WELCOME TO OUR BLOG OF GENZANO IT STORY; THIS BLOG WILL BE USED TO POST OUR OWN TEXT ABOUT GENZANO AND ONE OF ITS CITIZEN STORY, AND TO HOUSE A COLLECTION OF ALL PHOTOS AND ARTICLES ABOUT GENZANO DI LUCANIA THAT WE FIND OR WRITE AND WE THINK THAT ARE WORTH TO POST.
In order to get a larger amount
of people interested in castles and their history, we have borrowed this photo,
and also the link that links to this great hub, so anyone that likes to read
this hub can view it just by clicking on the link.
But let me make this clear the
hub that I am writing here under in hub page, it is going to be our own small
castle of Monteserico, as I have said I would like the public to be interested
in the castles and the castles history and if they are they can read both hubs.
But be warned the castle of Monteserico is only a very small castle compared to
Leeds Castle, but it has got its own history, which we are trying to write the
best way we could.
The castle of Monteserico
Welcome to our article, ‘The
The castle of Monteserico
This is a recent photo as the castle of Monteserico is now after restorations.
The castle of Monteserico is only a small castle compared to lots of other castle, but its history is a lot more interesting than its size.
The castle of Monteserico
We could have called this hub,
The Norman castle of Monteserico, since The Normans first they fought around
this castle to conquer it and then used it to run their conquest in this part
of Southern Italy around 1040 AD, in second place we could have called it, ‘the
castle of Federico II’, since he used this castle as sit for the “magister
massarium Apuliae” while he was master of Southern Italy around 1220- 1250, but
because it has many names and many owners, today we all call it the castle of
Monteserico, because that is how is called the zone of southern Italy. So, let
us talk about the castle of Monteserico, in Genzano di Lucania
First of all we
would like to explain to our readers the following situation: Strange as it may
seem the town of Genzano di Lucania has two castles, one is in the town itself
and another one is in the country, the castle that is in the town has been
modified and today is used as the Town Hall (Municipio), but we are not going
to talk about the castle in the town today, we have just mentioned this to
explain to our readers the town of Genzano, as this involves both castles; so,
today we are going to talk about the castle in the country and we call this
castle, Monteserico castle; here we need to say that the name of “Monteserico” in
Genzano, not only refer to this castle but it also refer to the county itself;
in fact this name would cover about three quarter of Genzano territory.
is a very old castle that a long time ago had a small town or village of its
own, some people believe that the Normans built it, but most people don’t agree
with it and have other explanations of how this castle came about before the
Normans, and the Normans may have modified it and used this castle, while they
were ruling over their conquest in Southern Italy, we will talk about this
again as we continue with this story.
Now if we connect
what historically is known today, we will soon see that this castle of
Monteserico was there before the modern Genzano came into existence, we say the
modern Genzano because there is some evidence that Genzano existed in the Roman
times, as it is mentioned in the archive of Potenza that two martyrs Donato and
Secondo were executed in Genzano around 258 AD, for more details see our hub Genzano di Lucania history, therefore the town
of Genzano existed even then but for some reasons it is not motioned much as if
it did not exist until later on as our story will show.
Now let us go back
to talk about Monteserico castle, this castle is/was completely independent
from the town of Genzano di Lucania, in fact the modern town of Genzano seem to
have come into existence well after the Norman invasion of Southern Italy. We
are saying this because even though today Monteserico Castle is situated in the
territory of Genzano, the founder of the existing Genzano came from this
castle, history tells us that this castle is the castle that the queen Aquilina
Sancia lived in before Genzano town was built or perhaps it would be more
correct to say rebuilt and Aquilina Sancia is said to be the founder of
Genzano, today we know that it is not true, because there has been a very old
Anyhow nobody knows
exactly who started to build this castle of Monteserico, and it has many
stories about its origin, what we know today is that this was one of the main
castles that the Normans used to rule over Southern Italy in the beginning of
the second millennium, and that in this part of southern Italy there have been
many wars and this castle has had many owners, another historically well known
owner was “Frederick II” about 1194-1250, check the links below.
Some other owner of the castle we will try to mention in our text here
under. Anyhow today it happens that this castle has been restored to safe keep
the heritage of this part of Southern Italy; but it is a very quiet country
place, it seems almost forgotten except for the people that work around in the
fields that produce some of the best durum wheat that is used to make pasta and
other wheat products. However if one is keen to know this part of Italian
history one can learn something about it from this hub and then try to visit
the place preferably during spring or summer.
Explaining these photos above and below.
