Monte di Procida: war stories and love legends in the scenario of the Phlegraean Fields

by Sara Baron

Surely one of the most evocative and touristically important places in Campania, Monte di Procida has a centuries-long history, tracing its origins back to the third millennium BC., years in which the Indo-European peoples merged with the various families of Greek origin that gradually arrived on the Campania coasts, giving life to the neo Italian civilization, the basis of the economic, social and civil development not only of the neighboring areas, in particular of Cuma, but also of Rome itself, which took an example from them for its own legislation and economy.

Monte di Procida: stories of war and legends of love in the scenario of Campi Flegrei
Monte di Procida, Acquamorta

Historical notes on the birth of the municipality of Monte di Procida

The historical importance of Miseno and its Mount can be traced back to when a Roman colony, following the defeat against the Etruscans, Carthaginians and Samnites, settled in these places.

Right from this moment, many Roman events cross the history of what will become, in a later time, what we now know today as Monte di Procida.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, in fact, Miseno and Procida were legally united in the form of a county of the Duchy of Naples, which took the name of Castrum. Even this denomination has its own intrinsic peculiarity: it demonstrates, in fact, that the city and Monte became a single protected entity supported by external towers.

Still, the county's fortune was short-lived. The continuous barbarian invasions in fact reduced, during the Middle Ages, any possibility of expansion of Cuma, Miseno and also of the neighboring Bacoli and Pozzuoli, leading to a real destruction of these lands. The inhabitants of Miseno, literally evicted from their homeland, took refuge in the most disparate places. Few remained within the walls of Monte, most preferred to move, and a very favorite point of support was the nearby Procida island, to which Monte was also linked administratively until 1907.

From the new light to the present day

In the fourteenth century, however, a slow and gradual economic and social recovery began in the areas of Cuma, Baia, Miseno and therefore di Monte, thanks to an increasingly frequent influx of families from the islands to the mainland. Practically, what happened was a real return that increased the population density and therefore guaranteed the rebirth of these areas that were now imprisoned under Procida.

The Puteolan debt collectors and administrators were the profiteers, who tried in various ways to subject Monte and Miseno to their dependencies.

Battles followed, more or less legitimate claims and long disputes both internally and with external peoples, up to the ever more desired autonomy, followed by the Bourbon restoration.

From the name of "Mount Miseno“, Maintained throughout the course of the Middle Ages, the January 27, 1907, Monte was recognized as an autonomous municipality with the name of "Monte di Procida", However renouncing the denomination of"New Cuma“, As, instead, its inhabitants would have wanted.

Monte di Procida: stories of war and legends of love in the scenario of Campi Flegrei
View from Monte di Procida

Legendary excursions: the Acquamorta marina

Could a place like this exempt itself from having peculiar stories related to its name?

One of these is the legend of the Marina di Acquamorta, the Phlegraean port overlooking Procida. Indeed, it was from this point that the flows to and from Monte and the islands, fundamental for the formation of the territory, passed. The name of this place, so strange and curious, probably derives from the almost absence of currents inside the settlement.

Yet, this explanation does not suit what is a little secret, jealously guarded by the inhabitants, which however has become a story of enchanting beauty. The name Aqua Dead, according to this popular legend, it would therefore have been coined by Waterfall, daughter of a commoner who one day, drowning in the waters, was saved by a young fisherman from Procida, Joshua.
From that moment on, the two embarked on a long, passionate love affair. In fact, the young woman went to the beach every day, always at the same time, awaiting the passage of her beloved, even if only for a simple greeting.

Unfortunately, one morning there was no trace of Joshua. And so for several days, until Acqua decided to dive into the sea to look for him. From those waves, however, the young woman never returned there.

Thus was born from the memory of a beautiful love story, the marina of Acquamorta.

Culture and traditions

To conclude, it is easy to think how the culture and traditions of the municipality of Monte di Procida are strongly linked both to those of the neighboring Neapolitan areas and, above all, to those of the island from which it derives, namely Procida.
The patron saint of the place is theAssunta, a festival strongly felt by its inhabitants and celebrated, always with a certain, important solemnity, the August 15th. In fact, the names of almost all the churches present derive from the patron saint.

Site of the Municipality of Monte di Procida

Bibliography

Luigi Picone, "Bacoli and Monte di Procida", Massa Editore, 2009

Michele Parascandolo, Procida from its origins to our times, L. de Martini and son, 2013

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