Sant'Anastasia, a name derived from an error

by Anna Barone

Sant'Anastasia is a large municipality of the province of Naples which extends to the slopes of Monte Somma, has a population of about 28,000 inhabitants and is characterized by an important commercial activity but above all artisanal and agricultural (due to the extremely fertile land). In fact, as early as 1600 the fruit traders in Naples were shouting: "Ca 'tutto cierto is sapurito and bbuono, masseme' sti cerase cuovete mo 'in Somma and Santo Anastase". Also well known and appreciated are the kids of Sant'Anastasia which are raised in the numerous farms.

Sant'Anastasia, un nome derivato da un errore
Panorama of Sant 'Anastasia

The millennial history of Sant'Anastasia

The first documents date back to 73 BC, when Spartacus with 70 other men fleeing from gladiatorial school of Capua, took refuge on Vesuvius passing precisely through these lands, strategically connected. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the Borgo Santo Anastiago it was affected by infighting between the Byzantines and barbarians, and then passed under the aegis ofhe Duchy of Naples and then of Benevento. From some sources it appears that around the year 1000 the town was no longer called "Santo Nastiago", but "Sant'Anastasia"Therefore the name is not due to the homonymous saint but to transcription errors by notaries and jurists of the time, so the accentuation of the pronunciation falls on the "i", becoming "Sant'Anastasìa".

When in the 13th century took over from Naples the Angevins, the Vesuvian area was greatly valued and experienced an important one economical progress: roads and rudimentary infrastructures were thus built which modified the urban layout of the vast area, facilitating commercial exchanges.

The April 6, 1450, on Easter Monday, an extraordinary event takes place that brought the Sant'Anastasia farmhouse into vogue: the painting depicting a Madonna holding the Baby Jesus, he began to bleed after a boy accidentally hit him with a ball. It was a prodigy that certainly did not go unnoticed: thousands of faithful went there on pilgrimage to admire with devotion and ask for thanks, inaugurating the rite of "Fujenti" o "Vattienti" which persists unchanged to this day.

It was on that occasion that the Sanctuary of Madonna dell'Arco, intended for the Dominican fathers who did not agree to pay taxes to the Municipality and this greatly exacerbated relations with the administration. On that occasion another happened prodigious event: a religious of the convent, while he was praying, he saw stars shine around his battered cheek of the picture of the Madonna. All the other religious rushed and noted what had happened which was recognized as a further miracle.

Sant'Anastasia, un nome derivato da un errore
Sanctuary of Madonna dell'Arco

Even in National Museum of San Martino (to Napoils) two paintings by Gaetano Gigante are preserved: "Pilgrimage to Madonna dell'Arco" and nothing less than the Louvre there is the "Return of the pilgrimage from the Madonna dell'Arco" by Louis Leopold Robert.

In the nineteenth century, in order not to pay taxes to the Italian state, Sant 'Anastasia autonomously declared himself a "closed municipality" and this caused not a few disturbances and favored a deplorable condition of abandonment. Then followed various governments that found themselves facing various problems and misunderstandings, linked to an increasingly pressing economic development that Sant'Anastasia was hardly pursuing.

L' April 11, 1975 it was a devastating day for Sant'Anastasia: a terrible explosion destroyed the Flobert, a factory that produced toy gun bullets and fireworks, in which they lost their lives 12 workers.

Below is a beautiful excerpt of a popular song which describes all the horror and brutality of what happened, with the bleak and crude denunciation of the exploitation in the workplace.

'A Flobert or "Sant'Anastasia"

Friday 11th April
in Sant'Anastasia
suddenly a noise
I heard, and what a fear
I was going out to work
not even the strength to walk
and on the street I ask
this blow that will be
The Roman Masseria
a factory has broken out
people running away
and another that was crying
Who went and who returned
for fear of other outbursts
arrived in front of the gate
Madonna, and what a slaughter!
I wanted to go inside
I felt like I was going to faint
there was a head on the ground
who was without a body ...
... Who goes to toil
even death must face
we die one by one
because of these masters ...

('e Zezi; free translation by Girolamo De Simone)

An important tradition: the goat festival

Sant 'Anastasia is widely renowned for the quality of the meat that is produced there, and in particular the kid for which, every year, the link with this product is celebrated with a festival where there is no shortage of shows, folkloristic and musical events.

Sant'Anastasia, un nome derivato da un errore

Sant 'Anastasia: starting point for a beautiful trekking route that leads to Monte Somma

The itinerary starts from the Olivella road that leads to the springs of the same name. The presence of spring waters is a particularly rare event in the Park territory; due to the permeable nature of the volcanic rocks, in fact, the precipitations directly reach the aquifers, without originating sources.

Sant'Anastasia, un nome derivato da un errore
Vesuvian apricots

The recommended route starts from the center of Sant'Anastasia and continues uphill through the most uncontaminated vegetation, rich in orchards and vineyards, where the apricots and the grapes more succulent. The fatigue of the journey that climbs up dirt roads is largely compensated by the exclusive view!

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