The origins of Città Sant’Angelo are uncertain and have always been a basis for historical discussion, beginning with the Vestini. The numerous archaeological finds between the mouths of Piomba and Saline Rivers, and the presence of small urban aggregates at the site called Marina Sant’Angelo point to the origins of the city during the Roman period, located in the eastern portion of the Vestine region. Mentioned by Plinius as one of four Vestini cities, Angelus or Angulum appears to have stood where today Città Sant’Angelo stands. It is cited from the 12th century as Castrum Sancti Angeli (Latin: “Castle of the Holy Angel”).
However around 400 CE, the first churches took root in the area between Città Sant’Angelo and Atri. The vestino-roman abodes, which would have been located in the nearby Salt Hill, were probably destroyed in the early Middle Ages, probably during the Gothic War (535–554); the Longobards (Lombards) who invaded Italy after the Gothic War, would likely have rebuilt the areas from scratch in their present location, leaving as the trace of their later presence the worship of the Michael (archangel). Testimonies of this cult are present in both the local landmark and the municipal coat of arms.
The first official record found where the municipality mentions a concession from the Emperor Ludovico II (Louis II of Italy) who granted a privilege to the Monastery of Casauria on the site called “CIVITATE S. ANGELI” where there was a castle and a port and dated 13 October 875.
In the 12th century it was aggregated to Loreto County by the Normans who established the Kingdom of Sicily. It was a Guelph city destroyed in 1239 by Boemondo Pissono, executioner to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, and successor to the Normans as the King of Sicily, because the city was too loyal to his enemy, the Roman Catholic Church. Reconstruction began in 1240 and the city took the shape of a fortified nucleus in a semicircle. The most prominent names were those of Zizza and Salomone. The arrival of the monastic orders in the first half of the 14th century generated widening interest and finally a monastery was established. By 1528 it obtained the current name of the city. In this era, Città Sant’Angelo was one of the three major cities of the Penne-Atri diocese, along with the two bishopric sites. This rivalry often resulted in wars, especially for port control, at the border between the current Silvi Marina and Pineto, in the province of Teramo. In the 16th century it was aligned to the Castriota family together with the lands of Spoltore, Moscufo and Montesilvano. It gradually became one of several feudal possession, between the Carafa and the Piccolomini of Celano, who then gave it to the Pinelli.
Gradually an agrarian bourgeoisie firmly established itself through to the 17th century. On 18 February 1699 Lucrezia Camerlengo bought on behalf of her son Francesco Figliola the Angolan marquis from Pinelli for 130,000 ducats. Francesco Figliola transformed the marquisate into a duchy.
Between 1300 and 1700, Città Sant’Angelo, despite numerous attacks by French and Spanish, met a period of splendor. In the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) the city passed definitively to the Kingdom of Naples. Italy gained stability for the first time in the 18th century. The new territorial settlement and the accession of the peaceful Ferdinand VI of Spain allowed the peace settlement to last until the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1792.
In March 1814, Città Sant’Angelo together with the municipalities of Penne, Castiglione Messer Raimondo and Penna Sant’Andrea were the protagonists of the first ups and downs of Carboneria of the Italian Risorgimento. The revolt was repressed by the troops of Gioacchino Murat, led by General Florestano Pepe, thanks to the betrayal of a conspiracy and the non-adherence of several municipalities that after giving their positive opinion remained silent. Angolan chiefs of the uprising, Philip La Noce and Domenico Marulli were shot at Penne and their heads were displayed on Porta Sant’Angelo, the main gate, while Michelangelo Castagna, another head of the revolt, managed to escape finding shelter with his sister in the town of Atri.
Prior to joining the Kingdom of Italy, Città Sant’Angelo was the capital city from 1837 to 1848 in the Distretto di Città Sant’Angelo, an administrative unit of Abruzzo Ulteriore Primo (the future Province of Teramo), a province of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, then returned to Penne County when the capital was returned to Penne.
At the turn of the 20th century, many people left the region and joined the mass migration to the Americas.
During the Second World War in April 1940 the Ministry of the Interior set up and rented the building of the Ex Manifattura Tabacchi, in the historic center of the city, to serve it as the only concentration camp of the province of Pescara with about 200 prisoners from Yugoslavia. The location remained active until April 1944. Currently, it is permanently hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art. On May 22, 1944, the US Air Force bombed the marina district; seventeen Angolan lives lost, in addition to German soldiers. On Monday, June 12, 1944 Città Sant’Angelo was liberated by the Allies.
Today, it is known for its historical architecture and as a tourist location that offers its own variety of wine and cuisine.
Living in Città Sant’Angelo
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