History of Rionero in Vulture and area

Circa 38,000 BCE powerful hydromagmatic volcanic explosions blew out 
the maars now filled with the Monticchio lakes on Monte Vulture.

The recovery of tombs, bronze seals and coins of roman age in catacombs 
of Saint Francisco, Cappella del Priore e Padulo have proven the 
existence of a built up area at Rionero by 290 BCE as a "pagus" of 
Venosa and very strategic center of collection for the Roman troops. 
Its residents followed the fate of the rich and healthy colony of 
Venosa until 43? BCE. when, after the social wars, its territory was 
confiscated and subdivided between the veterans.

1040 or 1041.03 Arduin, the Greek commander of Melfi rebelled and asked 
the Normans for help.  Instead of helping, William 'Bras-de-fer' seized 
Melfi for himself.

1042.09 William given the title "Count of Apulia" by Gaimar of Salerno

1152 first mention of "Santa Maria de Riva Nigro", a hamlet of the 
bishop of Rapolla, by Alberto Mercanti.  The ancient Church of the 
Dead, also called the S.S. Sacramento, is situated on the site of the 
original church of S. Maria dè Rivonigro.

1060.10 Greeks land and try to take back Langobardian Theme - 
recapturing the coast and beseiging Melfi, which was relieved by spring 

1277 an Angevin document mentions "Universitas Rivinigri"

1303 Rionero was inhabited by 300 people

1316 the inhabitants of Rionero abandoned their hamlet and took part in 
the construction of the village of Atella which had received tax 

1318 Bishop Bernardo obtained permission to repopulate Rionero near the 
Church of Sant'Antonio Abate (St. Anthony the Abbot).

1348 the Black Death strikes the area around Rionero

1361.07.07 Earthquake in Rionero (epicenter in Ascoli Satriano)

1435-1458 Alfonso "the Magnanimous" ruled Naples and Sicily.  He 
reunited the crowns of Napoli and Sicilia in 1442 and styled himself 
the "King of Two Sicilies"

night of 1456.12.04/05 Massive earthquake hits southern Italy severely damaging 
town of Atella.  Some of the survivors move to Rionero.

1464 a group of "Epiroti" (Albanian) refugees flees to southern Italy 
and settle in Melfi

   Circa 1477.08-1478.01 more refugees from Albania reach 
southern Italy.  Their flight was caused by the Turkish campaign to 
capture Scutari (Shkoder), Albania by Solimano (general of Sultan 
Maometto II). 
   King Ferdinand I of Naples receives the exiles and assigns them to 
Basilicata in the comunes of Rionero in Vulture, Ripacandida, Melfi, 
Forenza, Lavello, Venosa and Atella.  The refugees in Rionero were 
settled in the vicinity of the Church of Sant'Antonio Abate along with 
some shepherds from Apulia.

1496.07.21 Following the loss of Ripacandida to Neapolitan & Spanish 
troops, the beseiged French in Atella sign Articles of 
Capitulation.  Out of "not less than five thousand" Frenchmen who 
marched out into captivity, "not more than 500 reached ever reached 
their native country".  The Swiss and other mercenaries "made their 
way back as they could through Italy, in the most deplorable state of 
destitution and suffering, the gaze of all, and a sad example of the 
caprice of fortune".

1500.11.11 France and Spain sign the Treaty of Granada, dividing the 
Kingdom of Naples between themselves.  The treaty assigned the "three 
Abruzzi", the Terra di Lavora, half the revenue of the Tavoliere of 
Apulia, and the title of King of Naples and Jerusalem to the French 
King and Apulia and Calabria with the title of "Duke of Calabria and 
Apulia" to the Spanish King.  The treaty neglected to specify to whom 
the Basilicata, the Capitanata, and the two Principati districts would 
go to.

1502.04.01 Ludovic d'Armagnac coming from Melfi & Gonzalo Fernandez de 
Cordoba coming from Atella meet at the Church of St. Antonio Abate in 
Rionero to negotiate the specifics of the partition of Southern Italy.  
Their negotiations were unsuccessful, and fighting broke out with a French 
attack on Atripalda near Avellino on 1502.06.19.

