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   11 December 19

 

HISTORY OF THE TOWN

HISTORICAL SIGNS

It is a difficult enterprise to reconstruct the history of Serrone because of the almost total absence of written documents. The origin of the name SERRONE is made to go up again to the ancient name "serroni", that evokes the rocky and uneven backs of the central Apennine and that characterize the slant and the strata of the Scalambra Mountain on which to halves the coast, rose in dark epochs the native nucleus of the village.

In the pre-Roman antiquity, the territory was inhabited by the italic population of Ernicis, which established an "oppidum" (strengthened village) in a place called "Lesca", where still today can be admired the rests of ancient polygonal boundaries, constituted by enormous inserted boulders the one with the others.

In the Imperial period numerous rustic villas rose in the territory, as testified by the rests recovered in a place called "Grotte" dated back to the III sec a.C. Besides, in a place called "Mora del fattore" had to rise another villa. Here a fragment of travertine has been recovered, an epigraph, that telles of a certain Epeniina, daughter of Clodio and Papira, who died when she was 5 years-old.

These installations were certainly favoured by the presence of important streets of communication, that connected the capital of the empire with Trevi, Subiaco and Vallepietra.

In the second half of VI century, was founded "Castrum Serronis" in the period where, after the fall of the west Roman empire (476 D.C.), many urban nucleuses moved in defensible elevated places by the foreign invasions. With the decadence of the Roman empire, a Christian community had to pick up around the church of S. Quirico in the homonym place, as testified by the presence of a Christian necropolis. The dark centuries of upper middle age, characterized by wars, pestilences and famines, pushed the population to reunite itself in some rustic villas, isolated and distant from the great streets of communication.

In the VII-VIII century the abbey of Subiaco had the dominion on two churches of the place and in the X century the territory was under the jurisdiction of the Benedictines of Subiaco that introduced the cult of S. Michele Archangel. The most ancient document that testifies the existence of the village is from 1085 and is contained in the REGESTO SUBLACENSE.

Apart brief periods, the village was under the direct jurisdiction of the Popes during whole middle age.

For this reason the Romans, that opposed the Pontiff, burned in 1184 the castles of Paliano and Serrone. For the whole XII century the region suffered the consequences of the struggle between the ecclesiastical State and the Romans. Subsequently the Church began to purchase from the gentlemen houses and possessions in the castles of Paliano and Serrone leaving possessions in feud to the same magnates, that became its vassals. In few months the two castles, garrisoned and strengthened, became properties or “Castellanies of the Church”. In 1233 Gregorio IX grants one "statute", a collection of rules, uses and customs that will accompany, even if with following changes, the life of Serrone up to 1815.

From the beginning of XIII century the papal political reasons determined the progressive transformation in feuds, of the cities and of the countries until then free Communes. In 1378 the Pontiff granted Serrone as feud, to a family named Conti of Segni. In 1425 begins the dominion of a family named Colonna, interrupted in the period of the "War of Country", during which Serrone was set on fire for the second time.

In 1562 the Colonna returned in possession of the territories and their dominion will culminate in 1569 with the institution of the principality of Paliano, including also Serrone. So a long period of peace and development was opened, only interrupted by plague epidemics (1592 and 1655) and by famine (1764). During XVII and XVIII centuries important public institutions were constituted.

Peace ended in 1799 with the Napoleonic epoch that submitted the territory to lootings and devastations. The 1815 restoration brought to a general reorganization both legislative and administrative. The village, together with Piglio and Paliano was included in the district of Tivoli, included in the comarca of Rome. Even if touched by the motions of 1849 and 1867, the village lived calm up to the 1870 unification that brought Serrone to be a member of the District of Paliano, province of Rome. After the unification some progresses occurred in the sector of the services, as the realization of a railway line (during the 1 ^ world war) that connected Serrone to the capital. Attracted by the possibilities offered by the strong development of the countries, part of the population of the historical centre progressively moves to the fraction called La Forma. In 1927 the commune was definitely included in the province of Frosinone.

By Nicoletta Sperati

Many of those people that lived their own childhood at the beginning of 1900, are in agreement to affirm that life in a small village, was more harmonious and quiet, despite it was very hard. When there was not television and all other technologies of last generation, people lived in Serrone as a great family.

In the fresh summer evenings the inhabitants met each other in the street, by the door of their houses to talk, while they finished the last small jobs of the day. In winter also they met to be in company in front of a fireplace where children were entertained with stories told by the eldest people.

Every day people went to take water to the sources that were situated (and still they are) in the valley at a distance of 3 Km from the nucleus of Serrone, in the actual fraction of La Forma. To return home they crossed afoot the disconnected paths that climbed up to the historical centre, transporting the copper basins full of water on their head protected by the "coroglia" (a pad formed by some rags rolled up to compose a kind of crown). Some very skilled women succeeded in bringing two of them one above to the other. Someone who got a donkey was very lucky because he was able to transport the water more easily and therefore, after having finished the work in the fields, he filled with water the "copelle" (wood barrels) and when he returned at home, he could distribute water to the neighbours that needed it.