(Refer to hub)
Here above is the
chapel of the Madonna of Monteserico, but the original Monteserico Madonna
picture has been stolen, and somebody replaced by a cheap picture; so the town
of Genzano ordained the painter Pedota to paint a portrait of our Madonna Maria
SS Delle Grazie and in 1953 they had a feast and relaced the cheap picture with
this new painted image. So today this chapel of Monteserico has this new
picture of, Maria SS delle Grazie patron Saint of Genzano as the main Madonna,
It is said that, here the inhabitant of Genzano need to make a feast at least
once a year otherwise they lose possession of Monteserico chapel and the
possession will pass to the family De Chio of Spinazzola, as they were the last
owners or tenants of the place.
Below is a photo of
the castle taken from a far away field, you see in this part of the country
there are only fields that are used to grow wheat or other produce and not much
else stretching away for miles. This photo reminds me about the thousands of
time that I have seen this castle from our family farm, when I was young.
Then there is this
photo of this poster about the inauguration of Monteserico Castle after the
restoration, where the names of people that have contributed and other things
About the castle of Monteserico
seems to be built different from most other castles. It is shaped rectangular or
almost square, one can say that it is more a military fortress than a real
castle; it is built in stones of every shape and size, and today it would be
hard to find builders or tradesmen that would be able to build something like
that, even though there are some tradesmen as we can see from the entry pathway
that looks almost new, and it is almost identical to the castle masonry;
however we know that it has been added later, because this castle had a trench
around it a long time ago for reasons of defence, but this added entry pathway
makes it easy to enter the castle, so it is a later addition and it looks good.
Anyhow these two photos one above and one below are there to show you how the
castle is like today.
Anyhow let us look
at some history of this castle of Monteserico, but before we do that we need to
point out that the castle of Monteserico looks exactly like one of the Norman
castle in Normandy France; see our hub Genzano di Lucania history, in the
subtitle section The Normans in Italy; where I ask this French army captain
about the castle in Normandy and the way he explains it to me. So first of all
we need to prove that the Normans were in these parts of Southern Italy and
then we could link what is historically known with our own understanding of the
situation, so here under is some evidence that we are going to quote from:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Norman conquest of southern Italy spanned most of the 11th and 12th
centuries, involving many battles and many independent players conquering
territories of their own. Only later were these territories in southern Italyunited as the Kingdom of Sicily, which included
not only the island of Sicily, but also the entire southern third of the Italian Peninsula(save Benevento, which they did briefly
hold on two occasions) as well as the archipelago of Maltaand parts of North Africa.
bands of Normans successfully established a foothold in Southern Italy(the Mezzogiorno). Probably the
result of returning pilgrims' stories, the Normans entered the Mezzogiorno as warriors in 1017 at the latest. In
999, according to Amatus of Montecassino, pilgrims returning from Jerusalemcalled in at the port of Salernowhen a Saracenattack occurred. The Normans
fought so valiantly that Prince Guaimar IIIbegged
them to stay, but they refused and instead offered to tell others back home of
the prince's request. William of Apuliatells
that, in 1016, pilgrims to the shrine of the Archangel Michaelat Monte Garganowere met
by Melus of Bari, a Lombardfreedom-fighter, who
persuaded them to return with more warriors to help throw off the Byzantinerule, which they did.
(End of quote)
In some written
stories or history about Genzano and this castle of Monteserico, there is this
famous Norman leader (Roberto il Guiscardo) Robert Guiscard that is said to own
the castle of Monteserico as also some battles that happened around this
castle, here is a link about Robert Guiscard.
From what we have been able to write and explain here, it is that for
certain the Normans have used this castle extensively and perhaps modified it
or partly built it, and since Robert Guiscard (Duke of Apulia) was there, we
would guess that this castle might really have been the main Norman castle of
Southern Italy from where the Norman ruled over their conquest.
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
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 Monteserico.
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 an Italianactressofcinemaand theatre. She was born in Genoa, and died in Rome. Her career in theatre started when she was a child, acting
on stage with Paola Pezzagliain the French drama I 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
Anyhow, we 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.
Dear readers, we
have written several hubs about the town of Genzano di Lucania, we have written
some history also of this town and the castle of Monteserico, of course there
are several other things that could be said about the past, but today we have
to start to look at the future, because there are things happening in southern
Italy, so we are going to look at the modern history making around these
places, you see I like to forecast what could happen around these places, just
looking at what is happening just now. So let us look at what could happen in
out next hub about Italy modern history.