1503.04.21 French under D'Aubigny defeated in battle at Seminara
1503.04.28 French under Nemours defeated at Cerignola, utterly destroying 
the French army in the kingdom of Naples.
1503.12.27 de Cordoba defeats a new French army near the Garigliano.
1504.01.01 Gaeta surrenders to de Cordoba, completing the Spanish conquest 
of the kingdom of Naples.  
1504.01.31 Treaty of Lyons - France cedes kingdom of Naples to Spain.

1528.03.23 the "Pasqua di Sangue" (Bloody Easter) - Melfi is sacked by  
French troops under Odet de Foix, Visconte of Lautrec assisted by the 
Florentine Bande Nere (Black Bands) under the command of Orazio 
Baglioni.  The attackers "rushed in, killing anyone on their path, 
soldiers, men and women, and the children too."  The survivors flee to 
the woods on Mount Vulture for refuge.

1528.05.11, Pentecost Sunday, the survivors of the sack of Melfi 
return home from Mount Vulture after the city is liberated by the 

1528.05.22 Orazio Baglioni dies and goes to hell.

1528.08.15 Odet de Foix dies of the plague while besieging Naples and 
joins Orazio Baglioni in hell.

1533 the Albanian peasants who had settled in Melfi in 1464 and survived 
the Bloody Easter are resettled in Rionero and changed the 
name of the hamlet to "Arenigro".

1541 the Jews were expelled from Kingdom of Naples after having 
lived there peacefully for centuries.

1554.07.24 Prince Felipe (Philipp) of Spain invested as King of Naples 
as a wedding gift from his father.  He did not become king of Spain 
until 1556.
1598.09.13 death of King Philipp of Spain (& Naples).

1615.04.04 Orazio Grasso writes that the territory of Atella contains 
a hamlet called Arenigro, located 3 miles away which is inhabited by 
45 fuochi (households, literally "fires") of Albanians.

1627 the churches in Rionero forced to change from the Greek  
rite to the Latin rite by Diodato Scaglia, the Bishop of Melfi.

1647 the city of Atella and the hamlet of "Arrinigro" (Rionero) purchased by Don 
Giuseppe I (1613-1670), prince of Caracciolo di Torella from Carlo Filomarino, 
prince of Ascoli for the sum of 56,000 ducats.

1694.09.08 at 11:30 Rionero seriously damaged by an earthquake.  
(Epicenter Calitri) It was later rebuilt by the Caracciolo family
from Torella. Its population in 1694 was about 700 persons

1707 Austria occupies Naples during war of Spanish Succession

1713 Naples ceded to Austria

1731 Earthquake in Rionero in Vulture.

1735 Austria ceded the Two Sicilies back to Spain under condition that 
they should never be united with Spain as a single kingdom.  Kingdom 
becomes independant.  Rionero's population had grown to 3,000 people.

Between 1740 and 1800 signoral palaces of the Corona, Granata, Rotondo, 
Giannattasio, Catenacci, Fortunato and Catena families were built in 

circa 1735 birth of Francesco D'Agostino

By 1752, the population of Rionero reaches 9,000 persons.

ca 1767 birth of Pietro D'Agostino to Giovanna Grieco and 
Francesco D'Agostino

1783 Earthquake in Rionero in Vulture

1793 Six years in advance of the republican uprising in Napoli, the 
rioneresi (people of Rionero) revolted against the tax levied by the 
summoned parliament due to the Municipality and the Royal Court.  They 
raised the French Flag to the outcry "Vulim' fa cumm a li francis" 

1799 Rionero took an active part in the republican uprisings which 
created the Parthenopean Republic.

ca 1800 birth of Gerardo D'Agostino to Anna Manfreda and Pietro D'Agostino

1805 Earthquake in Rionero in Vulture

1806.03.30-1808 Giuseppe Bonaparte King of Naples

1807.04.11 Giuseppe Bonaparte visits Rionero

1808.08.01 Gioacchino (Joachim) Murat became King of Naples

1811.05.01 Rionero elevated to independant communal status as a city 
by decree of Gioacchino Murat, ending the oppression exercised by 
Rapolla, Melfi, and Atella.
1815.05.19 Gioacchino Murat deposed as King of Naples

1820-21 Basilicata known as "Lucania Orientale" (Eastern Lucania)

1830.06.05 birth of Carmine Crocco, the brigante general in 
Rionero to Maria Gerarda Santomauro and Francesco Crocco.

