The history and origins of Acquarica Del Capo
Acquarica del Capo is a small town in the area of Santa Maria di Leuca, from which it is 15km away and is located 8km from the Ionian coast (the closest beaches are those of Torre Mozza and Lido Marini), and about 15km from the coast. adriatica (nearest sea on the east side, marina di Novaglie). “A locanda Tù Marchese” in Matino is 23km away.
The civic emblem of Acquarica Del Capo is a golden fountain from which a long gush of water rises, probably it was a symbol representing the aboundance of water in the territory. The presence of man on the territory of Acquarica Del Capo, since immemorial time, is evidenced by the findings occurred in the Cave of the Madonna della Grotta. Indeed, the finds are dated back to the Neolithic, the Paleolithic and the Bronze Age. On the walls of the cave , which is six meters high, soe Byzantine inscriptions are olso visible.
Some scholars argue that the country was risen close to three houses that no onger exist: Cardigliano, Ceciovizzo and Pompignano, and that the population of Acquarica comes from them. Cardigliano was set about 4km north-west of Acquarica.Ceciovizzo or Cicinizio was located just 1km from the town of Acquarica and now called Gelsorizzo.
In this building the feudatory lord Fabrizio Guarino erected during 1500 a pigeon-tower, and let a Latin inscription on whichnthere was written “Fabrizio built a dovecot for himself and his friends year 1550”. Otherwise Pompignano was not near the hamlet of Acquarica Del Capo , but the Saracens invaded it and destroyed it in the IX-X century AD. The refugees fleeing from Pompignano fled inland and moved beyond the greenhouse , reaching Acquarica and deciding immediately to settle there because of the abundance of water.
Later, destroyed Ceciovizzo and Cardigliano , their inhabitants mixed with the population of Acquarica, that in old maps is marked with the addition od “the Lama”, term that in Latin means Laguna, stagnant water, from which the name of the Lama district comes.
This stagnant water disappeared after the formation of a “vora” which swallowed all the water and the pond causing the drainage of the area. Even today this natural chasm is active and absorbs huge quantites of water from both the town and from the hills. Afterwards, the villege assumed the name of Cantellas, from the surname of the feudal lord who was its owner in 1669. After his short domain, the village was called Acquarica again with the addition of “ Del Capo”, in order to be distinguished from a fraction.
What to visit in Acquarica del Capo:
The patron of Acquarica Del Capo is San Carlo Borromeo, to whom is dedicated the church with a XVII century portal. Located in the main square, it was built by Fabrizio Guarino, who having been ill in Naples, voted himself to St. Carlo and promised to built a new church if he would be healed. It was the second parish chuech of Acquarica (after that of Madonna dei Pannetti) until 12 October 1975. Beyond the town there is the Church of Santa Maria dei Pannetti, which dates from the XI century. Its name probably derives from the Greek Panellios to indicate the Greek origin of the church.
Popularly it is also called Madonna dei Pannetti, because the soil close to the church had grown to wheat which was used for the bread of the poor. It is very small (7 for 7 m), the plant has a single room, with two semicircular apses on the right side. It’s covered by a corner vault raised on tuffed stone pillars. It seems included in a previous building, perhaps with a tiles vault and with a front entrance at the first apse.
The church has a single bell dated 1800. This bell, belonging to the chapel of Madonna del Ponte, was transferred here in 1984. Found by digging near the old “bridges” of Acquarica, it is called a “devout and miraculous” tradition, because if the bell was played during the thunderstorm, the weather would turn sunny again. The Church of Cristo Risorto is located in via Don Miinzoni. It is the actual parish church opened on 12 October 1975.It was built by salentine craftsmen (from Galatina) under a design by architects B.Paolo Torsello and Giuseppe Cristinelli, professors at the Univercity Institute of Architecture in Venice, with offerings of the faithfull people and the state contribution. The façade in modern style with a characteristic “organ pipe”shape, recalls the idea of music and sacredness. Other churches are ST. Giovanni Battista and the Madonna of Pompigliano.
At “A Locanda Tù Marchese”, we will be able to guide you in exploring these small villages by organizing your day between a guided walk and a break by the sea.
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