Bassiano – Centro Storico

The origins of Bassiano and its hilly center are not entirely still clear. Some author has loan mythological divinity, others have summoned Roman Emperors boasting that Bassiano has been founded by the Emperor Caracalla, or to also bear the name of St. Bassiano Bishop of Lodi. The history of Bassiano certainly has beginning around the X century and part from a small group of shepherds and farmers forced to shelter them, in this place completely covered to the sight of the lowland because of the continuous barbaric raids. The first written news of Bassiano is datable to the 1169. In a document recovered in the file of the Collegiate Church of Saint Maria in Sermoneta that makes reference to the recovery of the Castrum subtracted with deception by a person known as Gregorio Leonis to a Lord of Bassiano. The historical ties and territory with the area of the Tower of Acquapuzza, likely continuation of the Latin Castrum Acquaputrida of which is certified belonging to Emperor Caracalla, they would still favor the hypothesis of a derivation of the name from the anthroponomy “Bassianus” perhaps formerly attributed to the Castle Acquapuzza, and only later moved to the hill town because of a migration of population. In fact, the area and the adjoining district of Acquapuzza Antignano, although today prove isolated from a point of view road from the rest of the township, in ancient times were the main access roads to the hill country, which is right behind location foothills hidden by a mountain relief. In fact the area of the Acquapuzza and the adjoining region of Antignano, although today results isolated by a road point of view by the rest of the common territory, in ancient times they constituted the principal roads of access to the hilly country, that is found behind the foothills hidden from a mountainous relief. Such foothills area has represented for centuries the only portion of common territory of Bassiano to lean out to the borders of the Agro Pontino: a narrow area and very decentralized that confirms the strong bond existed among the two places, and that it would suggest that the foundation of the hilly center has happened with a migration beginning from the most ancient place foothill when this was abandoned. Besides also the place name of Antignano or Antignana, would repeat in the name the adjective “Antoniniano”, referable always to Caracalla and to one Villa of his whose existence is attested by the ancient sources really in the proximities of the Castrum of Acquaputrida. In 1240, Pope Gregorio IX names Lord of the Castles of Sermoneta and Bassiano Trasmondo Annibaldi, to thank him for the help received against the attempts of invasion by Federico II. The Annibaldis governed the country up to the 1297 year when the castle passed in possession of the Caetanis that governed it up to the suppression of the feuds, made exception for one decade (1492. 1502) in which the Borgia’s governed. The history of Bassiano is deeply marked from the action of the spiritual movements of the XIII and XIV century, which were the promoters of a social renewal. The spiritual fraticellis, rigid observers of the rules of St. Francis of Assisi, that found shelter in the cave of Dark Forest, today attached to the Sanctuary of the Crucifix.

Bassiano – Centro Storico

For some, the Templar Knights who, it is believed have left trace of their passage in the Sanctuary of the Crucifix and in the small church of St. Nicola. It is only at the beginning of the XVI century that the Caetanis, with the construction of the Baronial building, they leave an imprint of their dominion on the land of Bassiano. It was Bonifacio Caetani in 1554 who had an important building built, in shelter of the pitfalls of the swamp and place of care for his unsteady health. The building englobes in its walls houses and medieval shops that the Caetanis during the XV century they had purchased in the “Salamander Door” region that was the principal street of access to the Castrum. In the 1541 Camillo Caetani it promulgates the statutes of Bassiano. Everything was under the control of the Duke: the property, the family, the church. But a more powerful weapon of gunpowder and muskets are seeing the beginnings in that time: the book. Through the typographer humanist Aldo Manuzio, the book spreads the culture, the ideas and it ransoms the people from the oppression of the powerful persons. The stately boundaries of the castle build by the Caetanis in the XIII century, form the spiral structure of the town, a series of steps creates a scenery between the alleys and passages hidden that they culminate toward the hill where the church of St. Erasmo and the square of the Civic Tower. The three doors of access to the village don’t simply represent an opening in the boundaries but a place of meeting among two worlds: the urban and the rural, the inside and the outside. Entering the town through the arch of the New Door and looking out from the terrace of the belvedere you find yourself immersed in a green landscape made of beech, holm and oak. The medieval village is built by ancient houses called “Tower Houses” interrupted by a series of charming alleys.




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