Mirabello Sannitico

Coat of arms of Mirabello Sannitico

Mirabello Sannitico is by origin a medieval village in Molise located on a hill full of olive trees overlooking the valley of the Tappino river and dominated by the nearby La Rocca mountain (1,000 meters high) and Monteverde (941 meters high). From these mountains arise the springs that feed the Campobasso aqueduct.

From its name, it can be deduced how the origins of Mirabello Sannitico are linked to the ancient proud and courageous people of the Samnites and in the territory there are remains of pre-Roman polygonal walls.

Perhaps the name derives from a battle during the Roman period called "Mirum bellum" and then with the conquest of Rome social and commercial life moved to the valleys at the communication routes. It is when the great Roman villas were born, that we can define as large organised agricultural farms.

The medieval village on the heights was born after the fall of the Roman Empire and the arrival of the Lombards in 571 and who gave birth to the Duchy of Benevento. In this period fortresses were built on the heights where the population could find refuge and the first lords were foreigners probably from Bulgaria.

The castle and its village were then reinforced to face the arrival of the Saracens and the population moved within the walls and the fiefdom was ruled by the Norman rulers who created the Molise County.

However, the development of the area was due to the efforts of the Benedictine monks who settled in the ruins of the ancient Samnite city, created a monastery, and a mill and restarted teaching cultivation of the fields.

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As a result of confiscation of property by Frederick II of Swabia, we know that the churches of Mirabello were very rich and this indicates a certain local autonomy.
With the arrival of the Anjou family at the end of the thirteenth century, all the power of the local lords was reduced and the county of Molise was split up.

For several centuries there were local wars or disputes over the control of some parts of the territory, especially between the lords of Mirabello and those of Ferrazzano.

But the real upheavals always came with terrible earthquakes starting from that of 1456 which changed the socio-economic situation. A series of families followed one another in command of the fiefdom for short periods without leaving indelible traces.
In 1638, once again the rivalry broke out with Ferrazzano and a civil war started over the possession and use of the mills on the river Tappino.

A new earthquake in 1688 totally destroyed the town as can be understood from the reports made by the mayor of the time.

After a prosperous period with the Frangipane family during the second half of the eighteenth century, in 1805 a new earthquake disrupted this area of Molise so that King Ferdinand IV sent his inspectors. They found a devastated territory with the inhabitants and the baron forced to live in huts in the countryside.

The current churches have therefore been rebuilt in the 19th century style and do not have the medieval spirit that characterized them. After the unification of Italy, the story of Mirabello Sannitico is one of a large emigration especially to the United States (Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York) and to Canada after the Second World War.

The patron is San Giorgio (St George) and his feast day is on April 23 that, in the past, coincided with a large cattle fair and which has always been the occasion of a special festival that lasts a week during which on April 16 and 22 there are traditional bonfires and on April 23 there are two processions.

Legend has it that San Giorgio arrived on a white horse to save the inhabitants of Mirabello during a battle against invading enemies.

A real curiosity is the fact that every time the inhabitants have tried to move the ancient statue, misfortunes have occurred and such that only the reliquary was carried in procession and since 1998 a modern statue of the saint.

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