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Casacalenda, Province of Campobasso, Molise, Italy

Among hills between the Biferno and Cigno rivers, in a landscape covered by woods and olive trees, the little town is still today a mainly agricultural center, and more recently a destination for tourists in search of the serenity of the countryside, the healthy food, the uncontaminated nature. The historical center is a jewel of alleys and narrow flights of steps going down the hills into the countryside.

Info

Territory: hills -- Population: ca. 2500 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 86043 -- Phone Area Code: 0874 -- Frazioni & Località: Civitella, Convento Sant'Onofrio, Gerione, San Vito, Lamacchione, Coste del Lago, Gerione, Fonte San Paolo, Piano San Giovanni, Montelecanne, Cerro Secco, Il Monte, Olivoli, Faidazzo

What to see

Province of Campobasso

History

Greek historian Polibios Polibio mentions a battle in 217 BC between the Roman army, based in Kalene, and Hannibal based in Gerione (now a hamlet of Casacalenda). The ancient coat of arms still shows a letter "K" in the initials, and actually the name might have been derived from the Latin Kalendae, the first day of the month in the Roman calendar, where traditionally markets used to be kept, and this center was probably the meeting point of all the craftsmen and farmers of the area. In the Middle Ages the craft of vase and brick making was a source of trade and wealth for the town. Among its feudal lords were the Di Sangro family, whose palace is still extant in the historical center. The ruinous earthquake of 1456 and 1688 left their deep marks in the architecture of homes and churches.

A tragic episode took place in February 1799 when Albanese mercenaries, sent by Duke Scipione Di Sangro who resented the liberal government of local Mastrogiurato Don Domenico De Gennaro, attacked Casacalenda. Don Domenico, hoping to save his town, went to meet the attackers who slew him treacherously on the Campomarino beach. In the years 1940-1943 Casacalenda hosted a concentration camp for Jewish and politically dissident women.

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