A Timeline of Torricella Peligna from the Fall of Rome to the Unification of Italy
Compiled by Robert Piccone
English Version - (cliccare qui per la versione italiana)

Events in Torricella

Relevant Regional Events



537 Ostrogoth and Byzantine armies battle in the area of Torricella - an Ostrogothic warrior's helmet from this timeframe was found in 1922 in Santa Lucia, between Torricella and Roccascalegna.





1060 Pope Nicholas II assigns half of a castle in Torricella to the Benedictine friars of the island of Tremiti.

1097 Maliero de Palena donates the Church of San Venanzio, located in Torricella, to the Monastery of Letto. The act is witnessed by 2 Norman soldiers, documenting a Norman presence in the area at that time.

1167 The Catalogus Baronum, a comprehensive list of the fiefdoms within the Duchy of Apulia (of which Torricella was a part) and the Principality of Capua and the military obligations owed by their respective feudal lords to the Sicilian Norman King, is updated to include the recently conquered Abruzzo. Torricella is found in paragraph 1024 as a possession of Rogerius Bursellus (son of Maliero de Palena), with a post-notation commissioning Guillelmus Scalfus with his domains. Paragraph 1227 names Raynaldus Gentilis as the holder of Monte Moresco, a fief adjoining Torricella Peligna.

1173 The mother church of Torricella, San Giacomo Apostolo, is built. Many restorations and modifications are carried out in the following centuries.


1390 King Ladislas vests the Orsini Count of Manoppello with the fief of Monte Moresco but there was controversy as to whether this grant included or was separate from Torricella.

1400 King Ladislas vests Giovanni Batista Torricella with the fief of Monte Moresco.

1459 December 15, a truce between Antonio Caldora and the city of Sulmona is signed. Antonino de Castiglione, heir to Antonio de Sangro, baron of Colledimacine, baron of Torricella, and lord of Bagnyara, is listed as a witness.

1534 Fallascoso (a current "frazione" of Torricella) and the nearby town of Bomba are removed from Antonio di Annicchino's feudal holdings by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor for participating in a rebellion. The lands are granted to Captain Pirro Colonna.

1550 (circa) The corpse of a 16th century Bailiff given burial under San Giacomo, the mother church of Torricella, spontaneously mummifies. In 1989, the preserved body is discovered during restoration work to the church.

1551 Catarina de Medici, widow of the now deceased Pirro Colonna begs Charles V for permission to sell the possessions of  Fallascoso and Bomba for the benefit of her daughters. Charles concedes and the lands come into the possesion of Fabrizio Valignano.

1552 The Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Rose (Madonna of the Roses) is constructed 3 km outside the town of Torricella.

1568 May 25, Mons. Olivia, Bishop of Chieti, visits Torricella. Records of his visit describe the church of San Giacomo as "extra moenia" (outside the walls of the city).

1623 A famine strikes Torricella


1706 The Università of Torricella (similar to a town council) brings a lawsuit against the Celaia Duke of Canosa, the feudal lord of Torricella.


1733 The Torricellan fiefs of Monte Moresco, Pescorutico, (also known as Santa Giusta or Madama Cecca) and Mastronardo, are added to the holdings of Alvaro Celaia Jr.

1743 Torricella is recorded in the Catasto Onciario, a tax roll documenting the people and property of the entire Kingdom of Naples.

1782 One of many rounds of major restoration work is performed on the church of San Giacomo, evidenced by the inscription of this year above the church's current main entrance. A large silver chalice, many statues and much of the art objects of the Neapolitan School that can currently be found in the church date to this century.

1787 The Torricellan fiefs of Monte Moresco, Pescorutico, (also known as Santa Giusta  or Madama Cecca) and Mastronardo, are stripped from the holdings of Lelio Celaia, Duke of Canosa

1805 The "Regional Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Naples" is published, describing Torricella at that time as a possession of the Celaia family of the Dukes of Canosa, with a population of circa 2600. The inhabitants produce grain, corn, legumes, wine for their own needs, and for sale to the inhabitants of Palena. Other than agriculture, town industry consists of a small amount of commerce, and the production of a type of wool cloth called “Tarantole”.

1817 Extremely high mortality rate in Torricella after 2 consecutive years of poor harvests. For additional background, see the Abruzzo World Club article The Weather in Abruzzo 1809 - 1817

1841 A strong earthquake in Torricella damages the church of San Giacomo, necessitating its temporary closure until its eventual repair. Unfortunately, this scenario is to repeat itself on several occasions, right up to the present day.

1860 A plebiscite is held throughout the Kingdom of Naples to vote on joining a united Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy, In Torricella, there are 1108 registered voters; 942 vote, with 920 for, and 22 against.

1863 Torricella is officially renamed with a new suffix: "Peligna", henceforth, "Torricella Peligna". Many other towns in the newly united Kingdom of Italy had the name "Torricella", most (if not all) of which were renamed with an additional appellation to distinguish one from another.


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1800 AD

489-93 Ostrogoths capture Italy.


535 Byzantines invade Italy, battle Ostrogoths for next 18 years

553 Ostrogoths decisively defeated in Italy

568-72 Lombards invade Italy, and establish a kingdom north of the Papal States, and 2 duchies, Benevento and Spoleto, south of the Papal States (Torricella was near the crossroads of these 2 duchies)

800 Charlemagne is crowned emperor in Rome. The Duchy of Spoleto (including most of Abruzzo) is incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire.

1030-1130 The Normans capture most of southern Italy from Byzantine and Saracen hands, establishing the Kingdom of Sicily



1137-1154 The rest of Abruzzo is captured from the Holy Roman Empire by the Normans and brought under the domain of the Kingdom of Sicily




1198 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, inherits the Kingdom of Sicily through his mother, Constance, Queen of Sicily, daughter of the Norman King Roger II of Sicily.

