History of the town of Campagna.
The first certain news of the village of Campagna dates back to the Lombard period, although some finds of prehistoric remains and furnishings and some monuments (such as the stone placed on the "Ponte della Piazza" in Piazza Melchiorre Guerriero) lead us to think that the first settlements date back to various eras; one above all in Roman times under the Emperor Augustus. The first documentary evidence dates back only to the year 1000: in that period the name Campagna indicated the inhabited center, probably to contract the word Finibus Campaniae, that is the border between Campania and Lucania.
In the year 1056 the wording "Castellum Campaniae" appears for the first time in an instrument preserved in the archive of the abbey of SS. Trinity of Cave de 'Tirreni. (1) This denomination, in vogue throughout the second half of the 11th century, was used not to indicate the Gerione Castle, but rather a fortified one; this can be deduced by consulting the first publications on Campagna which clearly show the presence of mills close to the confluence of the Tenza and Atri rivers in the historic center of the city. This makes us think that the town of the time was already structured with a certain caliber.
To reinforce the concept, in a document dated 1058 to indicate the position of the church of San Michele Arcangelo in Olevano sul Tusciano, it is specified that it is located << ... in a golden mountain under Campanea ... >>. (2) To consult the documentary evidence that can testify a prosperity of the town already at the beginning of the second millennium, we can refer to the Church of the SS. Trinità, built in 1095, thanks to the donation of the archbishop of Salerno da Sicone, (3) former viscount of Campagna, built to the left of the river Tenza, where today's Casal Nuovo stands (reason why even today some areas of the aforementioned district are "Trinità") together with the existing districts of Zappino, San Bartolomeo, Giudeca and Girone.
Starting from the twelfth century we find another term to indicate a further development of the city: "Civitas Campaniae". I cannot express myself with certainty on how this status was assumed, but there was certainly the elevation of the city (given the new name); the built-up area had somehow assumed autonomy and relevance for sure. In fact, in an instrument of 1121 there is a clear reference to a church called "Santa Maria della Giudeca", a church of absolute importance in the history of the countryside if we consider that in 1164 (4) it already had an archpriesthood, as well as other important developments that I will tell later.
The historical importance of Campagna consistently begins to take shape when the village assumed an almost unassailable geo-strategic position, following the European developments in those years, playing a leading role in the fate of the Principality of Salerno.
In that difficult period, it was almost always owned by the feudal lords and rarely owned by Lords and this strongly limited the autonomy of the fiefdom, with the consequent delay in urban development and growth.
Its maximum splendor.
The situation improved when in 1260 the fiefdom was entrusted to the knight Giovanni D'Apia, to whom great merits go to the custody and development of the Sanctuary of the Madonna d'Avigliano with renovations, embellishments and extensions, as certified by the settlement of the monks at his internal. After his death, the fiefdom passed subsequently to the Orsini di Gravina, thanks to Ercole Dal Balzo, husband of Isabella d’Apia, daughter of Giovanni, related in line of succession to the Orsini family; and it is precisely here that the best period for Campagna begins as they, to cope with the huge expenses of the palace they were building in Naples, transferred a large part of the rights and feudal bodies: this greatly favored the change of residence in Campagna of numerous families wealthy and important. The initiatives were implemented precisely by the same ones who planted activities for the transformation and trade of wheat and olive products in the city fabric. This was the keystone to sanction the great development of those years that saw Campagna be, in the sixteenth century, an important reality in the Salerno area. Further fundamental developments arose from the popes of the Orentina De 'Medici family, Leo X and Clement VII, and again to Count Ferdinando Orsini, thanks to the intercession of the noble from Campania Melchiorre Guerriero, Count Palatine, Master of the Short Pontiffs and Abbreviator of the Kingdom of Naples.
