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Santo Stefano di Sessanio Town: The History.



 


The history of Santo Stefano di Sessanio is linked with the Roman Age.
Its ancient name, "Sextantio" or "Sextantia" in fact indicated the distance (6 miles) between the small village of Santo Stefano and the bigger Roman "pagus"  of San Marco, situated in a valley between Castel del Monte and Rocca Calascio. Later, "Sextantio" became "Sessanio".
The name "Santo Stefano" comes from the ancient church of Saint Stephen which is the most important church in the town.

The first information about Santo Stefano di Sessanio have been dated back to 760 AC, when the town of Carapelle Calvisio and the lands around were donated to San Vincenzo al Volturno's Monastery by the Lombard King Desiderio.
With the end of the Roman Empire, the village was provided with fortifications to defend it against the barbarian invasions and bandits.

The name of Santo Stefano di Sessanio appears for the first time in an official document in 1308 AC.
Between XIII and XIV century, the famous Baronage of Carapelle Calvisio was created, a feudal dominion which included Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Rocca Calascio, Barisciano, San Pio delle Camere, Castelvecchio Calvisio and Castel del Monte. During this period, Santo Stefano di Sessanio became an important strategic point.

In 1474, the abolition of the sheep-breeding tax and the reorganization of the pastures in Apulia permitted the development of the famous transhumance. Every year, from Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Castel del Monte, Rocca Calascio, Castelvecchio Calvisio, many shepherds left to guide their herds to the Apulia's Tableland.

As the other burghs were part of the Baronage of Carapelle, Santo Stefano di Sessanio was also owned by the Tuscan Piccolominis family until 1579, when all of the Baronage was sold by the Duchess Costanza to Francesco I De Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
During the De Medicis' rule, Santo Stefano became a famous and important place for the wool production. Here, the famous "carfagna" wool was produced, which was sold by Florence in all the Europe as a high quality product.

The De Medicis owned the Baronage of Carapelle Calvisio and Santo Stefano di Sessanio until 1743.
After that date, the burgh became part of the Two Sicilies's Kingdom and a King of Naple's private property.
With the Unification of Italy, Santo Stefano di Sessanio became an independent town. But the privatization of the pastures in the Apulia's Tableland put an the end of the transhumance. This created poverty in the village and led to its depopulation.

Today, Santo Stefano di Sessanio is one of "The Most Beautiful Burghs in Italy". The renovation of the village and the creation of the "Albergo Diffuso Sextantio" (a luxurious boutique hotel) by the businessman Daniele Kilghren made Santo Stefano di Sessanio one the most famous Italian destination for the high budget tourists.
 




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