Home | Valente and DiRenzo Family History - From Our Correspondent in Geneva (Angelo Abiuso)
Via della Madonna, Gambatesa
To the right in the photograph below is the ancient path down to the Chapel of Our Lady of Victory, which is at the valley bottom, hidden by the trees [See the map below]. The ridge on the far side of the valley is Toppo della Salandra.
Tufo ("sandstone") is not pure; there are rocks in it. Where it is exposed, the rain creates ruts in it; walking adds to this erosion. In the photograph, this is the old path down to the chapel from Via Serrone: the rocks on either side emerged when the tufo was worn down by the rain and by people walking on it. (The road to the left is new, but Angelo thinks it is too steep for ordinary cars to travel on.)
Via della Madonna leads down to Colle della Madonna ("Madonna Pass") where the Chapel of Our Lady of Victory is. This pass was historically an invasion route from Puglia into central southern Italy, but it was a route that was easy to defend, because the valley is narrow and the hills on either side are by comparison very high.
If the trees, which are the result of modern reforestation, are removed from this picture, the difficulty for an invading army becomes clear: a path that offers no protection from ambushes from either side. The end of Via Serrone, which is the northwestern tip of the village of Gambatesa, where Via della Madonna begins, is at a height of 422 meters [1,385 feet]. This plunges down into a valley which is at its lowest point 235 meters [771 feet], following which rises the 364 meters [1,194] high Toppo della Salandra. Just to the southwest of Toppo della Salandra is the fortress farmhouse (casa fortificata) of the Masseria Venditti which is positioned to defend the other side of the valley.
Photograph by Angelo Abiuso, 19 July 2006, 8 AM. [Map source]
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Last revised: 2 October 2006 : 2006-10-02 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo
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