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Capriati a Volturno, Province of Caserta, Campania

The small commune is situated 65 km from the province capital, next to the border with the Molise region, to which it also belonged for a period.
The center was named Capriata until 1863, when it became officially Capriati a Volturno. With the abolition in 1927 of the province of Caserta, Capriati was incorporated into the province of Campobasso, but after WW2 returned to the re-established province of Caserta.

Info

  • Altitude: 290 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 1500 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 81014
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0823
  • Demonym: capriatesi
  • Patron Saint: St. Nicola and San Rocco celebrated on 16 August
  • Frazioni & Localities: Santojanni.

History

Capriati was a transit area already at the time of the Samnites, whose settlement was located in the fortified walls of Mandra Castellone on Mount Gallo, a good check point for the Volturno valley. The origins of Capriati al Volturno go back to the year 448 BC, when consul Tiberius Minucius built the Via Minucia.

In the early Middle Ages, along the path of this important Roman road the earlier settlements were built, among them San Giovanni in Coppitellis, San Tomeo, Sant'Andrea e Santa Maria del Piano. The first historical document on the village dates back to 881 when Capriati was split into two districts belonging the former to the church of San Pietro di Isernia and the other to the monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno.

From 979 until 1290 it was ruled by the Benedictines of Monte Cassino, during which time the inhabitants were forced to gather in places safer from invaders and moved to the slopes of the Cesa Iannitti, where the castle was built. In 1290 Capriati came under the Villacublai - Sangiorgio family. From 1329 it belonged to the Capuano family and in 1390 was a fief of the Sanfromondo. In 1450, with the whole barony of Prata, Capriati passed under the dominion of Francesco Pandone, Earl of Venafro.

From 1528 it was a feifdom of the Lannoi family until the 17th century, when it passed to the Carafa. At the time the town began to spread outside the walls. Between 1645 and 1653 the Barony of Capriati was sold by the Carafa to Francesco II Gaetani d'Aragona, 4th Duke of Laurenzana and this family remained lords of the place until the abolition of feudalism in 1806. The history of the area after the unification of Italy in 1861 was characterized by poverty and massive emigration to America and Central Europe.

What to see

  • The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie - Dating back to the early 18th century, was near the Porta Bassa, to replace the old church located in the courtyard of the castle, whose entrance gate can still be seen. The church had one nave with four chapels. After a visit of Charles III of Bourbon the nave was enlarged with the abolition of the 4 chapels and stucco decorations were made.
  • Roman ruins, including the remains of the Latona Bridge, built by the Romans over the Volturno to connect the cities of Aesernia and Allifae.
  • At Sterpaia, remains of the Samnite period of a fortified wall and some burials, one of which contained pottery and a beautiful, finely chiseled bronze dagger.
  • The Chapel of Santa Maria del Piano - originally an ancient Lombard basilica of the 8th - 9th century AD, now annexed to the cemetery, was built on the ruins of a Roman temple. The chapel has an interesting cycle of frescoes dating to the 14th century, a Madonna and child and a strange martyr figure, who bears a scroll with Gothic writing. In the apse a later fresco depicting the Madonna with Child and under the vault of the nave another fresco depicting an Eternal Father of the 17th century. In 1745 the king donated also a beautiful painting of the Neapolitan school, which dominates the main altar, representing the Virgin of Graces with St. Nicholas, three children, servant Adeodato, St. Joseph and St. Antony. Restoration works were performed in 1948 to repair damage from bombing during the Second World War, when the church was used as an encampment of Polish troops. Beside the church there is an ancient burial ground.

Genealogy & Links