The simplicity of the population of Serrone came out in the old rite of wedding. The man asked the hand to the future parents in-law, then the parents of the couple took accords on the dowry. The evening that preceded the marriage the boy brought under the window of his girlfriend to tune up a serenade accompanied by the concertina. The day of the event, the mother-in-law bride is prepared the nuptial bed, while her neighbours prepared her a little arch made with flowers of field. They used to go to the church afoot to the sound of the concertina and when the ceremony was concluded the guests used to throw some sugared almonds, previously procured by them. They had lunch in the husband’s house and it was constituted from simple dishes, not different from those of every day, but certainly in greater quantity: they used to eat potato dumplings, pasta as patacche or fettuccine, seep meat and dry sweets.

Other chapter is that regarding the birth of children that happened at home with the help of the midwife. However, before the arrival of the official midwife, women asked help to women with more experience. Obviously in both cases, if complications rose they had to call the doctor, but childish mortality at birth was hight.

A woman that just had a child could decide to become nanny and therefore asked it to the Senzale, a woman that picked up all the requests. Who went to work as a nanny often had to move, for the necessary period, in places also very distant from Serrone, so she left her little child to another woman that could took care of him. The nannies were request especially in the city, to attend and to nurse children belonging to middle class. These nannies were repaid with suits and money. A part of this money was used for compensating the woman remained with the child in the village.

For the economy of the village a role of great importance was occupied - and still is occupied - by wine's production (above all Cesanese DOC) and by oil production (denominated "Rosciola"). Certainly today a lot of innovations have been introduced in this circle, while in the past the whole work was made without the help of machines.

In October everyone took part in the vintage picking up patiently one by one the clusters of mature grape, that subsequently were squeezed by naked feet in the "trescarola" separating the juice from the rasps. The new wine fermented in strokes, while the must was cooked before Christmas for the preparation of the "maritozzigli".

After the vintage the harvest of the olives began. Once transported in the crushers, they were grinded by a millstone. The pasta of the olives was pressed by hand; the oil was separated from the water and put in barrels.

Up to the first half of 1900 still existed in Serrone numerous handicraft laboratories that worked various material.

The carpenter wisely worked the wood necessary to realize utensils for the every day life as agricultural furnish and objects for domestic use: "scolemaregli" (ladles), spoons, "Scife" and "scifelle" (wood trays of different dimensions used for serving fresh pasta and polenta).

The blacksmith was a very important figure, because he created utensils for all the other artisans, he worked in collaboration with the carpenter and the mason, besides he also covered the role of blacksmith fitting with iron the clogs of donkeys horses and mules

Not less flourishing was the activity of whom realized hand-made (weaving wickers, elm and straws), baskets and "manicuti", essential for the everyday life and necessary for the harvest of grape and olives, while the "bottaro" realized and repaired strokes, especially in coincidence of the vintage.

Among the artistic craftsmanship we have to remember the tailoring. The tailors sewed trousers, jackets and other garments, while many embroideries were also realized by the expert hands of the women to adorn tablecloths and sheets and to manufacture the trousseau of their daughters.

The role of leather tanner was covered from the shepherds themselves, who, after having killed the animals, salted and desiccated the furs to make heavy "cardamacchi", trousers of skin of sheep that reached the knees and that the shepherds wore above the pants.

The goldsmith art was almost absent in the territory of Serrone but however requested, so that the jewels were essentially "imported" from the goldsmiths of Alatri, especially in occasion of the fairs, when also arrived in the village the typical copper basins from Paliano.

Today the craftsmanship represents essentially a purely tourist attraction in the whole Ciociaria. The handicraft professions surviving in Serrone concern the wood and the beaten iron.

CELEBRATIONS BETWEEN RELIGION AND SUPERSTITION:

In the past many festivities that were performed in Serrone sank their remote roots in the paganism. So for a long time also Christian celebrations have preserved pagan characteristics as when for the carnival feast the puppet was burned as in some Roman celebrations. Today the most unusual celebrations have disappeared, but someone is trying to bring them again to the light through the folklorist activitis, particularly animated during the feastes dedicated to the wine as the Feast of the Cesanese and Nettare DiVino during the month of August.

St. Michele Arcangelo

The most important festivity is that dedicated to the patron of Serrone, St. Michele Arcangelo. During the year it is celebrated in two different dates: 8 May and 29 September, days when is performed a solemn procession accompanied by the local musical band. During these celebrations the hermitage of St. Michele is opened. It is situated on the summit of Scalambra Mountain, reachable also through a path that crosses a wood. A pyrotechnic show closes the event.

