GAMBATESA



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Historically it is certain that, in times before, within present township limits, of the inhabited built-up areas, there used to exist some areas dating back to the time of the Romans. Of this there is evidence in recovered coins, tombs and remains of walls from the Roman Age, as well as ruins and information from church sources regarding the villages of Chiusano, Salandra and Vipera.

The origin itself of the built-up area of Gambatesa lies in the time before the Lombard invasion. None-the-less, historical research has so far taken as its beginning the time in which the village assumed the name Gambatesa. The fundamental part of the history of Gambatesa begins in the 13th century with Richard of Gambatesa (Riccardo da Gambatesa or di Gambatesa), right-hand man of the Angevin Court of Naples and of the Papal Court at Rome. Gifted with great diplomatic and military ability, Richard gained fame as a wise ruler and as a brave military leader, above all in the government and defense of Genoa against the assaults of the exiled Ghibellines headed by Cane della Scala, Marco Visconti of Milan, and by Castruccio Castrocani degli Antelminelli, Lord of Lucca. For these and for his other merits Richard of Gambatesa obtained from Robert of Anjou, King of Naples, not a few titles and fiefs.

Richard of Gambatesa, not having male heirs, but only two female (Sybil and Margaret), procured that his first grandson Riccardello, son of the said Sybil and of Giovanni Monforte, add to his paternal surname also that of Gambatesa, thus giving beginning to the new feudal lineage of Monforte-Gambatesa.

From the end of the 14th century through the whole of the 15th, history records no facts of particular importance. With the conquest of the Kingdom of Naples by the Court of Aragon, the fief of Gambatesa passed in 1484 to Andrea Di Capua, Duke of Termoli. With the Di Capua, who adopted a liberal political line, began for Gambatesa a long period of relative peace, productiveness and well-being, during which there was a notable expansion of sheep farming both village-based (stabled) and migratory, which was accompanied by a large increase in population and in building. The good socio-economic situation favored the emergence of a few middle-class families. Among these the most fame was achieved, from the end of the 1500s to the beginning of the 1600s, by the Eustachio family, for its considerable activity carried out in the field of medicine and in that of the ecclesiastical-pastoral. Ferrante Di Capua, Junior, Duke of Termoli, prior to 1583, sold Gambatesa to Francesco Lombardo, a landowner from Troia.

This period of growth was interrupted by the terrible plague of 1656-57, which reduced the local population from the 291 families (about 1455 inhabitants) of the year 1648 to the barely 70 families (about 350 inhabitants) counted in the census of 1669.



During the 18th century the municipality of Gambatesa had to suffer not a few vexations and usurpations on the part of the new feudal family of the Ceva-Grimaldi, on account of which many citizens were forced to emigrate elsewhere. In 1799 Gambatesa supported the Parthenopean Republic and on account of this lived tumultuous events. It was attacked and sacked by the inhabitants of Celenza, San Marco la Catola, and Casalvecchio, supporters of the Bourbon cause, who released their fury above all against the property of the Rotondo family, politically and militarily employed in the defense of republican ideals. Immediate and bloody was the response of the Rotondo: Celenza in particular paid heavily for its act of aggression. With the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy, Prosdocimo Rotondo, who in the republican government held the added office of President of the Committee of Finance, was hanged, at Naples, in the Piazza Mercato on 30 September 1799, while his brothers suffered the confiscation of their properties and exile.

In 1806, with the end of feudalism, the onerous feudal burdens were lifted from the citizens, but, even if they were able to come into possession of their piece of land, they were loaded with other burdens no less heavy. Moreover brigands, famines, cholera, earthquakes and other natural disasters contributed, for the whole of the 19th century and part of the 20th, to making life hard and insecure above all for the least well-to-do. During the uprisings of 1848, the brothers Giacomo and Domenico Venditti carried out intense political activity for the realization of liberal ideals. In 1891 on account of the imposition of a new tax (la focatica, the hearth or household tax), the exasperated populace gave life to a violent and menacing revolt against the local authorities.

Since the Second World War Gambatesa has gradually developed and has seen a notable increase in building. Today it is an inviting town of 2,000 inhabitants, predominantly agricultural, but with projected potentials for the crafts and for industry. Traduttore:
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Gambatesa Links

http://www.roangelo.net/gambatesa/
http://www.telemolise.com/comuni/gambatesa.htm
http://www.telemolise.com/castello/visita.htm
http://www.parrsanbartolomeo.it/home.htm
http://web.tiscali.it/no-redirect-tiscali/giacintavenditti/
http://www.ciccianonline.it/paese/tradizioni/gambatesa.asp

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