Home | Valente and DiRenzo Family History - From Our Correspondent in Geneva - Salandra Ridge and the Venditti Farm
« Toppo della Salandra » and the « Masseria Venditti »
Toppo della Salandra ("Salandra Ridge", altitude 364 m. = 1,194 ft.) lies at 9 o'clock on the old military map showing some of the territory of Gambatesa. The photograph below shows Toppo della Salandra as seen from the southwest. In front of Salandra is the large farmhouse (or, casino in dialect) of the Masseria Venditti ("Venditti Farm").
The "Salandra Ridge" belongs to the agricultural land of Gambatesa and with the village itself lies along what was once a single ridge beginning with Toppo della Vipera. In the valley to the right of the farmhouse lies the Chapel of Our Lady of Victory, hidden by the trees, and so to the far right would be the end of the village of Gambatesa itself, the northwestern end of Via Serrone from which an old path leads down to the Chapel.
« Casino Venditti » ("Venditti Farmhouse")
Angelo does not think that the Casino Venditti was a simple farmhouse; he thinks it was a maison fortifiée, "fortified house" (as in "fortress", or casa fortificata in Italian). Rather than a farm, it was more like a garrison house -- especially important because of its proximity to Via Appulo-Sannitica which for centuries was the only road in the area. (Even today that road is, as seen in this photograph, a primitive looking structure, not much of a road at all as by switch-back it winds its way through the territory of Gambatesa; yet this ancient route was for many centuries -- indeed until after WW2 -- the only road between the provincial capital cities of Foggia to the south and Campobasso to the north.
The natural route north from the Province of Puglia to Molise would be the ancient tratturo ("sheep migration track") which lies along the Tappino fondo valle. But in the winter-spring the tratturo became a malarial swamp or marsh because of snow and rain, forcing travelers -- and invaders -- to follow a route to the south of the Vipera and Salandra Ridges, the route of Via Appulo-Sannitica.
The narrow valleys on either side of Toppo della Salandra show that the Casino Venditti was a good place to prepare an ambush. On the old military map at 9 o'clock there is a point marked K.262 just south of the Mass.ª Venditti; just to the right of this K.262 the altitude 207 marks the bridge over the Torrente Fezzano ("Fezzano River"). This bridge was a strategic point; for example, the German Army blew it up in WW2 to delay the Canadian Army's advance from the south.
Photograph by Angelo Abiuso (Geneva), August 2004.
The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/venditti.html
Last revised: 19 October 2005 : 2005-10-19 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo
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