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