Poggio Sannita, Province of Isernia, Molise

Rising on a hill south-west of the Verrino river, it is divided from Abruzzo through the Sente river. The municipality was originally called Caccavone from the ancient name of the copper container used for milk ("caccavo"); then in 1922 the name was changed into Poggio Sannita by the municipal administration since by then the old name had taken an unpleasing connection.


  • Altitude: 705 m a.s.l
  • Territory: hilly
  • Population: about 630 inhabitants in 2018
  • Zip/postal code: 86086
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0865
  • Patron Saint: St. Prospero
  • Frazioni & Localities: Carapellese, Castel di Croce, Cooper Sant'Elia, Macchiabovino, Mucchi, Quarto I, Quarto II, Rimanci, San Cataldo, Scalzavacca, Scuola, Scuordo, Sente, Valle del Porco, Vuttaro.

History - Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Archeological findings on the hills of the area show that there were settlements of shepherds belonging to the Caraceni people, having as their center the Sanctuary of Bovianum Vetus (Pietrabbondante). In Roman times the area was colonized with military camps and villas.

When, after the fall of the Roman empire, the Saracens invaded Molise in 860 AD, the local populations took refuge on a rock called Castello, which was the original nucleus of the present center. On the nearby hill of San Cataldo there was probably a monastery of the same name, in honor of a Lombard saint of the 7th century, whose feast is still held on 17 august.

The name Caccavone is first mentioned in the 8th century when it was given to Count Randoisio. In 1070 among the crusaders to the Holy Land there is a Raul de Petra, lord of Caccavone. Then under the Angevin rule the fiefdom was given to Carlo I Caracciolo Carrafa, and his descendants kept it until 1515.

History - Modern Times/h4>
In 1515 the fief was sold to Salvitto di Carfagna from Capracotta, who in his turn sold it again to Alfonso de Raho, the noblest of the lords of Caccavone. His family kept the fiefdom until 1633, when they sold it to Baron Santo de Santis. The last lords, the Petra family, ruled the place until 1806 when king of Naples Joachim-Napoléon Murat abolished the feudal rights.

A son of emigrants from Poggio Sannita is Nino Ricci, one of the main Italian Canadian writers of our times, author of novel "Lives of the Saints" (1990), the first volume of a trilogy continued in "In a Glass House" (1993), and "Where she has gone" (1997), telling the story of a young boy, Vittorio Innocente, an emigrant to Canada, his painful integration process and his final return to Molise.

What to see

  • The Petra Palace, built at the end of 15th century, today seat of the public Library and a congress room among the best in the province, hosting also a permanent photo exhibition on the past and present life of the center
  • The church of Santa Vittoria, rebuilt after the terrible earthquake of 1720 on the previous Christian temple, probably existing in very ancient times, since Santa Vittoria was deeply venerated in the 5th and 6th century AD in Marsica and Abruzzo Citra. In 1743 the precious relic of San Prospero, now the patron of Poggio Sannita, was presented to the church. Noteworthy also the fine organ built by the local D’Onofrio family and the many paintings and statues.

Events and Festivities

  • 3 June: Santa Lucia with a procession and blessing of vehicles (Santa Lucia, protector of eyesight, is also patron saint of motorists)
  • August 17: San Cataldo
  • August 21: San Prospero, Patron saint
  • Second sunday in October, grapes festival
  • 25 March, Annunciation of the Lord, when a pilgrimage used to be held by young boys passing throogh thorn bushes to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie as a protection against hernia.

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Provinces of Molise
Molise region
Surnames in the Provinces of Molise