Southern Italy: The Pomaricos
Castelvetere sul Calore
Southern Italy in 1890
While Italy had always been a unit geographically, modern
Italy came into existence in March 1861 when Cavour proclaimed a united Italian kingdom.
Despite the new kingdom, Italy continued to be regionally oriented and the differences
between the north and the south were great.
Southern Italy in 1890 had barely improved 30 years after
the country was united. Illiteracy was widespread, cholera and malaria killed many, and
the industrial revolution had bypassed the agricultural south. Peasants rarely ate
meat and often their diet consisted of just rice, bread, pasta or polenta. Taxes from the
new central government in 1876 were levied on grinding grain and thus fell heavily upon
the poor. Deforestation ravaged the arable land with pockets remaining such as Campania,
the fertile region east of Naples.
Campania and Agriculture
Between 1861 and 1900, ecclesiastical land was broken up as
the grip of the church weakened. With this breakup, peasants lost the right to use common
land for collecting wood or grazing. Existing landlords bought the land and concentrated
their control. A census in 1881 found that for every thousand people living in the
countryside there were 46 landowners and 59 peasant proprietors.
The majority of people were like my ancestors who were
employed for half the year and subject to agricultural slumps that hit in 1873, 1885,
1888, and 1905. The gradual spread of education and the new railways and roads brought the
farm laborers in touch with cities and they realized the extent of their poverty. During
the extended agricultural depression of the 1800s, strikes and forcible occupation of the
land started to increase.
Although the taxes were levied on commodities like salt,
grain and gambling, there was not a single tax on the wealthy sections of scoiety. When
this was attempted during the financial crisis of 1893, the rich revolted, took over the
government, and responded by increasing the salt and grain taxes some more.
While my relatives lived in a relatively fertile region for
Southern Italy, between 1885 and 1910 they started for America leaving behind a
difficult agraian life for an unknown urban life abroad.
Angelo dei Lombardi, Campania
Many of my ancestors came from the town of Sant Angelo dei
Lombardi or the neighboring town of Torella. My dentist in Connecticut is a Pomarico as
well and he says his family comes from Benvenuto, not far from Sant Angelo. Below is a
list of people and immigration dates.
Farm Laborers & sons
- Pietro Pomarico, immigrated 1885
- Donato Pomarico, immigrated 1898
- Pasquale Pomarico, immigrated 1892
- Francesco Pomarico, immigrated 1894
- Dominick Pomarico, immigrated 1902
- Thomas Pomarico, immigrated 1902
- Luigi Pomarico, immigrated 1907
- Anthony Pomarico, immigrated 1909
Torella Lombardi is the town next to Sant Angelo. I am in
the (slow) process of copying the vital records for these two towns. Click here for Sant Angelo dei Lombardi and Torella Lombardi
Sant Angelo dei Lombardi
More info on Sant Angelo dei Lombardi
on the town and US immigrants from Sant Angelo dei Lombardi
The town is located at 850 metres above the sea level. The
name derives from the fact that the town was built by the Longobards. It became an
episcopal town at the end of the XI century by Gregorio VII and Urbano XVI. It
subsequently became a feud held by the Caracciolo, Carafa and the Imperiali. It was
destroyed by the earthquakes of 1664 and 1980. The historical center is typically
medieval. The last earthquake damaged some noble palaces, the cathedral and the castle.
The medieval village was at the foot of the castle that
dates back to the first half of the X century. It was modified during the Norman-Suabian
period and subsequently became a noble residence. The most important modifications were
done by the Caracciolo in the XVI century and by the prince Placido Imperiale in 1768.
This last fact is mentioned in an inscription that was near
the portal of the palace. The castle became a court and a jail in 1862. The castle was the
seat of the notary archive and of the offices of the magistrature in the last years.
S. Angelo dei Lombardi is formed by the hamlets of Croci S.
Rocco, S. Bartolomeo and S. Guglielmo del Goleto.
MEDIEVAL ABBEY OF GOLETO
The Benedectine Abbey of Goleto is in the Ofantina valley a
few kilometers from S.Angelo dei Lombardi. The Goleto, the most interesting medieval
monument of the high Irpinia, was founded by S.Guglielmo of Vercelli in the first half of
the XII century. He built a great cenobio for menand women (1133) in a place called
"lu Gallitu" that Ruggiero S. Severino, Lord of Monticchio dei Lombardi, donated
him. There were ruins of a temple dedicated to the sun god and ruins of roman thermal
The two families formed a community governed by an abbess
who became the high authority of Goleto. The abbey was formed by the monastery, the
superior church, the inferior church, the cemetery, a tower and a castle. The monastery
was composed by two buildings one for men one for women.
The superior church called chapel of S.Luca was the oratory
of the nuns. It has a romanic style and the way to get into is an external stairs called
"holy stairs". The abbey of Goleto, one of the most famous of the South of
Italy, was an economic and religious power during the Middle age. Giulio II abolished the
female monastery (1505) and annexed it to the one of Montevergine.
The French law abolished the monastery (1807) and the
relics of S. Guglielmo were transported to the abbey of Montevergine while the people of
Nusco, Lione and S. Angelo took the land and the fittings. There is an arch on the
entrance door with an inscription " in tempore domini marine abbatisse it domini
magistri-P", and two rampant lions with ancient fragment on the side walls. There is
another inscription on the entrance door "AB IN GAR.D.A.M.CCQIIIN DIC.V.X.II.N.ED.F.
ABATO FEBRONIAC.T. OPAIS ABBA".
It is located in Andrea square and has some Byzantine
CATHEDRAL OF THE XI CENTURY
The cathedral was rebuilt in the XVI century. It has a
Renaissance style with three naves and a marble portal. There is a cemetery of the XVII
century and a square belltower. It was seriously damaged by the earthquakes. It has a
beautiful facade with a stone portal of the XVIII century.
Castello Candriano in
Birthplace of Pasquale Pomarico and his siblings.
Located on the next hilltop across from S. Angelo dei
The origins of the town date back to the period of the
disagreement between the Longobard princedoms of Benevento and Salerno, around the year
850. The princedom of Salerno was defended by a little fortress called Turrella, from
which derives Torella. The name "dei Lombardi" was added after the italian unity
to distinguish it from the other one of "del Sannio". The oldest feudal lords of
the town belonged to the Saraceno family. Torella passed to the Caracciolo family (XV
century) who became princes in 1638.
A big medieval castle called "Ruspoli" from the
name of the last prince who held it in the first half of this century. It is held by the
town now. It was transformed into an elegant noble residence by the Caracciolo family
during the XV, XVI and XVII centuries. Giovanna Caracciolo, daughter of Giuseppe and
poetess was born in the castle in the XVII century. It is now being restored after the
earthquake of 1980. It will the seat of the city hall offices and of the cultural
View of Pomarico
While a group of Pomaricos lived in Campania in 1890, the
family name comes from the town of Pomarico located in Basilicata, a bt further south in
Pomarico, Basilicata, MT-077
Town located southwest of Matera
map of Pomarico