1266 Charles of Anjou (brother of King Louis IX of France) is crowned the King of Sicily and Naples after his army, by invitation from the Pope, overthrows Manfred of Sicily, the illegitimate son of Frederick II who seized the crown from his half-brother 8 years earlier


1443 Alfonso V of Aragon, already in possession of the island of Sicily, conquers the mainland Kingdom of Naples. The French, hoping to reestablish their Angevin (Anjou) dynasty wage war against Spanish-backed forces throughout the Italian peninsula over the next several decades.









1562 Ottomans raid Pescara.

1580-1585 Ignazio Danti is commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII to paint a series of large-scale frescoes, each depicting a region of Italy as well as a perspective view of the most prominent towns. Torricella can be seen in the fresco of Abruzzo (Aprutium).



1706 "The Earthquake of the Majella" created seismic tremors throughout all Abruzzo, bringing devastation to l’Aquilano, la Marsica, and the Peligna Valley.

1707 As part of the War of Spanish Succession, the Kingdom of Naples comes under the rule of the Austrian Habsburgs.

1735 Charles III, King of Spain from the House of Bourbon, becomes King of Naples and Sicily after defeating the Austrians at the Battle of Bitonto.






1799 The Kingdom of Naples is briefly overthrown by French-backed aristocratic republicans, establishing the short-lived Parthenopaean Republic. The revolution is squashed and the Bourbon-ruled kingdom is restored by July.

1806-15 Napoleonic rule of the Kingdom of Naples, with Napoleon's brother Joseph reigning from 1806-1808, and Napoleon's brother-in-law Joachim Murat reigning from 1808-1815. Notable advancements during this era include the abolishment of feudalism, and the introduction of the Napoleonic Code of law and the metric system. (Prior to the metric system, each town had varying units of measure - click here for a description of Torricella's pre-metric local measures.) Murat's rule was universally thought to be an improvement over the Bourbons, so much so, that following Napoleon's initial defeat, the Congress of Vienna allowed him to retain his throne. This decision was reversed however when Murat backed Napoleon in 1815 during the Waterloo Campaign, at which point the Kingdom of Naples was returned to the Spanish Bourbon King of Sicily, henceforth King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.


1860-1861 Giuseppe Garibaldi and his group of 1000 volunteers land in Sicily, which is already in the midst of an uprising against the Bourbon government, and defeat the Bourbon royalist forces. They cross the Straits of Messina and march to Naples where the local population hails them as heroes. King Francis II and his forces fall back and retreat to the north of the river Volturno in Abruzzo, where they are trapped by King Victor Emmanuel II's Piedmontese forces descending from the north and Garibaldi's forces approaching from the south. King Francis II is defeated, and King Victor Emmanuel II consolidates the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies with his northern Italian domains, becoming the first king of a united Italy (unification is complete by 1871 with the addition of Venice and Rome).


Copertino, Luigi. "La Mummia di Torricella." Amici di Torricella. Oct. 1990, Anno II #2:  8.

Di Luzio, Pietro. "Misure locali dei terreni in uso nel comune di Torricella Peligna ed ex comune di Fallascoso." Amici di Torricella. Aug. 1989, Anno I #3:  7.

Di Tizio, Gino, Giannini, Francesco and Domenico Bernabei. Lo Speciale su Torricella Peligna. 1994.

Faraglia, Nunzio Federigo. Il Comune nell’Italia meridionale, 1100-1806. Bologna: A. Forni, 1978.

Faraglia, Nunzio Federigo. Storia dei prezzi in Napoli dal 1131 al 1860. Bologna: A. Forni, 1983.

Giustiniani, Lorenzo. Dizionario geografico-ragionato del Regno di Napoli. Bologna: A. Forni, 1969-1971.

Jamison, Evelyn, M. “Catalogus Baronum. A cura di Evelyn Jamison.” Fonti per la storia d’Italia pubblicate dall’Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo; n.101. Rome: Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo, 1972.

Mammarella, Luigi. “Terremoti in Abruzzo : ed alcuni sommotimenti o frane dall'epoca romana al 1915.” I Tascabili d’Abruzzo ; 29. Cerchio: A. Polla, 1990.

Pettinella, Domenico. "L'Elmo Otrogoto di Torricella Peligna." Amici di Torricella. Dec. 1994, N. 14:  8.

Pettinella, Domenico. "L'Universitas di Torricella." Amici di Torricella. May 1989, Anno I #2:  3.

Pettinella, Domenico. "L'Università si batte contro l'opprimente Barone Celaya." Amici di Torricella. Apr. 1990, Anno II #1:  8.

Pettinella, Domenico. "La Madonna delle Rose' una delle sette Madonna miracolose." Amici di Torricella. Aug. 1989, Anno I #3:  3.

Pettinella, Domenico. "Torricella tra mare e montagna ." Amici di Torricella. Oct. 1990, Anno II #2:  7.

Pettinella, Domenico. "Una carestia colpi Torricella nel 1623." Amici di Torricella. Dec. 1990, Anno II #3:  8.

Russo, Luigi. "Torricella non è Peligna." Amici di Torricella. Dec. 1996, #17:  16.

Teti, Gabriele. Storia, arte e fede nelle chiese di Torricella Peligna. Città del Vaticano: 2000.

Ward-Perkins, J.B. The Fall of Rome: and the end of civilization. New York : Oxford University Press, 2005.

: Thursday, July 21, 2011 04:41:30 PM -0600

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