Casalduni

Among history, tradition and nature

Di Pontelandolfo e Casalduni non rimanga pietra su pietra.”

Cit. Enrico Cialdini, da “14 Agosto 1861: di Pontelandolfo e Casalduni non rimanga pietra su pietra” – R. Fortuna


Location

Casalduni is laid out along the two banks of a stream and, with its 23 districts, it is one of the villages in the province with the largest rural extension, dotted with vines, olive trees and chestnut trees. The landscape, on the whole is devoid of roughness alternating with small patches of woods. Near the place called “Terravecchia,” in the middle of a wooded area, flows the Alenta stream. In one spot, characterized by uneven terrain, the Alenta forms waterfalls that are a tourist attraction. It’s feudal origin, from Norman times, is evidenced by the presence of the turreted castle. The village is known for the terrible massacre of August 14, 1861, which also affected Pontelandolfo and Campolattaro, when 400 citizens were massacred in retaliation at the hands of the Royal Army.

Not to be missed

Worth seeing is the historic center and the recently restored Ducal Castle which strikes the visitor for its grandeur and for the access steps that lead to the entrance door. From here you enter the upper floors where, through the ancient rectangular windows with carved stone ornaments, you can admire the surrounding valley in an enchanting landscape. Two watchtowers are associated with the fortress; one near the castle and the other in the Ferrarisi district, where there is a tavern built centuries ago and used to refresh soldiers, merchants and farmers. In addition to the cylindrical angular tower, the section of the ancient patrol walkway is suggestive. Also worth seeing is the church of the Assunta, with a simple facade: today it is the result of a series of restorations and reconstructions over the centuries. Other places of worship worthy of mention are: the church of San Rocco and the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione.

 A bit of history

The origin of the municipality is uncertain. It already existed in Norman times and was a suffeud  of Tommaso di Fenuccio. This feud depended on the barony of Guglielmo di Rampano, who owned Ponte, the nearest commune. The first mention of Casalduni in an official document was in 1335, in a bull of Pope Clement V, in reference to the delimitation of the territory of Benevento (Castrum Casaldonis). II name reveals its nature as a casale, i.e., “inhabited land without its own autonomy,” belonging to churches and monasteries, without a court of settlers enslaved to serfs or perhaps to any of the conquering Lombards or Normans. In the Casale, the number of inhabitants grew rapidly, and when the Angevins conquered southern Italy, they gave it the name Casalduni, or “Casal-di-uni” (Casale-of-one). The 1688 earthquake also destroyed Casalduni, and only the feudal castle and the churches of San Rocco and St. Maria della Consolazione remained standing. Due to the events of 1860 this land had much to suffer, and on August 14, 1861, it was sacked and set on fire. In August 1860, in fact, the supporters of the fallen Bourbon regime pushed the local people to revolt, which broke out in Pontelandolfo, the nearest town. Here a squad of Piedmontese soldiers, commanded by Lieutenant Cesare Augusto Bracci, found refuge in the castle but, once they went out to safety, were massacred near Casalduni amid torture and ill-treatment. General Cialdini then ordered the complete destruction of both Casalduni and Pontelandolfo. The two communes were plundered even of their sacred furnishings and finally set on fire.

Curiosity

The folk group “Fontanavecchia” was founded in 1987 as a group to research the folk traditions of their land in order to rediscover the historical and cultural roots of their country. It   boasts great success at the international level. The group takes its name from an old fountain located in the center of the village, which in the past was an important refreshment point for travelers and a meeting and socializing place for entire generations.