1837 Earthquake in Rionero in Vulture

1841.10.15 birth of Canio D'Agostino to Angela Maria Malascalza and 
Gerardo D'Agostino

1846.10.05 King Ferdinando II visits Rionero 

1848.04.26 Rioneresi demanded end to customs charged on the milling of
grain.  Many demonstrations ensue.

1848.05 Royal Judge orders arrest of main agitators.  The commandant 
of the National Guard decided to build a guard house on Calvario where 
the rioters held their meetings and dispersed the rioneresi trying to 
prevent this, arresting many.

1848.09.04 birth of Giustino Fortunato, later an important parliamentarian and historian.

1850.04.04 death of Gerardo D'Agostino

1851.08.14 13:20 Worst earthquake hits Rionero in Vulture.  (Epicenter 
Vulture) 63 die in Rionero, hundreds die elsewhere.
Concerning this earthquake was written: "Rionero, also situated at 
the base of Vulture, on a gentle declivity, about four miles distant 
from Melfi in a direct line, lost with some of its churches, nearly 
the third part of its houses; the rest also were more or less injured.  
It is remarkable that in some places the ruins are crowded together; '
this is mostly observable in the low part of town, the region of 
deaths.  The victims of Rionero were 64, exclusive of the wounded.  
Here, too, the earthquake was first vertical, and then horizontal; and from 
the 14th of August, to dawn on the 15th, quite as many shocks were 
perceptible as at Melfi."  
page 208, "The Great Neapolitan Earthquake of 1857" by Robert Mallet, 1862

1857.12.16 another earthquake in Rionero (epicenter Basilicata)

1860.05.11-1861.02.13 Garibaldi & Savoyards conquer the Kingdom of Two 

1860.08.17 Mayor Giuseppe Michele Giannattassio took to the streets of Rionero
with a painting of Garibaldi in his hands shouting "Viva Garibaldi".  This was 
two days before Garibaldi landed in Calabria.

1860.08.18 in Potenza Basilicata proclaimed joining the Kingdom of Sardinia.

1860.10.21-22 Napoli and Sicilia voted by plebecite for union with the 

1861.02.14 King Francesco II leaves Gaeta on the French naval vessel 

1861.03.17 Kingdom of Italy proclaimed.

ca 1861.04.07-1864.07.25 the Vulture region became the center of 
brigandage, the rebellion of Carmine Crocco against the Savoyard
oppressors, i.e. the new Italian government.  

1861.04.16/17 The "Melfese Reaction was stopped at Rionero.  A 
battalion of bersaglieri (265 men) was sent to Rionero.  

1861 Rionero population = 12,155

"Rionero is a prosperous-looking town, nearly as large as Potenza, 
inhabited by a people of Albanian descent, picturesque in dress, 
and very commonly handsome in person."  page 91, "The Great Neapolitan
Earthquake of 1857" by Robert Mallet, 1862

1864.07.01 The Military Zone of Melfi-Bovino-Lacedonia was instituted.  

1864.07.25 Carmine Crocco was defeated in a battle by the Ofanto river.

1865.04.12 birth of Pasquale D'Agostino to Faustina Brienza and Canio D'Agostino

1871 Rionero population = 11,581 

1874.05.14 birth of my great great uncle Giuseppe D'Agostino to Faustina Brienza 
and Canio D'Agostino at via del Calvario, No. 32 [currently via Guglielmo 
Marconi, 32].  He later died at the battle of Adua.

1875.12.06 earthquake in Rionero (epicenter in S. Marco in Lamis, Foggia Province)

1876.01.09/10 Rionero contains 34 horses and 89 mules

1881 Rionero population = 11,689

1884.09.01 name of town changed from Rionero in Volture to Rionero in Vulture
by royal decree number 2610 of King Umberto I.

