and Events - April 2015
Crowd Turns Out for Montedoro
the film made its World Premiere at the Atlanta
Film Festival and was greeted with a warm
turnout . Film maker Antonello Faretta and a
dedicated team from Noeltan Film Studio, enjoyed
the attention given to the movie.
Lena Camperlengo, a Craco Society Director
serving as the host, opened the event with a
heartfelt introduction saying, “It started with
a dream. Montedoro called to a hermit; some say
he was a monk. This man came to live on the
hillside to escape the wars and conflicts of men
below and devote his attention to spiritual
matters. It started with a mother's heartbroken
choice to send her daughter to America for a
future she could not provide in the hillside
town. But Craco called the daughter home. It
started with a water leak. In a water system
meant to improve the lives of the people of
Craco. Instead, it undermined the geology and
caused a landslide. The town now sits abandoned.
The landslide swept away half the town and its
cultural heritage. It started with 5 curious
amateur genealogists eager to reclaim their
families' heritage. Forming the Craco Society
they have grown into more than 400 sons and
daughters of Craco scattered around the world.
It started with a dream. A vision held by
Antonello, Adriana and Pia to tell the story of
a place that continues to call us home.”
Faretta and Society member Pia Marie Mann, who
is the star, were hosted at a promotional event
after the showing by The Craco Society using
grant funds awarded by the Basilicata Regional
Authority. The Society was also the sponsoring
host at the Premiere.
The film addresses a question about identity and
roots that Faretta portrays by drawing on the
story of Pia Marie Mann, who was born in Craco
and adopted as a four year old by a family in
New York. She returned 59 years later to find
her birth mother. Using that story as the
background, Faretta adds the effort by Craco’s
community to reconstruct its identity and his
own questions about his identity.
The Society assisted in the production by
providing historic material and photographs that
appear in the film and sponsoring the Atlanta
Cracotan Turnout — Shown above are scenes from
the after show party hosted by Craco Society
Director Lena Camperlengo (center) along with
Antonello Faretta and Adriana Bruno from Noeltan
Films. Pia Mann with her sister, Linda Totino,
and mother share ideas about Montedoro. Far
right, Antonello Faretta, Pia Boffilo Mann and
Adriana Bruno are interviewed at the premiere.
New Craco Census Records
The Society’s efforts to obtain additional census
records were rewarded with the location of the 1859
After contacting l’Archivio di Stato di Potenza
regarding material it might hold about Craco,
arrangements were made for Pasquale Ragone and Enzo
Lavaia to travel to Potenza from Craco and obtain
copies of the documents.
As they were accessing the material they encountered
a new map of Craco (see pg. 4).
They also obtained a full copy of the 1859 Craco
Census. This new piece of information adds a
dimension to our understanding of the town.
Prior to this material the Society had two census
documents, a full copy of the 1857 Census and a copy
of the 1865 Index to the census which only listed
names without individual data.
The new census material is being evaluated and
compared to the other records. But it is already
revealing some information.
The 1857 census was certified by the Mayor Francesco
Cammarota, parish priest, Giovanni Spera, and
Councilor Luciano Laurenzano on 30 June 1858, while
the 1859 census was certified 15 July 1861 by
Cammarota, Laurenzano and the new parish priest,
The two documents also show changes in the
Men 594 to 589
Women 769 to 789
Boys (under 14) 252 to 273
Girls (under 12) 228 to 235
Total 1,843 to 1,886
The 1859 Census also has a summary page indicating
the population in the prior year was 1,867
individuals with 100 births, 70 deaths and 11
leaving the town producing the gain of 19 people
over the prior year.
The summary breaks down the changes as follows:
Births legitimate males — 52
Births legitimate females — 43
Births illegitimate males — 2
Births illegitimate females — 3
Deaths males — 37
Deaths females — 33
The 1869 Census document was recorded on the same
leger format as the prior census. This will allow
for a comparative analysis that will identify
changes in households.
Although the 1859 Census has not be indexed yet we
can locate families based on the 1857 Index. Any
member interested in details from the new census can
contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Society is greatly appreciative of the work done
by Pasquale and Enzo on our behalf; we are in their
debt for the assistance they provided. The material
they found will be invaluable.
New Craco Map — The map shown above was located by
Pasquale Ragone and Enzo Lavaia during research they
conducted for the Society at the Regional Archives
in Potenza. The map shows the town boundaries and
buildings but does not identify specific pieces of
property other than the Casa Municipale (town
offices). It shows three sections of the town,
Castello, Piazza, and Frazione Unica. The legend at
the right side provides the boundaries of each
section. The legend provides the locations of the 18
named streets in the Castello section and 24 streets
in the Piazza section. There are five other named
streets that complete the listing. Unfortunately,
there isn’t a date showing so at this point we are
not sure of the era it represents. Subsequent
evaluation and comparison to other maps will provide
more understanding to this wonderful piece of
The 115 year old banner from the mutual aid society
formed by the Crachesi arrivals in New York in 1899
has undergone professional preservation and
The Societá San Vincenzo Martire di Craco was
organized by Vincenzo Camperlengo, Gaetano Cantasano,
Pasquale Marrese, Nicola Torraca, Carlo DeCesare,
Giuseppe Rinaldi and Antonio DiSisto to help the
Crachese community and also served as the social
organization that sponsored and supported Cracotan
traditions including the celebration of the feast of
San Vincenzo in Manhattan.