The fate of Campagna was positively marked in 1514 when the church of Santa Maria della Giudeca was raised to a collegiate church and immediately after a few years, there was the prelude to the title of City, granted by Pope Leo X in 1518. Another piece that will consecrate Campagna centro nerve center of southern Italy was added in 1525 when Pope Clement VII established the Diocese by uniting it to that of Satriano.
All these important events are due to the Warrior. Apparently he made use of dubious documents open to various interpretations, presenting to the papal court an ancient diocese present in Sant'Angelo di Furano and, taking advantage of his important role in Vatican circles, he managed to elevate Campagna to an increased status . Numerous advantages ensued, such as important economic developments and, above all, the affirmation of numerous citizens in the literal and legal fields. As evidence of this, there was the establishment in 1541 (5) by the Campagnesi Giovanni Antonio De Nigris and Marco Fileta Filiuli, of the first printing house in the Principality of Salerno, located in the current Palazzo Tercasio.
The printing activity was mainly linked to the in-depth studies that were held in the Study Center in the Dominican convent, in the San Bartolomeo district, where the two founders taught together with other illustrious citizens such as Giulio Cesare Capaccio.
Printing in the countryside reached its peak thanks also to the probabilist bishop Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, who replaced the old typography with a new one, giving life to valuable editions.
The war between the French and the Spanish of those years conditioned the socio-economic life of much of Europe; obviously Campagna was also affected by these events.
In 1532 the fiefdom was assigned to Honored II of Monaco by Charles V of Spain in exchange for his loyalty: from this moment on a golden period began for the entire town, the Monegasque royal together with his descendants owned the fief for over a century, precisely until 1642 (6) when, for a similar event, the fiefdom of Campagna was given to the winner of the moment. In fact, the administration passed from the Grimaldis of Monaco, who sided with the French, to the Caracciolos of Torrecuso with Captain Lelio Maffey installed as governor with full powers.
The city received enormous benefits from both families both from a social point of view (public water networks, strengthening or introduction of new civil statutes), and from an economic point of view.
Campagna saw its heyday in those years, consolidating its role in the South, even building a hospital, where the Carabinieri station in l.go Sant’Antonio is now located. After a brief parenthesis (1660/1673) which saw the return of the Grimaldis, the fiefdom remained vacant for a period of time, confiscated by the Royal Property: the attempts of the Campagnesi to redeem it at various auctions (the Viviani family above all) were useless. . It was then assigned to Nicolò Pironti who managed to win it in 1695.
In conclusion, we can say with absolute certainty that the sixteenth century marked the country town forever and for the better, changing its urban face, making it very similar to the current one. Among other things, numerous civil and religious buildings were built, one above all the beginning of the works of the Cathedral, the enlargement of the existing ones and the construction of many noble palaces.
The modern age
The seventeenth century opened with two shocks that disturbed city life considerably: the Neapolitan Revolution led by Masaniello of 1647 and the Plague of 1656. Both caused problems of a certain importance, with the first generating a series of interminable disputes caused by different factions that led to many wealthy families to the pavement, while the second decimated the population, so much so that it went from about 5000 citizens to just over 1600, as reported by Juan Caramuel in one of his Relatio ad Limina in 1662. (7)
Events that irreparably curbed the constant growth that took place up to those moments. The recovery was slow and tortuous and it took almost fifty years for Campagna to return to the comfortable steps of the previous century.
The 1700s, however, was also the protagonist of new constructions of civil buildings, such as the ducal palace in the Zappino district and also of the completion of religious buildings such as the cathedral of Santa Maria della Pace.
For a good part of this century, a good phase of urban development was evident, mainly aimed at the completion of neighborhoods or new constructions in empty spaces, bringing the built-up area of Campagna to the dimensions that we can still see today.
Of absolute importance, however, is also the construction of the Diocesan Seminary, strongly desired by Bishop Fontana in 1723 (8), even if it began to be functional only in 1738 thanks to Bishop Anzani.
