The origin of ESANATOGLIA is not known, but it is likely that it comes from a Roman alley called Esa. There stood a temple devoted to Celestial Jupiter, which seems to have been replaced by the parish church of S. Anatolia, martyr of the 3rd century.
The absence of other structures and organizations in the early period of the Middle Ages makes the parish churches a point of reference for the population, since they were the seat of baptismal fonts and remained the only administrative reference with a recognized authority. Therefore, the parishes also became poles of aggregation for the realization of settlements. In the case of Esanatoglia, they also seem to have determined the village’s name.
After the Lombard invasion between the 9th and 10th century, several Lombard Counts had settled in the area. This gave rise to the phenomena of fortification near the Pieve area, the the realization of new monasteries and the donations to pre-existing ones. These phenomena spread and stabilized over the course of the 11th and 12th century.
The establishment of the monastery of San Michele Arcangelo “infra hostia” by Countess Berta degli Amezoni and Count Attone degli Attoni dates back to 1015. Over time, the structure received many other donations, including one in 1180 from the Count of Malcavalca di Albertino, who donated half of the Pieve di Santa Anatolia to the same monastery.
The Malcavalcas, lords of Fiuminata, had assumed a dominant role over the territory of Esanatoglia, which in the meantime had developed a lot. In fact, documents show the presence of a fortified nucleus and a mill near the parish church, probably built by the small feudal lords who owned the surrounding territory.
The first mention of the “castrum Sancte Anatholie” dates back to 1040, together with a series of monasteries. Besides San Michele, which remains the most important religious structure in the area, there are also the monasteries of SS. Cosma and Damiano di Fonte Bono, S. Maria Maddalena delle Benedettine and the Hermitage of San Lorenzo in Laverete.
In 1198, Pope Innocent III granted a privilege to the monastery of S. Angelo with the attribution of various rights and taxes on about 40 churches.
At the end of the 12th century, the different domains established in the territory of Esanatoglia began to organize themselves by forming municipalities, giving up properties and rights. However this did not determine a loss of power, but rather its differentiation and institutionalization. In fact, the “castrum” was governed by an association of “domains” with secular power, while San Michele became the center of religious power and the Pieve just a simple parish.
In 1203, Pope Innocent III sent a bull to Fabriano and Esanatoglia to ask for help for the people in Matelica against Camerino. The bull was addressed to the Podestà and to the people of Santa Anatolia, certifying the full affirmation of the Municipality. Due to its position, Santa Anatolia was disputed between two of the most powerful municipalities, Fabriano and Matelica. In 1211, they stipulated a pact to sanction a partition, and the Municipality seemed to fall under the influence of the Ottoni lords of Matelica, but in 1214, after an agreement between Fabriano and Camerino, the “castrum Sancte Anatholie” passed under the protection of Camerino, dominated by the Varanos. This passage was sanctioned with the 1240 edict of Cardinal Sinibaldo Fieschi, in which Santa Anatolia is among the properties attributed to Camerino.
During the 13th century, the “castrum” expanded from the northern part of the Pieve area towards the South, in the area called Burgo, where the monasteries of Santa Maria Maddalena and S. Agostino and the church of S. Andrea stood. The “domains” then built their residences there and settled in.
The dominion of Camerino was possible thanks to appointment of the Podestà, who came from this village. The statutes of Camerino also reaffirm this obligation. The subjugation of the Municipality brought periods of conflict, which also included the will of dominion of the Municipality of Matelica.
During the 13th and 14th century, Santa Anatolia followed the course of events of Camerino, supporting the wars in which this Municipality was involved and suffering attacks from its enemies.
During the 14th century, the urban and institutional structure of Santa Anatolia were defined. The castle was divided into 4 districts, each of them surrounded by walls which occupied the current surface of the historic center. The districts were:
– the Parish church district coinciding with the area of the ancient “castrum”;
– the Mezzo district;
– the San Martino district that stretched from the church to the Borgo gate;
– the S. Andrea district.
The center consisted of the “Castrum”, it was the seat of political and administrative power, where the wealthiest citizens lived and the center of religious life.
The territory outside the walls was divided into 15 Gualdarie. The leader of these areas was a Gualdario, elected by lot among the heads of the family. He could be in office for 6 months and was re-eligible only after everyone had done their turn.
In addition to the “castrum”, the defensive structure included a fortress located at the foot of Mount Consegno, in the hamlet called Sassillo. The fortress was presided by guards led by the squire of Cassero (Castellano del Cassero), a man from Camerino. There were also other fortresses placed on the access roads.
Among the main buildings can be found the Municipal Palace, the Podestà Palace and the Varano Palace.
Esanatoglia’s dependence on Camerino became ever stronger through the appointment of Podestà Varano, but it was also sanctioned by the compilation of the municipal statutes issued in 1324. The statutes were drawn up by 7 statutes by the hand of the notary Andrea di Giovanni at the time of the Podestà Giovanni di Mastro Salimbene di Camerino, followed by a subsequent redaction in 1344, and printed in Camerino in 1552.
Compared to Camerino, Esanatoglia was “Recommended land”, a status that guaranteed relative autonomy behind the annual payment of 150 gold florins, except for the appointment of the Podestà, who exercised justice. This act was only reserved for the dominant Municipality. Relations with Camerino were regulated through regulations which stated obligations and privileges for the populations of the 2 Municipalities.
Stability guaranteed a certain economic and demographic development, so much so that eight guilds of arts and crafts could be found in the statutes: “notaries, judges (literati layci); merchants (mercatores), calzolarii (shoemakers), fabri (smiths), magistri lignorum (carpenters), muratores et pretaioli (builders), vasarii (potters), beccarii cum sartoribus (tailors)”.
The guilds elected their own leaders who had the right to be part of the councils, even though agriculture remained the predominant activity. While they developed the “popular” social class, the guilds could never be able to assume a dominant role such as to determine the transition to Popular municipality, although the obligation to register with the guilds in order to access the offices was in force.
This situation determined an irregular position for Esanatoglia in the panorama of municipal structures, halfway between a urban municipality with differentiated activities and social stratification, and a rural municipality where agricultural activity was prevalent.
However, the artisanal and commercial activities had their own development, especially in the sectors of ceramics and leather, and later at the end of the 15th century also of paper processing.
The demographic expansion established the birth of 2 new villages: S. Caterina and San Rocco.
This flourishing period was interrupted in 1433 by the attacks of Francesco Sforza, who had the town and the territory runsacked with the support of the people from Matelica.
After 10 years, Santa Anatolia returned under Camerino and will maintain its dominion until the devolution of the Duchy to the Papal State in 1545.
Although no longer dependent on the Duchy, the link with Camerino still persists, especially since Santa Anatolia still pertains to the diocese of Camerino.
Enjoy a tour to discover the seven bell towers of the village and visit “Lu Roccone” (the Rocca del Castrum), an ancient watchtower and fortification from the 13th century.
Enjoy the “Frostingo”, a dessert with a traditional flavor! Do you prefer savory food? Local specialties are pork rinds with beans, legume soups, saffron and tagliatelle with shrimp sauce.
The wonderful reproductions of the ancient Renaissance ceramics of Santa Anatolia will make you witness the skills of the hands of the village’s artisans with just a glance.
Walk the Le Vene nature trail, the Esatrail trails with a trekking or a mountain bike, indulge in free flight by paragliding and hang gliding from Mount Gemmo‘s Tre Pizzi (Three Peaks).
It is one of Italy’s ancient tracks. Located between two cliffs, the track is characterized by uphills and downhills and counter-slope curves. A treat for cross enthusiasts!
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