Vasanello

The town of the "Cocciari"

Vasanello

The town of the "Cocciari"

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Discover what treasures are hidden in Vasanello

“The Orsini Castle and the Bassanello Ceramics”.

“The Museum of Ceramics”.

“The Church of Santa Maria Assunta and the remains of Saint Lanno”.

Vasanello is the town of the handcrafted ceramics, artisanal workshops and ancient kilns.

The town of Vasanello lies in the north-west area of the Agro Falisco, at the foot of the Cimini Mountains. Together with Civita Castellana it is the town whose ceramic production is most renowned. As for many other localities throughout the District of the Via Amerina and of the Ravines, a great number of remains bearing witness to the presence of the Faliscan civilization are spread across the surrounding area.

Among the main landmarks the magnificent Orsini Castle and the beautiful medieval garden deserve mentioning. The suggestive old town centre is also to be seen, where the ancient kilns of the Coccìari bear witness to the town’s historical ceramic production. Such a trade is the most relevant example of the local traditions. The manufacturing of bricks, of pitchers and the vases known as “pignatte” are to be included between the activities of the Coccìari. Also famous are the celebrations which occur in memory of the town’s patron, Saint Lanno, whose remains are conserved here.

Why not also visit the other towns of the Agro Falisco and explore this territory lavishing in nature and rich of traditions!

Did you know… it is possible that Laura Orsini, married to Nicola della Rovere, might have been the illegitimate daughter of Pope Alessandro VI Borgia. The Pope had been the secret lover of Giulia Farnese, wife of Orso Orsini and mother to Laura. The fresco paintings conserved in the Orsini castle bear witness to the presence of these families in the area throughout history. 

Did you know… it is possible that Laura Orsini, married to Nicola della Rovere, might have been the illegitimate daughter of Pope Alessandro VI Borgia. The Pope had been the secret lover of Giulia Farnese, wife of Orso Orsini and mother to Laura. The fresco paintings conserved in the Orsini castle bear witness to the presence of these families in the area throughout history. 

What to see in Vasanello

The history of Vasanello

Bassanello

In ancient times, this town was an old “pagus” situated alongside the Via Amerina and inhabited by Faliscan people. A number of archaeological sites bear witness to the presence of this civilization throughout this territory.

The old town centre lies in the point of convergence of two great ditches, and is therefore partially fringed by precipitous drops. There are doubts regarding the origins of the name Vasanello: the marble epigraph dated 1038 and found in the Church of San Salvatore is the oldest document attesting such denomination. The name of the town also recurs in a paper, once again from San Silvestro, dated 1058 and attesting the divestment of the “estate Vasanello”, property of Abbot Tebaldo. In these documents, the town is referred to as both “Vasanello” and “Bassanello”. In 1400 the feud is then assigned with the caption of “Castrum Bassanelli” and is from then on referred to as Bassanello. As for this second denomination, hypothesis have been made, as various as uncertain: some argue that the name might derive from Bassareus, epithet of Bacchus, the pagan god to whom several festivities were dedicated in ancient times, while others claim its origins are to be traced back to the Giunii Bassi, a patrician Roman family.

It was in 1949 that the Municipal Administration decided on Vasanello as the official name to be used when referring to the town, as it recalled its traditional manufacturing of ceramics.the town’s coat of arms also bears the symbol of a vase, so as to emphasize this historical production of the community. 

 

The Orsini family and the castle

During the 8th century Bassanello was incorporated into the Patrimony of Saint Peter. Then, during the dark decades of the Middle Ages, a time in which the Roman Duchy was torn apart by internal strife, the town fell into the hands of bandits. In the intent of dealing with the issue, in 1212 Innocenzo III demanded that the podestà of Orte should clear Bassanello from its raiders and administer the town himself.

Not many years had passed since the beginning of Orso Orsini’s dominion (1278), when the castle was built. In this way the district came to be involved in the so-called “encastellation” phenomenon. However, the Orsini dominion over Bassanello was destined to be short-lasting, as only a few years later, at the behest of Pope Martino IV, the town was returned to the property of the Holy See.

 

The noble families of Bassanello

During the following centuries, the territory in the whereabouts of Bassanello endured a series of uprisings and rioting. Order was finally re-established in the territory by virtue of the efforts of Neruccio di Enricuccio from Soriano, who was thereafter rewarded by Gregorio XI by entrusting him the management of Bassanello’s Castle.

From 1433 to 1500 the feud was re-assigned several times and by different popes to the Orsini house, who found themselves once more ruling over the town of Bassanello. Then followed the Della Rovere family, to whom the feud was entrusted by Pope Giulio II, on account of the marriage between Laura Orsini and Nicola Della Rovere. When the latter died in 1534, the estate was inherited by his son, Giulio, and after him his sister, Elena. Elena Della Rovere was married to Stefano Colonna, and it was this last family, the Colonna, who ruled the feud from then on, or at least until the early years of the 18th century.

Shortly before the declining phase of the Pontifical State, the town was being administered by the Colonna Barberini di Sciarra lineage. Then for a brief period the estate became the property of the Bank of Italy, until 1907, when the Orsini Castle was acquired by Monsignor Luigi Misciattelli, who renovated the building and here lay the foundations for his ceramic factory, which was to become a historic institution of the town. 

 

Now you have learnt about the history of Vasanello, come and discover all the unveiled beauties it still has to offer, include this town in your tour of the Agro Falisco!

Where is Vasanello

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