(Campagna, 1468 - Rome, 1525)
From Giovanni Nicola Guerriero, specialized in the legislative field, and Caterina Pagano, a noblewoman from Salerno, Melchiorre was born in 1468 who, without doubt and without hesitation, will become the most important country woman in our history.
At that time the noble families of Campagna, such as that of the Warrior, drew profits from income from goods, trade in agricultural materials (oil, flour, wine), use of mills for wheat, oil mills and other activities present in the town of era, such as paper mills, ironworks, kilns for working clay 1 , all with the amazing hydraulic power supplied by the beds of the Tenza and Atri rivers.
Little Melchior spent his prosperous childhood in Campagna in all serenity, after which he was sent by his father to finish his studies in Naples.
Consequently, with the help of the feudal lord of the time and family friend Duke Ferdinando Orsini, he went to Rome and, after a short time, he became part of the pontifical court of Pope Leo X, pope of the Florentine family De'Medici, second son of Lorenzo and related to the Orsini, becoming with merit personal secretary. His rise in the Papal State has always been dictated by commitment and ability, so much so that he was able in a short time to acquire various appointments and positions: among the most prestigious, certainly the appointment of Count Palatine, Knight Golden, Apostolic Chancellor and Master of Short Pontificals. Thanks to his consolidated position, he was able to operate for one of the causes he had most at heart, that is to make his hometown, Campagna, great.
After a few months, in May of the same year, the Pope made executive the bull “Ego Superne Maiestatis” 2 previously issued; this was only the first act of the plan he had in mind. Throughout the whole affair he proved to be very skilled in relations and diplomacy, so much so that he moved the entire noble citizen nucleus so that everyone rowed in the same direction to reach his true and only purpose: Campagna, the nerve center of Southern Italy.
To achieve this ambitious goal, he immediately understood that the city, as it presented itself, did not have the right credentials and that a status was needed. even higher, of greater urban and structural development.
Several actions aimed at improving Furano were implemented: in June 1514, precisely on the 30th, in the Ducal palace of the Orsini family, located in the Sant'Agostino district, the assignment to the Civic University of the "Romanella Defense" was sealed. , with the sole purpose of increasing the income of the collegiate and therefore increasing the prestige, taking another important step on the part of the Warrior so that the coveted Diocese could be made plausible. On 23 October 1516 he was interested in entrusting the sanctuary of Santa Maria La Nova to the Minims of San Francesco da Paola, repairing and renovating the sanctuary by participating economically in the construction.
Once the purpose of the collegiate being made official, and after having significantly contributed to the developments that took place in those four years, in 1518, sensing the first tangible signs of favorable conditions, he asked the Pope to be able to grant Campagna the frieze to be able take advantage of the title of City leveraging on the old glories of " Civitas Campaniae " . Leo X, in March of that year favored it and on 12 April 1518 through the bull “Pro Excellenti Praeminentia” there was the official conferment. But the fortunes were not limited to this very important event.
At the same time and with the same act, he also granted permission for the establishment of the General Studio, a current academy located in the Dominican convent of San Bartolomeo; Melchior himself took an active part in teaching in various disciplines together with other illustrious fellow citizens, such as Niccolò De Nigris , Marco Fileta Filiuli and Giulio Cesare Capaccio .
The disproportionate love he had for his land is further testified when he invited Giulio Pippi, born Giulio Romano, architect of excellence and first pupil of Raffaello Sanzio's art workshop, here to Campagna, to redesign the urban planning necessary for the development of the City, as well as to give new luster to the important status just achieved.
Romano stayed in Campagna at the Warrior family from 1518 to 1525.
Before continuing my story of a great man, I want to pause for a moment and share a reflection with you: everything I have written to you is great, something that - let's face it - will no longer be possible, but I invite you to grasp well the following aspect:
He made it all while he was in Rome, directly employed by one of the most powerful men of the then known world, between the comforts and well-being, who have never scratched the soul of the peasant, never distracted him and never distorted by his true love for his campaign. I find it wonderful and, if you think that all this had satisfied him, you will fall into error!
In fact, the enterprising Count Palatine did not stop and in 1525 he made an inquiry to Clement VII, nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who succeeded Leo X in 1523, to establish the diocese in Campagna, taking advantage of the state of decay of that of Satriano. On July 13 of the same year, this Pope too consented to his requests and for Campagna a new future began, flourishing, imposing, relevant.
Through the “ Pro Excellenti Praeminentia, Sedis Apostolicae ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriae ” the church of Santa Maria della Pace was raised from a collegiate church to a cathedral, also establishing the much coveted bishopric. To be honest, there is an important clarification to be made: Melchiorre Guerriero also used "unorthodox" methods to make everything happen. In reality, he "made the Holy Father believe" both that the church was newly built and not previously restructured and embellished, and that Campagna, centuries ago, was already the seat of a diocese, but the documents presented were of dubious interpretation, especially as regards a presumed old diocese present in the locality of Sant'Angelo di Furano. Now, I don't know exactly how it went, but I know for sure that the Warrior succeeded in his intent and his mission.
Cherubino Caetani was appointed first bishop, meanwhile left without a cathedral due to the work of destroying it in 1450. To conclude, he not only had the diocese established, he made it a citizen and even "imported" the bishop, Monsignor, thus becoming the Shepherd from the nascent city diocese.
The raging river did not stop. In the following months he worked to annex Acerno to the diocese with the clear intention of making it autonomous and independent; unfortunately the fast pace of the donation of love was interrupted on 21 September 1525, when he was suddenly taken ill and died. At the age of 57, he left his wife, Giustina Calandra, without heirs and was buried in the church of Trinità dei Monti in Rome, in the noble chapel of the Orsini family, cared for by the Franciscans and the Paolottos he always protected.
But the greatness of this man did not end even with the pious transit. At the opening of the will, yes, Melchiorre Guerriero continued to take care of Campagna: he allocated 2000 ducats, an enormous sum for that time, for the construction of a female monastery of the Benedictine order, indicating the district of Zappino as a site for the building (probably due to the proximity to the order of the patron saint Sant'Antonino). Unfortunately, being already saturated and unavailable with this space, Bishop Caetani ordered the building in the nascent Casalnuovo district, fulfilling his wish. To optimize time and money it was decided to join it to the ancient church of SS. Trinity. On April 17, 1544 3 , the high prelate founded the convent of Santo Spirito.
This is the story of a man with a high moral fiber and a big heart, endowed with an unparalleled acumen, of a man who has not forgotten his origins even for a moment, despite Rome, despite frequenting the most exclusive environments of that. age, his love of country has forever forged - and for the better - the appearance, economy, culture and society of our city, creating the conditions for embarking on the most flourishing period that Campagna has experienced to date, for a continuous growth and expansion lasting in the following centuries.
As a peasant, I tell you, my heart is full of gratitude for most of the assets we possess and full of the pride that he has passed on to us from generation to generation. It is only thanks to him that we are what we are, that Campagna will forever remain the focal point of the Campania Region.
It was a real honor to have spent several years to bring his face back to light, on that evening of 11 December 2020; a due act of profound esteem and benevolence because everyone must admire the effigy of those who handed us over to history and give thanks as I do now.
Thank you very much, Melchiorre.
Text by Cristian Viglione.
Revisions: Francesco Pezzuti.
1. Valentino Izzo - Telling the Campaign ... Illustrious people. - VOL. P - 2005
2. Valentino Izzo - Telling the Campaign ... Illustrious people. - VOL. P - 2005
3. Valentino Izzo - Telling the Campaign ... Illustrious people. - VOL. P - 2005