Fes­tiv­i­ties in Torre del Greco

The cel­e­bra­tions at Torre del Greco pay trib­ute to the Ba­ro­nial Ran­som of 1699

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Torre del Greco cel­e­brates the Ba­ro­nial Ran­som of 1699, an event that al­lowed the in­hab­i­tants of Torre del Greco to re­gain their free­dom from despotic ba­ro­nial rule by pay­ing a ‘ran­som’ in ducats. Since then, their lib­er­a­tion has been solemnly com­mem­o­rated in the name of the city’s cul­ture and his­tory. In 1453, at the be­hest of Queen Joanna II of Angiò Du­razzo, Torre del Greco, Her­cu­la­neum, Por­tici and San Gior­gio a Cre­mano were part of a sin­gle fief­dom, con­sti­tut­ing the so-called ‘barony of Castel­la­nia’. The fief­dom later came un­der the rule of the Carafa fam­ily, sub­se­quently be­ing taken over in 1500 by the Court of Naples. In 1698, it came un­der the rule of the Mar­quis of Mon­te­forte, Marco Lof­fredo un­til, one year later, in 1699, despotic ba­ro­nial rule fi­nally ended. To re­gain their free­dom, the in­hab­i­tants of the fief­dom paid a ran­som of 104,983 ducats for the land, 54,450 of which were paid by Torre del Greco. The fol­low­ing year, to com­mem­o­rate the happy event, the peo­ple of Torre del Greco erected four al­tars as a sign of thanks and, from that time on­wards, the city has cel­e­brated the ‘Feast of the Four Al­tars and the Ba­ro­nial Ran­som’. This year, Torre del Greco has once again or­ga­nized a rich events cal­en­dar to cel­e­brate the oc­ca­sion. Mu­sic, prose, ex­hi­bi­tions, sem­i­nars and tast­ings will com­bine to of­fer vis­i­tors a one-of-akind experience com­pris­ing art, cul­ture, per­for­mances and high-qual­ity gas­tron­omy in a bid to pro­mote lo­cal spe­cial­i­ties and the land­mark at­trac­tions of Torre del Greco. While strolling through the streets of the city, vis­i­tors will have a chance to see a historic re-en­act­ment of the event with a cos­tumed pro­ces­sion and themed tast­ings based on recipes dat­ing back to the 18th cen­tury. The event will cul­mi­nate with a per­for­mance in which actors, dancers, ac­ro­bats and singers re-en­act the his­tory of the barony of Castel­la­nia, its an­cient splen­dour and its sub­se­quent fall, of­fer­ing vis­i­tors in-depth in­sight into the cos­tumes and cus­toms of the pe­riod. An important op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote the culi­nary tra­di­tions of the Ve­su­vian area by learn­ing about its lo­cal enogas­tro­nomic spe­cial­i­ties as a fac­tor of its cul­ture and lo­cal devel­op­ment, an event tar­geted at cre­at­ing a link with Expo 2015, the global ex­hi­bi­tion which, for six months, fo­cused on food and nu­tri­tion. Torre del Greco’s Expo will show­case the area’s culi­nary spe­cial­i­ties in­clud­ing Pi­en­nolo toma­toes, apri­cots, honey, pine nuts, cher­ries and the grapes grown on the slopes of the vol­cano, all prod­ucts that owe their fer­til­ity to the min­eral rich soil of Mount Vesuvius, the God and the devil of this area.

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