1886 Pasquale D'Agostino left Rionero and settled in Buffalo, NY

1893.08.10 earthquake in Rionero (epicenter in Gargano)

1896.03.01 Giuseppe D'Agostino is killed in combat at the battle of Adua in Ethiopia.

1897.09.21 First train arrives in Rionero in Vulture from Potenza

1900.03.01 a plaque to the memory of Giuseppe D'Agostino is erected in the town square.  
It is later moved to the Via Veneto in the 1930's.

1901 Rionero population = 11,834

1901.08.28 a 17 meter tall cross was erected on Monte Vulture to 
commemorate the Jubilee year of 1900.  The 10 meter tall cross was 
made of iron and was placed on top of a 7.25 meter tall hexogonal base 
made of volcanic stone.

1902.09.26-29 Giuseppe Zanardelli, Presidente del Consiglio visits Rionero.

1904.04.08 at 8:22 earthquake in Rionero (epicenter in Gargano)

1905.09.08 at 1:43 earthquake in Rionero (epicenter in Golfo di S. Eufemia)

1910.06.07 at 2:04 earthquake in Rionero (epicenter in Calitri)

1911 Rionero population = 11,029

"The only good drinking-water is that which is bottled at the mineral 
springs of Monte Vulture and sold cheaply enough all over the country."
"Old Calabria" by Norman Douglas (published in 1915)

1920 Canio D'Agostino left Rionero to live with his son Pasquale in 
Buffalo, NY

1921 Rionero population = 11,338

1930.07.23 at 0:08 Earthquake in Rionero in Vulture (Epicenter in Irpinia)

1931 Rionero population = 12,116

1932.12.27 name of Basilicata changed to Lucania

1941 Rionero population = 13,075

1943.09.23 Upon the approach of the Canadians, the Germans laid down 
smoke in Atella and withdrew to Rionero.

1943.09.24 16 Rioneresi were slaughtered by retreating German soldiers 
as reprisals.  They were aided by the colaborationist Edoardo Sala and 
the "ragazzi di Salo".  The innocent victims were:
 1. Emilio Buccino, 28
 2. Pasquale o Antonio Di Pierro, 46 
 3. Pasquale Di Lucchio, 29
 4. Pietro Di Lucchio, 39
 5. Marco Grieco, 16 
 6. Michele Greco or Grieco, 29
 7. Donato Lapadula, 21 
 8. Giuseppe Antonio Libutti, 40 
 9. Angelo Mancusi, 21 
10. Donato Manfreda, 21 
11. Giovanni Manfreda, 22 
12. Pasquale Manfreda, 31 
13. Antonio Santoro, 18 
14. Gerardo Santoro, 21 
15. Giuseppe Santoro, 45 
16. Pasquale Sibilia, 48

1943.09.25 patrol attempted to bypass Rionero to the east and were mortared 
near Ripacandida.

1943.09.26 Canadian troops enter Rionero and Barile unopposed.

1944.02.11 Lucania, Salerno province, Calabria, Sicilia, & Sardegna 
returned to Italian administration after 4� months of rule by the 
Allied Military government.

1948.01.01 name of Lucania changed back to Basilicata on the coming into effect of 
the new constitution (enacted 1947.12.22, & promulgated 1947.12.22)

1951 Rionero population = 14,787

1951.01.16 at 1:11 earthquake in Rionero (epicenter in Gargano)

1961 Rionero population = 14,378

1962.08.21 at 18:19 earthquake in Rionero (epicenter in Sannio)

1971 Rionero population = 11,827

1980.11.23 at 18:34 Earthquake hits Rionero in Vulture (Epicenter in Irpinia-Lucania)

1981 Rionero population = 12,147

1991 Rionero population = 13,201

2001 Rionero population = 13,441

2011 Rionero population = 13,533

My Links

STUDIES IN THE DIALECT OF BASILICATA: by Professor Alfonso de Salvio
Language of Rionero in Vulture, Basilicata: (in Rionerese, Italian, & English)
Language of San Fele, Basilicata: (in Sanfelese, Italian, & English)
The D´Agostino family of Rionero in Vulture and Buffalo, NY: genealogical research
Some Sanfelesi (PZ) families: genealogical research
Some Montefredane (AV) families: genealogical research
Frank Abarno: Entrapped with trying to blow up St Patrick´s

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