1a Storia di tutto il territorio di Lanciano
col 1° servizio fotografico completo di tutto il territorio della città di Lanciano
with the 1st photographic service of the entire Lanciano's territory
by Nicoletta Di Ciano
INEDITI DI STORIA LANCIANESE - 2005
LA MERAVIGLIOSA STORIA DELLA LEGGENDA DELLA CITTÀ SEPOLTA DI “FILA”. – Also on: www.maurizioangelucci.com
1st History of the entire Lanciano’s territory
For the Lancianesi in the world
UNHEARD-OF LANCIANO’S HISTORY – 2005
THE INHABITANTS OF THE CONTRADE LOCATED IN THE NORTH ZONE OF LANCIANO (NASUTI, MADONNA DEL CARMINE, S. AMATO AND COSTA DI CHIETI) PRESERVE A HISTORICAL MEMORY FROM SEVERAL GENERATIONS, NEVER WRITTEN BY HISTORIANS, ABOUT A BURIED CITY OF WHICH EVERYBODY TELL ITS NAME WAS ‘FILA’, WITHOUT KNOWING AND BEING ABLE TO ADD OTHER HISTORICAL DATA TO TRACE ITS ARCHITECTONIC AND ETYMOLOGIC ORIGIN (OR, ALSO, IT COULD HAVE BEEN ‘PHILA’). THIS IS A SENSATIONAL TALE AND ONLY A LEGEND UNTIL WHEN WE HAVE PROOF OF THE CONTRARY, BUT THE WORLD IS PLENTY OF LEGENDS REFERRING ABOUT LOST CITIES THAT ARE WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED. FROM THAT THE HISTORIES OF VERY FAMOUS FINDINGS, BUT ALSO OF INCREDIBLE FLOPS, OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPEDITIONS HEADED BY ‘OBSTINATE’ EXPLORERS WHO ARE TEACHING US THE SAME LEGEND, WHICH IS THE FICTITIOUS METAMORPHOSIS OF FACTS THAT SOMETIMES ARE REVEALED REAL, HAS SOME TRUTH. MOST OF HISTORIANS BRAND AS INVENTED THOSE TYPES OF STORIES, WHILE WITH THE LOST CITY OF ‘FILA’ WE HAVE A LITERARY NOVELTY OF LANCIANO’S HISTORY, BUT NOT ONLY OF ITS TERRITORY, WHICH WE CAN’T CONFIRM OR DISPROVE. MEANWHILE I ACCOMPLISH MY DUTIES AS A HISTORIAN BY WRITING A STRONG ORAL TRADITION LACKING IN THE ABRUZZO’S HISTORIOGRAPHY, HOPING TO RESOLVE THE MYSTERY IN THE PRESENT OR MORE PROBABLY IN THE FUTURE, BY EXCAVATING IN THE AREAS WHERE MANY PEOPLE THINK THE CITY OF ‘FILA’ WAS BURIED (WITH REGARD TO IT, I’LL SEND SOME LETTERS TO THE ABRUZZO SOVRINTENDENZA –SUPERVISING, TO OTHER QUALIFIED AUTHORITIES, TO THE PRESS AND, ABOVE ALL, TO THE COMMON PEOPLE). TALES ABOUT ITS EXACT LOCATION ARE EXAGGERATING, OR VERISIMILAR, OR INSUFFICIENT, NEVERTHELESS SCARCE OF ANY TYPE OF DATING, WHILE I SUGGEST A POSSIBILITY OF FILLING THIS HISTORICAL GAP BY ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCHES. SOME PEOPLE DESCRIBE THE BURIED CITY EXTENSION STRAIGHT FROM ORTONA TO S. EUSANIO DEL SANGRO, BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BIGGER THAN LANCIANO, AND IT IS VERY STRANGE ITS ABSENCE IN ANCIENT MAPS AND IN BOOKS OF OLD WRITERS WHO CAME TO THESE ZONES. OTHER PEOPLE, MORE CREDIBLE, TELL ABOUT AN OUTPOST IN ROMAN TIMES AND THAT FACT WOULD BE JUSTIFIED WITH THE VICINITY TO ORTONA, THE MOST IMPORTANT PORT OF THE ANCIENT FRENTANIA REGION, WHILE IN THIS CASE WE WOULD HAVE APPROXIMATELY DATED THE EXISTENCE OF ‘FILA’. FINALLY, THE SHORTAGE OF RELIABLE NEWS IS THE SUBSTRATUM OF ORAL STORIES. FURTHERMORE, ABOUT ‘FILA’, SOMEONE TELLS THAT SOME FAMILIES, ALSO COMING FROM OTHER ZONES, DURING THE BUILDING OF NEW HOUSES AND VILLAS, WOULD HAVE FOUND OUT SOME SKELETONS AND MANY ANCIENT OBJECTS AS COINS, COPPER BASINS, POTS, AMPHORAE, AND SO FORTH, SO THAT A PART OF THE POPULAR TRADITION BELIEVES THOSE LUCKY PEOPLE HAVE BECOME RICH.
