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Traveler's Companion for Map of Central Southern Italy that shows the Places named in the Family History of Giovanni VALENTE (1887-1969) and Nunziata DiRENZO (1897-1983), spouses of Gambatesa

This companion was written to be compared with the big map of central southern Italy.

Abbreviations used on this page:
AQ = Province of L'Aquila, Region of Abruzzo
AV = Province of Avellino, Region of Campania
BN = Province of Benevento, Region of Campania
CB = Province of Campobasso, Region of Molise
CE = Province of Caserta, Region of Campania
CH = Province of Chieti, Region of Abruzzo
FG = Province of Foggia, Region of Puglia

The altitudes given on this page are the height above sea level of the Casa comunale of the village or town.

Population numbers are from the Italian Censuses of 20 October 1991 and 21 October 2001.

Travel Companion for Documents for Valente and DiRenzo Family History

Map of central southern Italy showing Gambatesa, Rome and Naples, 2 KB Gambatesa on the map of Italy, 2 KB

To find Gambatesa (CB) (Gambatesa - its History and Art), Region of Molise, on the big map, begin in the upper right corner at Termoli and go south half the way to Benevento; or go two-thirds of the way from Foggia to Campobasso.

Related Page: List of the Valente and DiRenzo family's surnames and villages of origin.


Going West from Gambatesa. Riccia (CB) was the village of origin of Carlo CIOCCA, his wife Giovanna SCIANDRA, and their daughter Saveria (1747-1820), ancestors of Giovanni Valente. Nunziata Valente and her son-in-law Gennarino Macchiarola contributed a very modest amount to the fund for the Solemn Feast in Honor of Our Lady of Mt Carmel that was celebrated in Riccia 15-17 July 1972. (Population 1991: 6,176 ; 2001: 5,701)

Jelsi (CB) was the home of Nunziata DiRenzo's godmother Marianna BRICCA; Marianna was an orphan born in the Provincial Capital City of Campobasso in 1876. (Population 1991: 2,040 ; 2001: 1,917)

Gildone (CB) was the birthplace of Saverio FARINACCIO, remembered in Gambatesa for his violent death: he climbed an oak tree at the age of 52 and fell to his death in 1793; everyone else in this family's history seems to have died at home in bed. The other ancestors of Nunziata DiRenzo in Gildone were named DAMICO (d'AMICO), DELBALJO, and RITIRRO. (Population 1991: 962 ; 2001: 859)


To the Northwest of Gambatesa lies Pietracatella (CB), the village of origin of the CAMPOLIETI (CAMPOLIETO) and CONCA ancestors of Giovanni Valente. (Population 1991: 1,696 ; 2001: 1,600)


Jumping to the far Northwest corner of the map, Guardiagrele (CH) was the town of origin of Andrea PITETTI and his wife Giuditta ORLANDO; their family name was changed to PUDETTI by the registry clerks of Gambatesa. Their great-granddaughter Serafina PUDETTI married Donato Antonio VALENTE of Gambatesa on June 21, 1841 in Gambatesa's Church of San Bartolomeo Apostolo (St. Bartholomew the Apostle).

South of Guardiagrele, still in the Province of Chieti, lies the town of Fara San Martino, the home (sede e stabilimento) of the Fabbricante (manufacturer): Molino e Pastificio - F.lli De Cecco di Filippo - Fara S. Martino S.P.A. (Società per azioni, Company), maker of the DE CECCO spaghetti and macaroni (pastasciutta) often used by Nunziata DiRenzo in Camden, New Jersey. (Population 1991: 1,758 ; 2001: 1,626)

A little more to the Southwest, in the Province of L'Aquila, lies Sulmona (Population 1991: 25,454 ; 2001: 25,304). The city of Sulmo (Sulmona) was the birthplace of the poet Ovid in 43 B.C. His Remedia Amoris ("The Remedies for Love") contains quite useless practical advice such as: Is she lame? Get her to dance. Does she have an atrocious accent? Get her to talk at length. Does she have crooked teeth? Tell her funny stories. Visit her early in the morning.

A little to the West of Sulmona -- and off the map by a few miles -- lies the Piana del Fucino, the setting of Ignazio Silone's novels about life in the Region of Abruzzo under Fascism, Fontamara, Bread and Wine and The Seed Beneath the Snow.

