January 28, 2011.
There is no publication date on this pamphlet. I received it on our visit in 1987. The pamphlet was not available in 2007.
Savignano derives from a latin word Sabinianum, Sabinus. May be it was so called because of a Roman personality who possessed the village. May be an important government official of the Byzantine Empire gave his name during the wars against the Duchy of Benevento.
Savignano is called Irpino because it is situated in Hirpinia. Hirpini were an ancient people of bold farmers belonging to the Samnite Union. They were destroyed by Lucius Sylla in 82 B. C. after they rebelled against Rome. Hirpinia was called in Middle Age (Principatus Ultra), so they said (Savignano in P. U.), and it was called too Savignano di Puglia since it belonged to the Province of Capitanata (Foggia) last century.
We’ve no data about the Savignano establishment. Maybe it was one of the hundreds of Hirpinian villages scattered on the Apennines. Titus Livius writes that Hirpini dwelt in small villages. There was once another village in the Savignano territory. It was called Ferrara. It was destroyed during the war between King Manfred and Charles of Anjou round 1266-1269.
Savignano, Greci and Ferrara made the Greci Barony in the feudal system since Middle Age to the French revolution.
The first lord of the Barony we know was Count Poto, who received Greci from the Dukes of Benevento in order to rebuild it round the year 1000. In fact Greci was destroyed during the wars between the Longobards of Benevento and the Byzantines who were masters of Bari. Byzantines called Minor Lombardy the territory they took away from Benevento.
Normans conquered South Italy little by little along the XI century.
Norman Count of the Greci Barony was Gerard. His family was related to Robert the Wiscard of the Normans of Hauteville. Probably a brother or a cousin of Gerard was Robert, who was standard bearer of Boemund at the battle of Antiochia during the First Crusade.
Several Counts of Greci bore the name Gerard. A daughter of Gerard, Bethlem,became Abbess in Benevento in 1121. Her brothers Gerard and Briel gave her Monastery one third of Savignano territory comprising the old Longobard S. Angelo church.
In 1193 Saralus, lord of Savignano, a probable descendant of Gerard, was hanged with several Germans, by Tancredi, Count of Lecce.
In 1197 James Warna was lord of Ferrara. Under the reign of King Manfred, Savignano, Greci and Ferrara were sold to Manfredo Maletta, a King’s relation.
The Barony got a new lord when Charles of Anjou, a brother of St. Louis IX, King of France, defeated King Manfred in the battle of Benevento in 1266. William de la Lande from Paris was governor of Foggia and lord of Savignano. He overtaxed his folks. Foggia rebelled. William’s daughters Bertheranda and Angresia received the Barony. Bertheranda was related to the Spinelli, a family of bankers in Naples.
Captain of mercenary troops Muzio Attendolo Sforza served Queen Giovanna of Naples, In 1416 his son Francis Sforza got, as a gift from the Queen, Savignano and many territories in the Kingdom. But when Alphonso I of Aragon, Spanish King, conquered Naples, the Sforza lost everything in the South.
A Spanish family, the Ghevara, bought Savignano, Greci and the Fief of Ferrara in 1445. The village of Ferrara had fully disappeared along the XIV century. In 1575 Ghevara became Duke of Bovino, and in 1700 Count of Savignano.
Cardinal Francis Maria Orsini, Archbishop of Benevento, restored the small Savignanese hospital (5 rooms) in 1724 and built a new one in 1727 when he was Pope Benedict XIII.
The French revolution reached Savignano when the French troops occupied Naples in 1799. The Mayor of Savignano, lawyer Dominick Albani, was murdered in the Main Street on Sunday February 17th, 1799, during a people riot against the Jacobins.
In the struggle for the Italian Unity, many Savignanese and Grecese belonged to the Carbonarist movement. Pastor Dominick of Greci, and Savignanese priests Peter Magone, Rocco Mottola and John Marinaccio were the leaders.
People occupied the estate of the Duke of Bovino in Savignano at the Ferrara, and in Greci in 1848. Some 50 armed men marched from Greci to Ariano in May 1848 to reinforce the revolution. They wanted the Constitution to be maintained by the King Borbone Ferdinand II. Nick Magone, grand-father of Peter Magone living in Waterbury, Conn., was among them. Other revolutionary leaders in Savignano were Joseph Magone (my great grand-father) and his children, the Pessimato, the Marinaccio, the Cavallari, the Mottola. Leaders in Greci were Pastor Leone, Salza, Jannarone Brothers, Lauda, Cericola and some others.
After the riot was repressed, the Royal Dragoons arrested suspected people. Hundreds of Savignanese and Grecese were put into jail. Twenty six of them were charged as plot leaders and were judged by the Main Special Court of Avellino. Four gallows were requested by the Public Prosecutor Ulloa. One was for the old Joseph Magone, and the others for Pastor Leone and the Jannarone Brothers of Greci. The sentence was given on January 22nd, 1851: 30 years of irons to Pastor Leone of Greci, 24 years to the Jannarone, 19 years to Rev. Peter Magone. Others got several years of prison or were banished.
Reverend Peter Magone died in the Penitentiary of Nisida, near Naples, on Christmas 1855. Benjamin Jannarone died in Procida in 1857.
In 1860 Garibaldi arrived with his 1000. King Francis II fled to Gaeta. Italian Unity was made. Many dispersed bourbonist soldiers went into brigandage. There were in Savignano soldiers of the Royal Army and some 150/200 National Guards to protect citizens against brigand. Captain Luigi Cavallari, back from the exile in Ireland, headed the National Guard. The Magone and the Casale were lieutenants.
Captain Napoleon Jannarone, back from the penitentiary, headed the National Guard in Greci. He died in a battle against the brigands in Greci.
Doctor Luigi Albani was then famous in Italy. He vaccinated the whole population of Savignano against the cholera.
In 1870 the Napoli-Foggia rail road was opened.
Round 1880 the Savignanese started emigrating to USA. They say that First emigrant was Mr. Franciosco. Mr. Mollichiello left after him. Since then thousands of Savignanese reached USA, South America, Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia, Central and North Italy. Passaic, N. J., was called “Little Savignano”.
It appears as a village stretching on the ridge of the mountain from the Castle to the Calvary, and branching out to the Old Fountain, with small homes and apartment houses. There are the Kindergarten, the 8 Classes School. The Magnatta Institution houses some 50 polyomyelitic boys under the care of the Fathers of Don Orione.
In Savignano there are no big industries, but they started building one, very large, to make several kinds of stoneware products. It will be one of the best in Europe. Mayor Commander Luciano Magnatta worked hard to carry it out.
Savignano is a poor, but clean village. The municipal administration in the last 20 years purposed this aim itself: to make Savignano a comfortable touristic place. There’s a very good air with an ideal tranquility. There’s a wonderful panorama to be seen. Picnic places are on the road to Monteleone. You can enjoy a chilly sulphureous spring water at Rifieto. You’ll benefit by a holy day in our village.
Dear Savignanese wherever you live, come to Savignano! You’ll find there a bit of your blood, a bit of your spirit itself.