Churches documented in the Rationes Decimarum but non located: S. Margarite, in the Rationes Decimarum of 1324-1325, number 3745. S. Silvestri, in the Rationes Decimarum of 1324-1325, number 3746. S. Herasmi de Silva, in the Rationes Decimarum of 1324-1325, number 3748 (it would have to be dealt with S. Erasmo alla Fiera’s church, mentioned in many Lanciano’s history books, and, probably, it was in some part of the Fiera quarter). S. Herasmi de Collina (Hill), in the Rationes Decimarum of 1324-1325, number 3750 (for the affinity of its name with that one of S. Pietro alla Collina’s church, it was, perhaps, in the contrada S. Maria dei Mesi). S. Nicolai de Cesis, in the Rationes Decimarum of 1324-1325, number 3755, S. Pancratii, in the Rationes Decimarum of 1324-1325, number 3759.
Contrada (pl. Contrade) is an Italian word meaning suburban rural areas of a town (i. e. the English ‘hamlets’) that constitute the entire territory of a city together with its historical centre and its immediate suburbs.
While introducing Contradando per Lanciano, in 2002, I was writing: ‘Lanciano is a very ancient town, objectively rich in History Folklore, Art and Culture, but Lancianese literature has been always limited to marginal notes about historical vicissitudes and artistic and folkloristic riches of its contrade. Contradando per Lanciano wants to complete the secular city historical panorama, which always had short historical reports about only some contrade. This first monography of Lanciano’s 33 contrade sets out to give them their right historical prominence and it will be a new literary source in the future historiography of our city. Its achievement has been possible by my contacts with common people and inspections in territories and churches of Lanciano’s contrade. It has been very difficult to invent a typology of historical research having as literary source the least and incomplete news, but only of their churches (so Contradando per Lanciano is the first complete and unknown history of the Lanciano’s contrade). The methodology has regarded at first the consultation of Lanciano’s monographies and its parish and city archives, but in this case the historical reconstruction would have been incomplete. Therefore I made researches in the contrade to realize concrete human situations in relation with social problems, focusing any kind of questions about literary and oral sources giving an impulse to the knowledge of the very important lesson of civilization from Lanciano’s contrade. I have interviewed parish priests, I have listened to histories, I have perceived life’s situations, I have considered historical roots, I have consulted secular documents, I have dated the churches, and I have taken a census of the artistic patrimony. The literary structure has been rather difficult. At first it had been decided to follow the calendar of the patronal festivities of the contrade, beginning from that one of S. Liberata (on the first Sunday of May) and ending with that one of Torre Sansone (whose festivity is on the first Sunday of October). Then the first contrada has become nearly automatically that one of Torre Sansone, for the fascinating history of the Lancianese Giuseppe Maria Cotellessa (1820-1889), bishop at Lucera from 1872-1889. He was buried under a private chapel then become the church of the Immaculate Conception at Torre Sansone, as I found out during enthusiastic researches, which have confirmed that one was just then only an oral tradition, while it constitutes now an authentic scoop of Lanciano’s history. In fact, the bishop of Lucera Giuseppe Maria Cotellessa is not in any books about Lanciano’s illustrious men and I will make active myself to remember him with some commemorative stones on the church of the Immaculate Conception at Torre Sansone of Lanciano and in the house in Piazza Plebiscito where he died (it has not been located his native home, because Birth Certificate and Register of Baptism tell only the Sacca quarter) and dedicated him some road plus a twinship of the contrada Torre Sansone of Lanciano with the town of Lucera. Moreover the tale has been developed following the chronological order of contrade’s patronal festivities, leaving out the religious situation of some faithful who make reference to other churches and other parish priest for the closeness of their houses. The photos of the whole churches of Lanciano’s contrade are by Nicoletta Di Ciano from contrada S. Giusta, and they are also a novelty for those religious treasures of popular art that had to be handed down to posterity. The neologism Contradando wants also to mean a new way of making literature, so that every history of the cities will be considering the irreplaceable historical, artistic, folkloric contribution, of the contrade.’