The Maiella are the second highest mountain group of the Apennines, the mountain chain that runs down the spine of the Italian peninsula. The Maiella (or Majella) form about 20 miles of the border between Abruzzo's Provinces of L'Aquila and Chieti; their highest point, about 9,170 feet, is Monte Amaro. Guardiagrele, beyond the foot of the Maiella, is itself 1,890 feet above sea level.

Ignazio Silone also wrote a play about Pietro ANGELERIO, later to become Pope (r. 1294) Saint Peter Celestine. Saint Peter's birthplace was the town of Isernia in 1215, and just to the west of the Maiella Mountains lie the Morrone Mountains where St. Peter was an hermit monk (eremite) before being elected pope; Monte Morrone is 6,760 feet above sea level.

Besides PUDETTI (PITETTI), the other ancestors of Giovanni Valente in Guardiagrele were named IEZZI (IZZI), ORLANDO, and PANUMI. There are said to be Parish Registers for Guardiagrele that date back to 1325. (Population 1991: 10,120 ; 2001: 9,527)


To the East of Gambatesa, in the Region of Puglia, lies Volturino (FG), the village of origin of Ottavio SACCONE and his wife Rosanna BOZZA; their daughter Angela married Nicola Valente of Gambatesa in the Casa comunale of Volturino on the 26th of July 1811. The other ancestors of Giovanni Valente in Volturino were named dell'AQUILA. (Population 1991: 2,224 ; 2001: 1,992)


Going South from Gambatesa, there is Tufara (CB) (The Early History of Tufara), the village of origin of the ANDREOLA, BOCCAMAZZO, FERRUCCI, GARGETTA, PETRONE, di RENZO-2, SCOCCOLA, and RECCHIA ancestors of Giovanni Valente. (Population 1991: 1,256 ; 2001: 1,120)

Farther South, in the Region of Campania, Santa Croce del Sannio (BN) lies close to the town of Morcone (presso Morcone). It was the village of origin of the ALTIERI-1, CAPOZZI, di MARIA, and d'UVA ancestors of Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo, ancestors shared with their brother-in-law Giuseppantonio IACOVELLI, and with Donato Luciano ABIUSO. (Population 1991: 1,166 ; 2001: 1,067)


The Origin of the Valente in Gambatesa

Is "San Marco de' Goti" a misreading of "San Marco de' Cavoti"? (Was "Cav" mistaken for "G"?)

According to La Parrocchia di S. Bartolomeo in Gambatesa ("The Parish of Saint Bartholomew in Gambatesa") by Mons. Donato Venditti (Siena: 1957), the Valente family arrived in Gambatesa from S. Marco dei Goti in 1748.

Don Donato's book, however, does not state who exactly arrived at this time. Who would it have been? It would appear that the first Valente to live in Gambatesa were Domenico Valente (with his wife Barbara CONTE) and his children Pasquale and Anna, because in 1748 the children would have been about 12 years old, too young in ordinary circumstances to have migrated alone. This would also account for how it was that both the children married Gambatesans and both died in Gambatesa.

The church documents available through the State Archives of Campobasso record the parents of Pasquale and Anna as having been conjugi [della Terra] di San Marco [variations: S. Marco , Sammarco] de' Goti ("spouses of San Marco de' Goti"), which seems to suggest that they died in that place rather than in Gambatesa. That may not be the case, however. For example:

The church death record for Anna's husband Nunzio IACOVELLO (1726-1795) has marito di Anna Valente di San Marco de' Goti, but Anna Valente (1737-1797) died in Gambatesa. (Pasquale VALENTE's wife Ermenegilda IACOVELLI's death record, which is a civil rather than a church record, only records her husband's name.) In any case ...

Where was "San Marco de' Goti"?

San Marco dei Cavoti (BN) (formerly San Marco de' Cavoti) may be the "San Marco de' Goti" where Pasquale Valente (1736-1793) -- the Valente from whom all the Valente of Gambatesa are shown by the Civil Register of Gambatesa to be descended -- was born. Pasquale, a vetturale ("carter") by occupation, would have married Ermenegilda IACOVELLI (1736-1812) of Gambatesa -- the daughter of Francesco IACOVELLO (1690-1753) and Giovanna di TIRRO both of Gambatesa -- around 1760. Pasquale's sister Anna would have married Ermenegilda's brother Nunzio around the same year.

