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From the Kingdom of Sicily to the Kingdom of Italy (1140-1860)

Despite its duration and a large number of events this period is characterized by a substantial unity due to the extraordinary stability of the geopolitical order that characterized the history of the Southern Italy after the foundation of the Kingdom of Sicily (1140) by Roger II.

When Naples became capital instead of Palermo (1282) Abruzzi confirmed its role of connection region. During this long period of stability, the history of the Majella territory lives different phases but not real breaks. This territory was continuously ruled by feudal lordships, at first by local families, such as Cantelmo and Caldora families and then by Neapolitan and Roman ones.

During the 10th and the 11th centuries this territory, like others in Abruzzi and in the South-Central Italy, organized its almost final settlement. During these two centuries a population constantly growing and needing urbanization and a own land to exploit, its need to protect itself from the incursions of Saracens and Hungarians and then from the Norman conquerors and the boost of the monastic or laic lordships allowed the building of real villages, located in strategic areas and enclosed by walls. This is the so-called fortification process (incastellamento), whereby villages, in the past called castles, rose with a name that is still the same.
Their names often contain roots that show their high and defensive position: Pesco (from the Italic pestlon, that means fortress), Pietra, Rocca, Pizzo and Penna. The fact is rarely registered in the 9th century (an example is Manoppello), sometimes in the 10th century (like Salle, Cantalupo of Tocco da Casauria, Abbateggio, Pietransieri and Cansano, even if its toponym shows a Roman origin), but in most cases in the 11th century.

Image of "Borgo di Pacentro"
Image of Tocco Casauria's Castle
Image of "Taverna Ducale di Popoli "
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