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From the Castle of Fratta to Umbertide

( edited by Francesco Deplanu)

The first evidence of the castle of Fratta dates back to 1189. In fact, the deed with which "Fracta Filiorum Uberti", previously owned by the successors of Arimberto, was subjected to Perugia by the Marquis Ugolino di Uguccione, ascendant of the Marquises of Petrelle.  

Over the centuries the territory of Fratta  it only once experienced a domination other than that of Perugia. In fact, in 1550, for a few months, the castle with all its territory, villas and rents was run by Paolo and Giovanni di Niccolò Vitelli Domicelli from Città di Castello. This did not mean a stable and peaceful life for the Castello della Fratta, on the SIUSA site  we read: " In 1351 Fratta was devastated, on the occasion of the battles between the Visconti and Perugia, by the army of Giovanni di Cantuccio Gabrielli di Gubbio, captain of the archbishop of Milan. In the following decades, Fratta and its territory suffered the consequences of the clashes between the mercenary captain Braccio Fortebraccio da Montone and two thousand horses sent by Ladislao d'Angiò king of Naples, between 1403 and 1408; it was again devastated, in 1478, thanks to the plague, by the troops of Federico Duke of Urbino and, the following year, by the Florentines. Finally, Valentino too, at the head of the papal troops, moving towards Fossato di Vico, occupied it in 1500. " Also in  this period the history of Fratta depended on the political life of Perugia, the struggles between the different opposing factions that took place in Perugia from the second half of the fourteenth century to the first decades of the following century often had repercussions in our country. In fact, on the Siusa website you can continue to read:  "at the castle of Fratta, on various occasions, the exiles found refuge; it was the main interest of the Perugians, therefore, to" recover "or recapture the aforementioned castle. In 1385, for example, Fratta was occupied by the exiles, thanks to an uprising led by Tommaso di Ciardolino, captain of the guard; reconquered the following year by Albertino di Nino di Guidalotto and by Mattiolo di Angeluccio di Colle, being captain of the Perugia Pellino di Cucco Baglioni war, Fratta was extensively restored, in the defensive structures and equipped with an imposing fortress. " Thus our "Rocca" came to life. The construction was thus entrusted from Perugia to Alberto Guidalotti,  the architect was named "Trocascio", or Angeluccio di Ceccolo. It was finished in 1389. Today the Rocca is  consisting of large walls that at the base reach a width of 2.40 meters, is more than 30 meters high, presents  with two circular towers, a square bulwark and two doors with a drawbridge, although today only one remains.  Other episodes of occupations and recoveries took place in the years 1394, 1431 and 1495. During the rebellions for the salt gabelles in Perugia and then the famous  "salt war" of 1540 Fratta, however, remained faithful to the papacy and thus saved himself from the destruction of the walls that he would otherwise have suffered.

ROCCA - ANNI '60Storiche archivio Belluc

fig. 1 and 2: La Rocca in the 60s and a few years ago.

Of this period  there remain the precious Statutes of 1521 " ... of the sacred statutes of the notable castle of Fratta of the filioli de Uberto countryside of Perosa of the door of sancto Angelo ". A statute in the vernacular that also gives us a picture of the language used, although adequate for a clearer and more common linguistic expression in contemporary Tuscan. The notary, " Marino di Domenico di Marino Sponta of the dictum castle of Fratta, minimum servant of the community " rewrites the ruined ones of 1362. According to Francesco Mavarelli, who wrote about them in 1903 in  Of the art of the Blacksmiths in the Land of Fratta (Umbertide). Memories and Documents ",  they were only adequate copies of those of 1362 which had gone over time and were ruined.  

But what was Fratta like in the 16th century?

In addition to information from Cyprian  Piccolpasso there are also two maps of the sixteenth century that can tell us about it. let's start  from these less known by Ubaldo Giorgi and Ignazio Danti.

Thanks to the historian Fabrizio Cece who kindly provided it to us, we have an image, a detail, taken from the Map of the Diocese of Gubbio drawn by Don Ubaldo Giorgi in 1573. The intent to represent the Diocese with all its parishes characterizes the map : among others you can see S. Maria, S. Antonio, one of the first patrons of Fratta,  S. Andrea and, in the center of the walls of Fratta, S. Giovanni.