There are three reasons for the identification of "San Marco de' Goti" with San Marco dei Cavoti:

  1. The absence of any references to a "San Marco de' Goti" in reference books, both earlier and current;
  2. the presence of both the names VALENTE and CONTE (the family name of the mother of Pasquale) in the early Civil Registers of San Marco dei Cavoti; and
  3. the obvious similarity of the names and the possibility of a simple misreading of handwriting whereby "Cav" is mistaken for "G". Such redaction errors were common when all documents were handwritten (and knowledge of geography limited).

The conversion of the sound "c" to "g" by the local dialect would not have mattered if the priest was simply copying from other documents; however, if what he wrote was influenced by how people spoke, then the conversion of Cavoti to Gabot' may have been important.

Also, the suffix de' Goti was not unknown in southern Italy: there is a large (Population 2001: 11,558) comune named Sant'Agata de' Goti ("Saint Agatha of the Goths"; Goti is "Goths" in English) in the southwestern corner of the Province of Benevento (near the city of Caserta), as well as an ancient church in the city of Rome named Sant'Agata de' Goti (which was built by the non-Catholic Christian Goths in the 5th Century and a century later made a Roman Catholic church), which may have predisposed the priest to read or hear "Goti" rather than "Cavoti".

However, There are objections to this identification:

  1. The name "San Marco de' Goti" appears in three distinct documents. The first is the death record of Pasquale VALENTE, the second the death record of Pasquale's sister Anna VALENTE, and the third the death record of Anna's husband Nunzio IACOVELLO. However, all three documents are from the Parish Register of Gambatesa's San Bartolomeo Apostolo, and all three were originally made by Saverio GUGLIELMI, the then arciprete of that church.
  2. The nearness of San Marco dei Cavoti to Gambatesa, a distance of about 13 miles by air, makes a mis-identification unlikely. However, there are hundreds of comuni in the Provinces of Campobasso and Benevento, and there is no reason to suppose that the arciprete would have been familiar with all of them. (At the same time, the nearness of San Marco dei Cavoti may help explain why a vetturale -- Presumably Domenico had the same occupation as his son Pasquale -- from San Marco might have settled in Gambatesa, since his occupation could sometimes have taken him between the two villages.)
  3. There are five comuni whose names begin with San Marco in Italy. And there are 30 frazioni di comune in Italy whose names begin with San Marco, twenty-eight of which are known only by the name San Marco. (Nuovo dizionario dei comuni e frazione, 26a edizione, Roma: 1966) However, it would be strange for a document to name a frazione without also naming the comune that administered it.

Don Donato's book lists another surname as having come from S. Marco dei Goti, namely, the family name "Capoccia" in 1777. However, I have no record of this family name, and I do not recall ever having seen it in Gambatesa's civil registers or elsewhere.

[Population of San Marco dei Cavoti in 1991: 3,906 ; in 2001: 3,752. According to the telephone directory, there are still people named VALENTE living in San Marco, although no one named CONTE was listed when I last looked.]

From Lorenzo Giustiniani's Dizionario geografico ragionato del Regno di Napoli (1804):

San Marco de' Cavoti (de Cavotis), a land (terra) in Principato Ulteriore, in the diocese of Benevento, 18 miles distance from Montefuscolo.

It is situated in a place of good (healthy) air, and is populated by about 3,500 individuals. In the year 1532 it was taxed for 250 households (fuochi -- "fires", i.e. hearths), in 1545 for 303 households, in 1561 for 291, in 1595 for 285, in 1648 for 275, and in 1669 for 205.

Production consists of wheat, maize (Indian corn), legumes, wine, oil, and acorns. Besides agriculture, the inhabitants also practice the pasturing (of animals). They have commerce with other populations, to whom they sell the surplus of their goods (foodstuffs) and the products of their animals. There is some hunting of hares, foxes, and of more kinds of birds.

The terra has been owned by the Cavaniglia family, with the title of marquisate, since the 16th Century. [Italian text and full source, with further notes]

Map showing the part of the Diocese of Benevento that includes the parishes of Gambatesa and San Marco de' Cavoti [as well as the parishes of Santa Croce del Sannio ("Santa Croce presso Morcone"), Jelsi and Riccia]; from 1951.


