A crafty man as a Saracen, with the figure of a
Norman prince, the joy of the art of an
ancient Greek, gentleman of life as a Spaniard, and correct and strong
as a Roman. It all adds up to: "the true Pisciottano".
Paraphrasing a known motto, we
perhaps succeed in delineating the historical "figure" of the pisciottano.
The historical data that follows will confirm it. The first hypotheses on the origins and history of Pisciotta, are
connected to the destruction of Troy (650 A.C.).
In 650 A.C. the Trojans, escaped from the fire and the destruction of
their city, landed on the ionic beach, where they founded Sires. The
inhabitants of the city later advanced toward the West, following the vast
valley of the Sinni river, up to the lake and to the Sirino mountain (from
which they took the name), near the today's Lagonegro, where they founded
the city of Siruci (today Seluce, fraction of Lauria).
From here they went to the Tyrrhenian Sea, on the beach of the today’s
Gulf of Policastro. Here they founded the colony of Pixous. Proof of this,
is a rare series of ancient coins, in archaic characters, with the names
coined of Sirinos and Pixoes, referring respectively, to the populations of
the two cities of Sires and Pixous. Why the name Pixous? The name "Pixous", from the root "PYX", derives from the boxwood (buxus
semprevivens), bush always green of the buxacees (symbol of youth and
strength, courage, perennial thought and work; the boxwood adorns the coat
of arms of Pisciotta city hall). A curiosity: the hedges of the Quirinale
gardens in Rome are made of boxwood. The names of Pixous, Pixo, Pixunte,
Buxentum and Bissento, derive from the Greek and Latin etymology.
In the year 194 A.C. the Greek pixous became the Roman Buxentum and in
915, when this center is plundered and burnt by the Saracens of Agropoli,
has already changed the Latin name in actual Policastro. It is the year 915
to mark the birth of Pisciotta. The inhabitants of Bussento, after the
Saracens of Agropoli attacked, ransacked and burned to the ground their
village, tried to escape in the mountains and on the surrounding high
Many went beyond the promontory of Palinuro, where they founded a small
village that they called Pixoctum, in memory of their lost country that
means small Pixous. From Pixoctum over the years the name changed to Pixocta,
Pissocta and finally Pisciotta. Nothing we know about the first years of
life of the new suburb and only in the XII century, under William II, we
find for the first time the toponimo Pissocta, owned as a feud by Niello,
one of their citizens.
We find the name of Pisciotta in one of the oldest documents, the
“Catalogus Baronum” written in the year 1144. The year 1464 marks for the
country a very important development, when the survivors of Molpa, following
the destruction of their village, were sheltered in Pisciotta. Up to August
2nd 1806, when Joseph Napoleone king of Naples decreed the end of the “feudalità”,
the history of Pisciotta is an endless enumeration of feudal passages from a
"Owner" to the other.
The Caracciolos (1270), the Sanseverinos (in 400), the Pappacodas (1590),
they are some of the families (among the most powerful of the kingdom) to
have owned it. One of the many ownership passages: Pisciotta purchased in
1554 by Mr. Sancho Martinez de Leyna, general of the regal navy, for 17.000
dukedoms, was resold in 1578 to Mr. Camillo Pignatelli for 30.000 dukedoms.
To be mentioned two priests who became bishops: Luigi Pappacoda of
Pisciotta, named Bishop of Capaccio in 1635 (that among all things, decided
to remain in Pisciotta instead of moving to Capaccio and to build the
beautiful church of St. Peter, the Cathedral) and Giovanbattista de Bellis
of Rodio, Bishop of Telese.
In the year
1708, with 2163 inhabitants, it is among the most populated and important
village south of Salerno. In the year 1806 the French and Borboni went to
war and started a time of instability. The war between French and Spaniards,
the revolutions of the Cilento and the epic Garibaldina (in which, for
independence and liberty, took part the best men of Pisciotta) are the great events of the History
of Pisciotta. The Cenotaph of Palinuro, the Castle, the sighting towers, the
Church of St. Peter, the Palaces, are some testimonies of the past that
survived up to our time.
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