The History of Monteroduni
Population Name: Monterodunesi
Current mayor: mayor (Nicola Altobelli)
Population: 2077 people ( 30/07/2023 - ISTAT)
Density: 61,99 people/km²
Height s.l.m.: 447
Latitude: 41° 31' 27''
Longitude: 14° 10' 36''
Surface: 37,02 Kmq.
Cadastral code: F601
Istat code: 094030
Provincia: Isernia (IS)
Area: Southern Italy
Patron: S. Michele Arcangelo 29 settembre
Seismic hazard: area 1 (alta): PGA ³ 0,25g
Class Climate: area D, 1903 GG
The town's coat of arms
In ancient times Monteroduni was located only inside its town walls. The town’s coat of arms represents three hills with a star on top.
The Origins of Monteroduni
Monteroduni is an ancient and certainly pre-Roman town. In 1881, the discovery of Neolithic tombs in the area now called 'Soccie' gave strength to this hypothesis. According to some, the present name Monteroduni derives from ROTA; while others suggest that it derives from OLOTRONUS, the ancient name of the Volturno River which crosses this land. Although there is no evidence that the first settlement was called ROTA; it’s sure that it was located in the area now called 'Paradiso'. In facts, according to many scholars, this area is the same described in the TABULA PEUTIGERIANA, where it’s called ROTA (named after the writer Conrad Peutinger, the Tabula was discovered in 1503 and it’s an old map showing routes of the Roman Empire).
It’s possible that the land of Monteroduni, which was very strategical for its closeness to the Matese and for the passage of armies, was the place where some battles between the Romans and the Samnites were played.
After, the defeat of the Samnites, the land of Isernia became the settlement of many Latin Colonies. Furthermore, these lands were also crossed by the armies of Hannibal during their transfers to Puglia, Sannio and Lazio.
During the Roman Empire, under Augustus, the southern land of the Volturno became part of the Teretina tribe; while the northern area, Rota, belonged to the Tromentina tribe. The new settlements led to the build of the street that connected Venafro to Rotae, Aesernia and Bojano.
The existence of this route is also testified by a military memorial stone, found in the area. Furthermore, the finding of many fragments of tombstones suggest that in that area there was also a temple dedicated to the Goddess of the storm and it was connected to the cult of the God of the Volturno which was celebrated to avoid the floods which devastated the fields.
In 456 the “Campo Sacco” area was looted by vandals who were marching towards Isernia. During the Longobard Period, from 589 to 1058, the depopulation of “Campo Sacco” led to the creation of a new settlement on the mountain, where the present town of Monteroduni now stands. The depopulation was caused by the need of the people to live in a place far from the roads where the Longobards played their battles; but it was also caused by the phenomenon of the Saracen invasions of the Samnite land in the second half of the ninth century.
Public works: Aqueduct, the first lighting, the first post office, and the first railways.
-In 1193 Monteroduni was destroyed and left without water for about 800 years. Several houses had wells and cisterns, fed by rainwater used only for household chores. There were many natural springs, still existing (Capotrio, San Nazzaro, La Fontana etc ....), which supplied water to drink. The first real and current waterworks in Monteroduni were designed in 1934 and tested in 1938. It has started to work since 14th September 1938.
Reliable sources reveal that Monteroduni was the first town of the area to have lighting. In fact, on 20th November 1883 the town had its first electric plant. On 28th October 1913 public lightning was inaugurated. The electricity was supplied by a plant that used the water of the lake itself, owned by Prince Pignatelli and located in Contrada S. Nazzaro.
The first post office in Monteroduni was established in 1881 and in 1899 a telegraph office was also set up.
The railway Caianello-Campobasso, which also includes the stations of Monteroduni (Spinete) and Macchia d'Isernia, was inaugurated on March 21th, 1894. It was later destroyed during the Second World War and restored in 1950 with the current station.
The Pandetta of the Lorda river
The “Pandetta” was a toll fee inscribed on two stones of 1.90x1.60 mt. The stones were placed near the bridge which crossed the Lorda river, the natural boundary between the northern portions of the lands of Macchia d'Isernia and Monteroduni.
Since 1505 the tenure of Macchia and Monteroduni was held by one family, the Afflittos, but in 1564 Ludovico II D’Afflitto sold the land of Macchia to Giovanni Battista Ravaschieri. Giovanni Battista stated that he held Macchia and all the areas around and in 1570 he sold the tenure to Luigi della Marra. So, the tolls that must be paid in order to pass through the territory were two: the first fee had to be paid near the Lorda and the second one near the Cavalieri river, located between Isernia and Macchia. At first, when the original tenure was held by only one family, the toll was paid once, but when it was divided into two different tenures, people had to pay two different fees.
Anyway, such problems affected the entire Kingdom; so in 1569, the Duke of Alcala decided that the Summaria Court had to discuss and solve the issue. In turn, the court gave full power to decide to its President, Hannibal Moles.
In various papers filed in the Summaria Court, it’s written that in 1570 all the Barons of the Kingdom were invited to explain the reason for the tolls they required. For what concerns the case Macchia – Monteroduni, discussed in court in the same year, there’s a file describing Ravaschieri who shows papers in order to prove his right to require the toll inside his own tenure.
At the same time, Hannibal Moles decreed that the toll had to be required only once and its price had to be the same as the original one (the original price was reported on a paper which were attached to the files regarding the case). Furthermore, to avoid the abuse of power, the list of the various toll charges required had to be showed to the people who passed through the land and the two crumbling bridges had to be fixed suddenly.
In order to cross the river, people could also use the scow (scafa) instead of the bridge, but in order to get this alternative service, they had to pay either for their transfer or for the goods transported, in addition to the rights of passage.
For nearly two centuries, the route of the Lorda river, which connected Macchia to Monteroduni, became the source of contention between the two towns, because both the Baron of Macchia and the Prince of Monteroduni believed that the route was located in their own tenure.
Surely this was one of the reasons why the build of the new bridge on the Lorda delayed significantly.
The disputes were finally resolved in 1806, when Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte abolished feudalism.