About the finishing point of the secular city historical panorama, it lacked something of Lanciano’s outskirts, as the zones Mancino, Fiera, S. Antonio, S. Rita, S. Pietro, S. Giuseppe and Olmo di Riccio, now added, or for the first time written with this 1st History of the entire Lanciano’s territory. The fundamental discoveries of Contradando per Lanciano, as the first datings of some churches (like those, among others, of contrada Torre Sansone at the end of the 19th century and of contrada Villa Carminello in 1904), two Towers (at contrade Torre Sansone and Costa di Chieti), the calendar of the patronal festivities, the processions, etc. They have only interested some closely students engaged in their graduation thesis and ordinary people, while many books had been published, by excluding many territories and inhabitants as those ones of the contrade Serroni, Torre Sansone, Serre, Villa Pasquini, etc. Finally, I have accomplished my previous engagement, with an open letter sent on April 29 2003, and filed on the same day at Lanciano’ Municipality offices, addressed to the ‘civil and religious authorities, (in primis, therefore, to Mr. Mayor and the Excellency Archbishop) of the city of Lanciano in April 2003’. I sent also the same one to Lucera, to the press and I publicized it further on. Nobody answered from the two cities, while some papers of Lanciano and Lucera, and some Internet site of the two towns, related about it. I engaged myself in it asking, with some extracts from Contradando per Lanciano, to dedicate some road to Monsignor Giuseppe Maria Cotellessa, to remember him with a memorial tablet, also proposing a twinning of the contrada Torre Sansone with the town of Lucera; the dedication of some road to Theodor Mommsen, as a must by the contrada S. Giusta towards him; to call ‘Via della Gallina Morta’, that is ‘death hen’, at contrada Villa Martelli, in honour of Francesco Petrini, the author of the wonderful S. Maria Maggiore’s Gothic facade; to preserve the Tower at contrada Costa of Chieti; to consider the problems of the contrada Serroni, divided in two uncommunicating zones, while inhabitants are referring to two churches and going to the polls in one constituency. Nevertheless, recently, many, maybe too many, roads, squares and little squares have been dedicated to local personages.
I have to rectify some errata that could alter the true story of Lanciano. Regarding some mistakes appeared on opuscules published by some school, feast committees and Internet sites, about the dating of the following Lanciano’s contrade churches: the Immaculate Conception at contrada Torre Sansone was built at the end of the 19th century and not at the beginning of the same one, because Monsignor Giuseppe Maria Cotellessa lying buried under it was born in 1820 while his brother Gioacchino, the supporter of its foundation, was born in 1823; the church of the Madonna del Carmine at contrada Villa Carminello was built in 1904 (and not in the 17th century and inhabited and officiated by the Fathers Carmelitani who were living, instead, in the convent of the S. S. Crocifisso worshipped as S. Mauro, as it can be seen in a famous drawing of the comprehensive view of Lanciano in 1600, where it stands outside the city historical centre in the immensity of the countryside); the church of St. Anthony of Padova at contrada Serre was built in 1947, and not in 1950, the year of the entrance door’ building, as it is written in a small iron engraved on it; the Madonna of Lourdes’ church at contrada Colle Campitelli was built in 1983 and not in 1980; Badia di Frisa isn’t a Lanciano’s contrada. Still, the patronal festivity of the contrada S. Giusta in on the second Sundays of August and not on August 5; the patronal festivity at contrada Colle Campitelli is on the penultimate Saturdays of August, and not on 22 and 23 of the same month; the patronal festivity at contrada Rizzacrono takes place the last Saturdays of August and not in the last Sundays of August.
The three Eucaristic Miracles of Lanciano's tradition
The town of Lanciano has a secular tradition of three Eucharistic Miracles, of which that one happened in some year of the 8th century is the first recorded in the history of the Catholic Church, while the second one happened around 1270, but there aren’t any written evidences while it is a fact that the Sacred Relics exist.
The tradition of the third Lanciano’s Eucharistic Miracle is only testified by a picture. That is: ‘Of the third Eucharistic Miracle of the Lanciano’s tradition, there aren’t any Sacred Relics but it is only testified by an oil painting, referring to the XVII century or to the previous one, which is in the sacristy of S. Francis of Assisi’s church. It concerns five men who are playing dice and when one of them stakes a Holy Host a dog (the nature) bites it to the nose while an old man is indicating the sky. The matter will have been drawn from one of the world-wide medieval legends, rose in the XI-XIII centuries, about the desecration of the effigy and of the Passion of Christ made from Jews during their ritual ceremonies.’
Maurizio Angelucci – 2005