Farther South, still in the Region of Campania, lies Roccabascerana (AV) (Early History of Roccabascerana), the village of origin of the PORCARO-1 ancestors of Nunziata DiRenzo. (Population 1991: 2,308 ; 2001: 2,333)


Jumping to the Southeast corner of the map, or actually off the map and past the corner by about 4 miles, lies the town of Avigliano, Province of Potenza, Region of Basilicata (Lucania), the birthplace described by Leonard Covello, author of The Heart is the Teacher. (Population 1991: 11,761 ; 2001: 12,025)


The seaport City of Naples is located in the Southwest corner of the map. It was the embarkation point for countless steamship passages to America (Actually they have been counted). Both Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo sailed from this port, the first to Philadelphia, the latter to Ellis Island, and both on the SS Ancona although two years apart; their voyages took 18 days and 14 days respectively (The distance from Naples to New York by sea I estimate to be about 3,800 miles). Nunziata DiRenzo's father, mother, and brothers and sisters also left the village of Gambatesa, Italy, for the City of Camden, America, from the Port of Naples. (Population 1991: 1,067,365 ; 2001: 1,004,500)

SANMARCO DE'CAVOTI (de Cavotis) terra in Principato ulteriore, in diocesi di Benevento, distante da Montefuscolo miglia 18. E' situata in luogo di buon'aria, ed è popolata da circa 3500 individui. Nel 1532 fu tassata per fuochi 250, nel 1545 per 303, nel 1561 per 291, nel 1595 per 285, nel 1648 per 275, e nel 1669 per 205. Le produzioni consistono in grano, granone, legumi, vino, olio, ghiande. Gli abitati oltre dell'agricoltura, esercitano puranche la pastorizia. Han commercio con altre popolazioni, alle quali vendono il sopravanzo delle loro derrate, ed i prodotti de'loro animali. Vi è della caccia di lepri, volpi, e di più specie di pennuti. E' stata posseduta dalla famiglia Cavaniglia con titolo di marchesato fin dal secolo XVI.

Source: Lorenzo Giustiniani, Dizionario geografico ragionato del Regno di Napoli (Annotated Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Naples), vol. VIII (Napoli: 1804), p. 188. No "San Marco de' Goti" is listed in this book.

Photocopy courtesy of the Biblioteca Universitario (University Library) of Naples, Italy (October 1997).

No "San Marco de' Goti" is listed in the Elenco alfabetico delle province, distretti, circondari, comuni e villaggi del regno delle due Sicilie (Alphabetical Directory of the Provinces, Districts, Administrative Divisions, Townships and Villages of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies), a cura di (edited by) Gabriello De Sanctis (Napoli: 1854).

This 1854 directory places "S. Marco de' Cavoti" in the Province of Principato Ulteriore, distretto of Ariano, circondario of San Giorgio La Molara, diocese of Benevento.

In the State Archive of Naples are also Catasti onciari (Land Registers), volumes 4865-4869 for the year 1745, that may be searched for information about families in San Marco de' Cavoti and their property.

Information courtesy of the Archivio di Stato di Napoli (The State Archive of the Province of Naples) (November 1997).

The State Archive in Campobasso was also unable to find a comune named "San Marco de' Goti", and suggested, because of its nearness to Gambatesa, the Comune of San Marco dei Cavoti instead (November 1997). The University Library of Naples, on the other hand, stated only that more information was needed in order to determine the place to which "San Marco de' Goti" referred. Enquires sent to the church of San Marco Evangelista in San Marco dei Cavoti (March 1996) and to the Touring Club Italiano in Milan (April 1997) went unanswered. [BACK]

Note: for the year 1781, Mons. Venditti lists the surname Pudetti as being from "Guardia Greca". However, there does not seem to be a place of that name. The Pudetti who were the ancestors of Giovanni Valente, however, were from Guardiagrele. It would not seem difficult to mistake "le" for "ca", especially since there are places and churches with "greca" in their names. "Greca" would, therefore, be another possible example of a redaction error in the family registrations. [BACK]

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/valmappa.html
Last revised: 5 March 2007 : 2007-03-05 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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