Celebration of Addolorata

This celebration is held in the fraction La Forma in the third Sunday of October. The Saturday that precedes the event, a "march of peace" departs from the church of Addolorata and arrives to the catacombs of St. Quirico where a Mass is celebrated. The following Monday the annual fair is held.

Celebration of St. Quirico

St. Quirico is celebrated on July 14-15 in the homonym fraction with a solemn procession, music, tasting of local products and pyrotechnic show.

It can be noticed that the festivity of St. Michael Arcangelo is performed twice a year, because the Church decided to move the true religious event to spring, probably with the purpose to succeed in supplanting precedents pagan festivities placed in this period and that surely were not inspired to the continence of the Christian traditions.

During the Holy Friday there is the Via Crucis. The procession was a real representation in original costumes of the Passion of Christ but recently has been modified; now the procession of people walks along a course where are situated some postings that represent the trial, the sentence and the crucifixion of Jesus.

In the Christianity of these places often can be find a light superstition, so rites can be not exclusively religious.

Some years ago, in the day of Sant'Antonio Abate, day when the pets are blessed, children used to go "pe' panetta", from house to house and nobody denied them some desiccate seasonal fruit (above all apples and fig trees).

To St. Rocco people made petition to be protected from the epidemics, in fact the homonym little church of Serrone was built during a pestilence.

Also today, during the day of Candelora (2 February) some candles are blessed and, according to the popular belief, people have to turn on them to avoid the arrival of rain and hail.

Close to these small rites it is placed the real superstition. To ear an owl’s cry is surely a bad auspice, as to lie down themselves on the bed with shoes or to cross the silver wares on the table. When the fire "blows" someone make exorcising gestures, because some people believe that the noise is provoked by the devil. Indeed in some residences can be noticed a broom placed behind the door,because someone think that the broom prevents the witches to enter house.

Finally the belief in the enchantment is still very rooted and someone asks to take it away to people able to do this.

Even more ample is the list of popular remedies to take care of various illness

The mallow is often used as lenitive, a half potato put on a scorching calms the pain, while a warm brick wound in a cloth and put on the breast is considered an successful remedy to loosen the catarrh.

POPULAR SONGS, MUSIC & DANCES

The popular song of Serrone is characterized by a simple language; the treated themes were taken back by the life of every day so that to idealize them in the modest song. A place of respect was also reserved to the feelings as love and religion, because of the strong ascendancy that the church had on the territory. But also existed songs with unusual functions as those created for mocking. For example, sometimes happened that an admirer, embittered to have been rejected, went under house of the girl that refused him and he sang:

Affacciate alla finestra mucco de soreca

Piscia alla pignatella e vatte a recoreca.

However the most important function of the song was that to accompany the hard job in the fields, to make it lighter and tolerable. A lot of these songs had a specific placing, for example, one song was exclusively tuned up for the reaping of wheat.

In the Serronese repertoire there are also songs dedicated to the Scalambra Mountain and to the village, so much loved by its inhabitants.

Il Serrone non e' una gran citta'

Ma quassu' si sta benone

Sara' l'aria sara' il bosco chi lo sa

Ma fa gola a tutte quante le persone

Ci beviamo 'na foglietta E magari pure tre

Ci faremo 'na sbronzetta Alla barba di Noe'

E finche' saremo al mondo

Ci dovremo ubriaca'

Ci beviamo il vino biondo

Che piu' allegri ci fa sta'

The Maestro Manlio Steccanella, native of Verona, composed in the first half of 1900 the "Song of the Scalambra" in which shines the whole majesty of the Mountain and the devotion to the hermitage of St. Michael:

Squilla di San Michele la campana

della montagna nostra dolce voce.

Gaio risveglio sei da monte a valle

e sembri il mormorio della fontana.

Dal monte i figli tuoi partiron saldi

sul patrio fronte si immolaron baldi.

Scalambra! O mio bel monte

Nel cielo tergi altero,

i montanari tuoi t'han sempre nel pensiero,

di te il cuore fiero

riempi l'anima Scalambra nero!

Dalla tua vetta dal sole indorata

scendon di leccio i boschi sempre verdi

Che da lontano murmure del vento Rassembrano del mare l'ampia ondata.

Al pascolo le pecore guidando

I pastorelli lieti van cantando.

The organetto, the accordion and "jo 'nfru'" are the tools that usually are played in the songs of Serrone, except for the pastoral Christmas played with the pipe and the bagpipe. Practiced harmonies are simple and they often accompany the popular dances, among which the "salterello". In this dance the dancers, to couples or to groups, are held united with their arms passed on the shoulders, articulating the time with the feet.

Alsowho plays the organetto begins very often to dance making the dance even more energetic.


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Realizzato da:
Rocci Luca
Si ringraziano per la collaborazione: Nigro Carmen, Rocci Luca e Sperati Nicoletta.
© Michele Sperati. All Rights Reserved