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Of Brides'
Kits and Dowries

This webpage reproduces part of

Curiosità storiche trevane

by
Tommaso Valenti

Published by F. Campitelli,
Foligno, 1922

The Italian text is in the public domain;
this translation is © William P. Thayer 2016.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Three
Ravaged Churches
 

 p65  The Tower of Matigge

[ from La Torre di Trevi, Year I No. 10, May 1, 1898 ]

About halfway between Foligno and Trevi, on the east side of the Via Flaminia, is situated this interesting monument that thrusts itself on the attention of passers‑by: for us and others as well it tells a tale of frightful deeds, of fearsome aggressions, and of murders committed near it.

We find many interesting traces of this tale in our Archive delle Tre Chiavi. On September 28, 1392 a certain Angelo Del Medico proposed to the Council that in order to defend against evildoers, who roamed around here day and night, doing all kinds of damage, a huge moat should be built on the slopes of the mountain, with a well built Tower, and that three good and legal men (tres bonos et legales homines) be put in charge, with full powers. And indeed on December 29 of that same year Manente di Petruccio,  p66 Ser Angelo del Medico, and Ser Andrea di Ser Nuccino were named to that end.

Hands were not set to the work immediately, however, and the Council therefore insisted that haste be made. To facilitate the work, on November 1, 1393 Del Medico was given the right to levy a sort of forced loan (imponere prestantiam) on the inhabitants of Matigge, it being agreed that the amount would be applied to the payment of their future taxes (in successivis dativis).

A start was made toward preparing the required materials, but by the end of 1394 the work had not yet commenced: December 18 of that year finds the Council once again urging the Commission to think seriously about building the Tower.

Finally, on January 10, 1395 the contract was drawn up with the stonemason Gregorio of Cerreto, who had already built the Tower at Fabbri, obligating him to certain stipulations and conditions, with a fine of a hundred pounds cash for non‑performance. The work, however, proceeded in a desultory fashion and maybe none too well, since on September 13, 1935 the Council once again recommended that construction be speeded up and that the work be choice and handsome and measuring as agreed upon.

Shortly afterward the Tower was finished and a guardian was put in it. It may have been for his convenience that  p67 within the Tower itself there was a cistern, an oven, and a mill, maybe wind-operated; and on the top of the Tower a 300‑pound bell was installed to be used to call for help if needed: one man per household was to run to it, under penalty of one Fiorino each time.

The entrance to the Tower was hidden under the road, and inside the Tower itself there was an armory with weapons and munitions. The top of the Tower was provided around with merlons, three feet high, constructed in 1427 by Giovanni Paluzzi. One climbed to the top by a wooden staircase, which would be rebuilt several times.

At the foot of the Tower was a huge defensive moat spanned by bridges. It had been dug by requiring the people of Matigge to send one worker per household to do it.

But all these precautions were not enough to make the Tower impregnable. Among other occasions, the tower was assaulted on July 3, 1488 by Franceschino Cybo and his people, who was pillaging and looting our territory.

Here is how Mugnoni tells it: "In 1488, on July 3, Messer Franceschino the son of Pope Innocent VIII1 came  p68 with many squads of men-at‑arms; twice they came to Trevi and sacked it, and once to the Tower of Matiggia where they took [away?] barley and spelt."

It is not clear from this whether the barley and spelt were taken by them from the Tower, where they may have been stored for greater safety; or whether on the contrary the looters deposited there the grain they had looted.

It was as a result of this incident that the Commune decided to fortify the Tower further, causing the ravelin that had been made there on three sides in 1486, to be continued and completed by a circuit of ten pertiche and 65 feet, spending on it 28 Fiorini, 8 Bolognini, and 27 denari. The enlargement of the ravelin ordered in 1489 cost 60 Fiorini.

In 1539 it was decided to build near the Tower a tile-roofed shed to shelter the men who guarded the Tower.  p69 But this new building was demolished in 1601 to enable its tiles to be used in the roof of the Tower, which had been damaged by bad weather.

In our "Riformanze" we find many provisions made for the maintenance and repair of this little fortress: an obvious indication that in those days its usefulness was undeniable. I will dispense, however, with citing or quoting the many documents that students of our history will easily find in the Archive delle Tre Chiavi. The Tower is still in fairly good condition. I do not believe, however, that the interior can be accessed without a ladder, since the old passageway under the road has remained buried.

On the west side of the Tower, the side facing onto the Via Flaminia, some coats of arms may be seen, and among them those of Trevi, of Perugia and of the Cybo family are rather well preserved.


The Author's Note:

1 Innocent VIII — Giovanni Battista Cybo — had lived a few years as a young man in Naples at the Court of Alfonso I of Aragon. "But having had of a gentlewoman two little children named Francesco and Teodorina, who were said to have been born legitimate, and the mother having died rather soon, he was for that reason obliged to depart that city . . ." — Thus Platina in Historia delle vite dei Sommi Pontefici.


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