The banner is attributed to Pasquale Marrese who
operated a tailoring business at 53 Spring St.,
Manhattan. The elaborate needlework shown on the
flag is representative of the skills the Marrese
family brought with them from Craco. Interestingly,
the type of stitchery ’was consistent with making
military uniforms and as we learned Pasquale and his
son Vincenzo served in the Italian Army. The banner
is 52 inches high with a 2 inch fringe on both sides
and is 70 inches wide with a 2 inch fringe on one
The white and red fabric is silk and rayon, with a
cotton interlining, the green is pure silk. (It is
this area that a separation was noticed in the 2014
display of the banner during the San Vincenzo Feast
that triggered the preservation effort.) The ties
and the fringe are cotton and rayon while the blue
and red fabrics used in the front and rear crest are
pure silk. There is also metallic thread used in the
crest embroidery. The front crest contains a blue
(that was associated with San Vincenzo) field on
which is embroidered a goblet with the Greek symbols
Chi and Rho, a monogram for Christ. A sword and palm
sheaf representative of San Vincenzo’s martyrdom are
crossed behind the goblet and the letters S, V, M
are around it representing the initials for him. At
the bottom of this crest is the stemma of Craco, a
forearm and hand holding three sheaves of wheat.
Arched over the crest are letters in metallic thread
spelling out Societá S. Vincenzo Martire,
while under it are, Di Craco 1900.
The rear of the banner has the crest of the Lesser
Coat of Arms of the House of Savoy , the rulers of
Italy in 1900. The crown above the shield is
embroidered with metallic thread. The red shield,
made of silk with brown paper underlining. Below the
crest is an Annunciation scene in a small image.
The conservation assessment determined that although
in overall good condition the parts made of silk
show deterioration and breaks. The Savoy crest on
the rear was deemed “badly shattered” due to it
being glued to the brown paper underling. The green
silk in the banner also exhibited multiple splits
and there was a 5 inch break where the 4th ribbon
tie is located. The ribbon ties are also fraying and
torn from repeated working over the years.
The preservation work cleaned and flattened the
banner, repaired the 5 inch tear, and stabilized the
red silk on the rear medallion. The banner was then
packed in a 30 inch wide archival box with the front
medallion showing. A Mylar sheet was placed over the
banner so the box lid can be removed for viewing
while still maintaining protection.
The Society’s efforts to obtain additional
information about the history of Craco may have been
enhanced with the location of the Rigirone Archives
(see March 2015 Newsletter).
The inventory of items in the archive that relate to
Craco and appear to have potential for us are:
1868 Regulations to Police
1870 Regulations for the Savings and Loans of
1882 Note of Workers' Mutual Aid
1860 correspondence for to the collection of
voluntary donations by landowners residing in Craco
supporting the insurrectionary troops
1864-1872 correspondence relating to threats and
violence against Archimedes Rigirone as mayor of
Craco from attacks by bandits.
1865-1890 correspondence relating to the delivery
to the Comune of Craco for the premises, goods, and
furnishings of the abolished Monastery of Minor
1866 Contract with Vincent Sarubbi, mason, and the
Comune of Craco for the construction of the
Motions and proposals submitted by Archimedes
Rigirone during the various sessions of the Council
List of robbers arrested and those killed."
Essays, transcripts, and reports of local history.
"Crachese words and sayings.”
Archimedes Rigirone, works: introduction to
Origin of Craco and its history.
1949 Report on the Church of San Vincenzo in Craco
for its recognition as a National Monument.
1954 Special note regarding the landslide area of
Photocopy of subscription of protest against the
policy of persuasion to abandon the town of Craco.
1967 "Wandering in the history of Craco." This is
a history of Craco in episodes that appeared in the
church bulletin "La Stella" released by the parish
of San Nicola.
Letters to Crachesi who emigrated to America about
the collection of money among citizens abroad for
the restoration of the monastery of San Vincenzo in
This material has the potential to provide a rich
picture of Craco that has been lost for decades. We
are exploring access to the archive that is
currently in Ferrandina and hope to be able to
obtain copies of these items.
here to view
A Year in Craco. Events in Craco for
every month are listed. Thank you to Joe Rinaldi
in Canada for his contribution to this page.
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