The Neapolitan Revolution of 1799, the law of subversion of the feudalism of Giuseppe Bonaparte of 1806, the laws of suppression of the convents and monasteries of 1808/1811, in addition to the brigand raids of the Giardullo band, brought upheavals in the social fabric of the city.
The availability of many buildings made vacant by the aforementioned regulations, brought many opportunities to the city, allowing it to remain an important hub in the Salerno area throughout the nineteenth century. Formerly the district capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, with the unification of Italy in 1861 it became the capital of the district and was the seat of barracks and military district, the latter located in Palazzo Tercasio. There was also space for the Subintendency at the Augustinian Convent (today the Town Hall), which later housed the Sub-prefecture and the offices of the Magistrate's Court.
After so much growth that lasted three centuries, 1900 marked a sudden stop. The importance obtained in the previous decades slowly disappeared giving way to a phase of decline due to its geographical position: ironically, what in the past had favored the exponential growth of the city, with the beginning of the nineteenth century has caused the exact opposite.
This phase began mainly with the ouster of the city from the main communication routes and certainly the impossibility of further expanding the urban development, but nothing compared to the terminus of this process, which culminated with the earthquake that struck Irpinia on 23 November 1980. This tragic event made most of the houses and buildings uninhabitable, the main reason that induced the local citizens, at least in large part, to abandon the historic center to move to the nascent hamlets. However, in this intense but also difficult century, the establishment of two internment camps for Jews and others persecuted following the promulgation of the Racial Laws of 1938, identifying in the former Dominican convent of San Bartolomeo (the most large pre-existing camp in Southern Italy) as a male internment camp and that of the former Observants of the Conception as the female one (albeit for a short period).
These were sad events that, however, found a completely different turn in Campagna thanks to the work and magnanimity of my fellow citizens, but above all thanks to Bishop Giuseppe Maria Palatucci, uncle of the last Italian deputy chief of Fiume Giovanni Palatucci, Righteous among the Nations.
The two Palatuccis, with the tacit consent of the local authorities, managed to give comfort and tolerance to the inmates, integrating them with respect into an almost normal course of city life. The inmates, therefore, reciprocated with the help and medical treatment, under the guidance of doctors Tanzer and Pajes, during the Anglo-American bombing of September 17, 1943, of which Campagna was a victim.
These two events led the Campagnese people to give their best, so much so that they deserved two Gold Medals for civil merit awarded to the City in 2005 and 2006 by the Presidents of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Giorgio Napolitano, respectively for self-denial and for the commitment shown in post-earthquake reconstruction and for the events inherent in the hospitality and comfort that the Campagnesi were able to give to the inmates during the Second World War.
Text by Cristian Viglione.
Revisions: Francesco Pezzuti.
1. CARLONE, MELCHIORRE GUERRIERO E LA DIOCESI DI CAMPAGNA - APPENDICE DOCUMENTARIA A CURA DI FRANCESCO MOTTOLA. SALERNO 1984
2. BALDUCCI, L’ARCHIVIO DELLA CURIA ARCIVESCOVILE DI SALERNO, II, UN CHARTULARIUM ECCLESIAE SALERNITANAE DEL SEC. XVII
3. GELSOMINO D’AMBROSIO, CAMPAGNA. PAG.20 - EDIZIONI 10/17. ANNO 1996
4. PENNACCHINI, PERGAMENE SALERNITANE (1008-1774). SALERNO 1941.
5. WIKIPEDIA - PAGINA DEDICATA DI CAMPAGNA - PARAGRAFO “LA STAMPA NEL PRINCIPATO DI SALERNO”.
6. MARIO MAFFEY, STORIA DELLA FAMIGLIA MAFFEY - www.cittadicampagna.it sez. BLOG.
7. GELSOMINO D’AMBROSIO, CAMPAGNA. PAG.23 - EDIZIONI 10/17. ANNO 1996
8. GELSOMINO D’AMBROSIO, CAMPAGNA. PAG.23 - EDIZIONI 10/17. ANNO 1996