IMG_5220 2.JPG

Fig. 1 and 2:  Map of the Diocese of Gubbio drawn by Don Ubaldo Giorgi in 1573 and Detail of Fratta. Photo provided by Fabrizio Cece from the Diocesian Archives.

piccolpasso Fratta intera1565.jpg

In the period between the middle of the sixteenth and the last years of the seventeenth century, the loss of much of the documentation of the municipal historical archive does not allow us to establish whether there have been particular changes in the institutions. The crucial year for the documentation is 1799: in fact, a large number of municipal papers were destroyed in a fire in the public square. Guerrini writes in his " History of the land of Fratta, now Umbertide ":  " when in 1799 a gang of wicked brigands with blind vandalism and fury burned in the public square, as an infamous holocaust at the foot of the tree of Liberty, all the books and papers of the Town Hall ". TO  starting from the mid-eighteenth century there is a  fatigue towards the assumption of public responsibilities and a progressive worsening of some problems, such as the training of the bussolo (to choose the various institutional figures) and the choice of officers. From that moment on were introduced norms and  new institutional figures that would allow the proper functioning of the government of the Community of Fratta. Thus it was from the point of view of the management of public offices  it continued with a certain organizational difficulty, until in 1787  Pius VI, in April 1785, with an appointment of the then governor general of Umbria, Monsignor Angelo Altieri, found in the Perugian lawyer Silvestro Bruschi, the judge commissioner and general visitor of the communities of the territory of Perugia including the Community of Fratta . On January 28, 1787 the general council of Fratta was held and they emerged, according to what they report  Sargentini Cristiana e  Santolamazza Rossella who edited the item Fratta / Umbertide on the SIUSA site, " conspicuous administrative irregularities to be ascribed to the admixture in the exercise of the functions assumed by the administrators, to which was added a heavy debt of Fratta towards Perugia. Two were therefore proposed. assistants on public affairs, the canon Don Emanuele Cantabrana and the layman Paolo Mazzaforti, as practitioners of the interests of the community; moreover, having found that the number of councilors was not fixed, Bruschi ordered that the entanglement be carried out in his presence. decree established that the presence of at least twenty-four councilors was essential, << possessors, of good morals, and capable >>, the same number, that is, of the individuals who made up the magistracy's compass, up to the maximum number of thirty with the honorary members; and that, for the session to be valid, at least two thirds of the councilors were required . Particular attention was paid to the drafting and conservation of public writings, in such a way that << each of the four priors is given his key to the public case, where in addition to the documents and original receipts of interest, the community is kept closed the great seal. custodial and all the others, except that of the letters to remain with the secretary, according to the usual >>; moreover, that << it is the responsibility of the magistrate to do it, that all the books are kept exactly from the secretary, and that he is always at par in the register of deeds >> ". Silvestro Bruschi concluded the minutes of the visit to the Fratta Community with an approval dated  September 16, 1787.

The era of the French and then Napoleonic Revolution was coming, even for a  an unimportant territory such as that of Fratta, changes arrived.  With the proclamation of the Roman Republic, on February 15, 1798, the innovative principles of French administrative policy entered the former papal territories by right. The constitutional charter, published on March 17, contemplates the classic tripartition between legislative power, entrusted to two chambers (Senate and Tribunate), judicial power, exercised by elected and irremovable judges, to the courts, executive power attributed to five consuls. Four ministries (justice and police, interior, finance, marine warfare and foreign affairs), the large police headquarters (national treasury) and large accounting (national computisteria) depend on this. The territory of the State is divided into eight departments: Metauro ( Ancona), the Musone (Macerata), the Tronto (Fermo), the Trasimeno (Perugia), the Clitunno (Spoleto), the Cimino (Viterbo), the Tiber (Rome), the Circeo (Anagni). In turn, the departments are divided into cantons, and within the latter, which constitute the smallest of the state circumscriptions, the ancient pontifical communities undergo an incisive process of homogenization, as only the centers with more than 10,000 inhabitants constitute their own municipality, governed by building blocks, while the others are grouped together until this minimum population threshold is reached.  Fratta thus became part of the  Trasimeno Department, based in Perugia,  as "Canton" with his own  consular prefect: Giuseppe Savelli.   The local company of the National Guard was also organized, with its own commander, the papal coat of arms was demolished and the municipality was given the name of municipality. But the Republic fell after 18 months with the surrender (29 September 1799) to the Neapolitan and Austrian armies.  Fratta thus returned again under the state of the Church.



-  Antonio Guerrini: History of the land of Fratta now Umbertide from its origins until the year 1845 (for Antonio Guerrini completed by Genesio Perugini) - Tip. Tiberina Umbertide, 1883

-Francesco Mavarelli: On the art of blacksmiths in the land of Fratta (Umbertide) - Memories and documents - Stab. Tipografico Tiberino, 1903

- Cipriano Piccolpasso, The plants and portraits of the cities and lands of Umbria submitted to the Government of the city of Perugia , edited by G. Cecchini, Publisher of the National Institute of Archeology and History of Art, Rome 1963.

- Bruno Porrozzi (edited by), Umbertide in the images. From the 1500s to the present day , Pro Loco Association  Umbertide, Rubini and Petruzzi Typolithography, Città di Castello, 1977.

- SIUSA (Unified Information System for Archival Superintendencies) on Umbertide




Photo: Fabrizio Cece

Photo: Francesco Deplanu

Photos: historical photos of Umbertide from the web and from various private archives  to which  we applied the " umbertidestoria " watermark  in this way we try to avoid that the further disclosure on our part favors purposes not consonant with our intentions exclusively  social and cultural.

Help us remember

Marc Bloch , Apology of history

« The story is there science of men over time "

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