History

Zavattarello - Breve cronologia


Highlights

  • 3rd-4th cent. b.C. First archaeological evidences on the hill of the castle of Zavattarello.
  • 929 a.D. The monks of Bobbio stop in St. Paul church during their route to bring St. Columba's remains to Pavia.
  • end of 10th cent. The monastery of Bobbio builds the Castle of Zavattarello.
  • 1169 The town of Piacenza conquers the castle.
    Fights for the control of the fortress begin between Landi and Scotti.
  • 1209 Emperor Otto IV gives Zavattarello to the bishop of Bobbio.
  • 1264 The feud of Zavattarello is in the hands of Ubertino Landi, excommunicated war lord, who fortifies the castle, making it unassailable. In the following years, with his raids he becomes the terror of the land, but thanks to his power begins the aggregation of the borough.
  • 1327 Manfredo Landi is the new lord of the castle, thanks to Lodovico il Bavaro.
  • 1358 The treaty of Zavattarello is signed: Gian Galeazzo Visconti meets in the castle of Zavattarello the Beccaria and Landi families to stipulate a coalition against Pavia. The domain of the Landi family on Oltrepò Pavese increases.
  • 1390 The bishop of Bobbio (regained possession of Zavattarello in 1385) gives the castle to the soldier of fortune Jacopo dal Verme, donation that is confirmed in 1391 by pope Boniface IX. This is the beginning of the long Dal Verme domination.
  • 1485 Pietro dal Verme is poisoned: Lodovico il Moro takes possession of Zavattarello and gives it to the Sanseverino.
  • 1525 After the battle of Pavia, the Dal Verme family regains definitive possession of Zavattarello.
  • 1817 Zavattarello, formerly under the Diocese of Bobbio, is now under the Diocese of Tortona.
  • 1923 Zavattarello is now in the province of Piacenza: after the march on Bobbio in 1924, the following year the town comes back to the province of Pavia
  • 1944 During the Second World War, the Nazis set fire to the castle, causing great damage.
  • 1975 The Dal Verme family donates the castle and its hill to the citizenship of Zavattarello.
  • 1978 The Town Hall begins the restoration of the fortress.
  • 1999 The Dal Verme Castle opens to the public.
  • 2003 The Contemporary Art Museum of the Castle was born.

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The history of Zavattarello

The legend tells that Zavattarello was refuge for a group of Roman soldiers who escaped from the battle of the Trebbia river, won by Hannibal in 218 b.C. The exhistence of a village in that period is confirmed by the finding of a Roman cemetery. But more ancient archaeological finds suggest that this place was populated centuries before the Roman period. From the late Roman Empire to the Middle ages, Zavattarello was inhabited by several shoemakers: the name of Zavattarello comes from the local word for this job, similar to the current "zavaltée", derived from the late Latin "savatta".
The importance of Zavattarello in the Early Middle Ages, mainly regarding religion, is testified by an episode happened in 929. Durinf their route to bring St. Columba's remains to Pavia, the monks of Bobbio stopped for one night in St. Paul church. It seems that this church is really ancient, and that is stands on the remains of a pagan temple dedicated to Saturn: from this place of pagan worship comes the name of the town that was used up to the end of the Early Middle Ages: "Sarturanum".
At the end of the 10th century the monastery of Bobbio began to build here a fortress. This area was conquered by the town of Piacenza in 1169.
In 1209, for decision of Emperor Otto IV, Zavattarello became again property of the Bishop of Bobbio. Since 1169, there has been a long war to obtain Zavattarello between two parties: the first was guided by the Landi family, the second by the Scotti family. At the end, the Landi family conquered Zavattarello, keeping this feud until the Visconti period.
Ubertino Landi was one of the most famous lords of Zavattarello, and you can listen to several legends about him: he defended the castle from a lot of attacks and fighted during bloody battles. But when he was too old to fight, he decided to give his properties to the Scotti party.
The rising of the Visconti family was the beginning of the Dal Verme family fortunes: in 1390 the Bishop of Bobbio donated Zavattarello to Jacopo Dal Verme from Verona, famous soldier of fortune and founder of famous war school. He was the first of his family to have properties in Oltrepò Pavese.
In 1485 Lodovico il Moro ordered to kill Pietro Dal Verme, who didn't have sons: therefore, Lodovico became lord of Zavattarello and gave it to Galeazzo Sanseverino, Earl of Caiazzo. In 1499 Lodovico il Moro escaped from Milan while the French soldiers guided from Gian Giacomo Trivulzio were coming: Lodovico went to Germany with Sanseverino. Bernardino della Corte, who kept the castle of Milan, surrended to French army, so he obtained Zavattarello and other Dal Verme properties. The Dal Verme heirs continued to claim their rights, until 1512, when Bernardino died and they were able to regain Zavattarello. But Galeazzo Sanseverino turned to the French side, so in 1520 obtained Zavattarello again from Francis I. Fights between Sanseverino and the Dal Verme family ended when he died during the battle of Pavia in 1525: from that moment, the Dal Verme family returned the uncontested owner of the feud.
In 1817, formerly under the Diocese of Bobbio, became part of the Diocese of Tortona. In 1923, with Bobbio, became part of the province of Piacenza. But the inhabitants protested with a march on Bobbio in december 1924, so the following year the governement decided that Zavattarello could came back to the province of Pavia.
With the Second World War, Zavattarello became one of the main was theatres in Oltrepò Pavese, therefore the Nazis set fire to the castle on 23rd november 1944 as a demonstration of power to be seen by all the Partisans.
In 1975 the sons and wife of Giuseppe Dal Verme signed the donation of the castle to the citizenship of Zavattarello. The Town Hall began then the restoration of the fortress, that is now a tourist and cultural attraction open to the public.