born inGenoa, and died inRome. Her career in theatre started when she was a child, acting
on stage withPaola Pezzagliain the French dramaI due derelitti.
There might be
other things to add but I don’t know what else to say at the moment, except
that this military castle of Monteserico is a small fortress that has got many
unknown stories, whether we will be able to tell these stories one day we do
hope that we have told you this story of Monteserico for everybody to read, but
it has also been especially written for those people that come from Genzano, so
that they can remember their native town and our Monteserico castle.
See you in our
next post, which might be written about what is happening around this castle of
Monteserico and Genzano of southern Italy.