img_coa = Stemma_di_Larino.png
official_name = Comune di Larino
province = Campobasso (CB)
elevation_m = 341
area_total_km2 = 88
December 31, 2004
population_total = 7230
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|41|48|N|14|55|E|display=inline,title
telephone = 0874
postalcode = 86035
gentilic = Larinesi
saint = San Pardo and San Primiano
website = [http://www.comune.larino.cb.it www.comune.larino.cb.it]
Latin: Larinum, Campobassan dialect: Larìn) is a town and commune of approximately 7,000 inhabitants in the Italian Region of Molise, province of Campobasso. It is located in the fertile valley of the Biferno.
The old town, seen from the mountains, is shaped like a bird's wing. The new town, called Piano San Leonardo, is built on a mountainside. The new area is expensive, with large houses and new construction.
The city of Larino has been continuously inhabited for millennia. Originally settled by the
Samniteand Frentanitribes of Southern Italy, the city came under the control of the Oscan civilization. In 217 BC, the Romans defeated Hannibalhere, and it was later incorporated into the Roman Empire, where it was classified as a "municipium", and added to the "Secunda Regio" (Apulia).
Larinum was well known to the great figures of the ancient world. Certainly it was a familiar community to Caesar, who wrote of the district in his work, The Civil War. When Caesar and Pompey the Great were antagonists for power in Rome Pompey is said to have joined two of his legions who were encamped in Larino. Earlier the consul Claudius marched through Larinum on his way to attack the Carthaginian, Hasdrubal. The city's name appears in the works of the ancient historians Livy and Pliny.
The modern city was built in 1300, after the old one, c. 1.5 km away, was destroyed in an earthquake after having repeatedly sacked by the
Saracens. The old Roman city of Larinum, from which Larino grew, was situated along the main road to the South-East, which started on the coast in Histonium (Vasto), and ran from Larinum eastward to Sipontum. The main road also branched off at Larinum into a secondary road to Bovianum Vetus.
In 1656, a plague nearly wiped out the city; thousands died. The 373 survivors were prepared to abandon the settlement, but through the vigorous efforts of then Bishop Giuseppe Catalano, they were convinced to stay, and the city grew and thrived once again.
The city gave birth to three saints: Primiano, Firmiano, and Casto, although the city’s patron and most celebrated saint is San Pardo, a native of Greece. Cluentius, a client of Cicero, who delivered a speech in his favour, was also born in Larinum. A transcript of the trial, "
Pro Cluentio", gives a revealing image of life in Larino six decades before the birth of Christ. Caesar wrote about the city in his account of the Social Wars, and Alexandre Dumas, pèredescribed the festival of San Pardo so vividly in his novel "La San-Felice" that he must have seen it during his travels to Italy. The Australian novelist, Colleen McCullough mentions Larino frequently in her works dealing with Marius, Sulla, Caesar, and Pompey.
World War IIthe radio reported that Larino had been totally destroyed in a bombardment. While it was true that the Allies and the Germans were in the vicinity of the town, hostility was avoided and the town was preserved.Ci so nato io.
, as well as its austere interior, which houses great treasures such as the silver bust of Saint Pardo.
The cathedral was built in the early 1300's in a wave of gothic ecclesiastical contsruction to celebrate the arrival and domination of the Angevin dynasty. The Angevins were a French noble family who wrested control of this part of Italy from the heirs of Frederick II who had the blood of earlier Norman and German conquerors. The cathedral in Larino is unsual in the sophistication of its structure. It was likely built, in part, by architects and engineers brought in from the French court. At that time there was a tradition of using "spoila", remnants of classical buildings, and it is likely that the structure used cut stone from the classical city which existed in the area of what is now called Piano San Leonardo.
Other churches in the city include:
*"Santa Maria della Pietà"
The Galuppi Tower (1312), across from the Cathedral, has been strengthened by large square metallic plates. The tower, which was part of the old town's defenses, was the bell tower of a now abandoned convent. The entire structure was built on the command of Pope Clement V at the very beginning of the fourteenth century when the Angevin dynasty ruled this part of Italy.
The old "Palazzo Ducale" (Ducal Palace), probably originated as a Norman castle, which has relinquished its function as town hall to a jail. The palace is now repainted as it was decades ago. The exterior walls are alternating panels of whitish grey and charcoal black. The upper levels, surrounding the stone windows are a combination of pink and cream. The top level, overlooking what used to be a large terrace, is faced in sunflower yellow. Later the building became Albergo Moderno (the Modern Hotel). That, too, is now abandoned.
Larino include a notable ancient Roman archeological site containing an
amphitheaterand forum belonging to the ancient site of "Larinum".
The city has many fairs and festivals, notably those of San Primiano and of San Pardo. These include parties and religious processions. Traditional recipes of the town include "Pigna Larinese" ("A pinj a Larnès", a type of cake) and "
tarallicon l'uovo "("i tarall che l'ov", egg taralli). It also has its own cultivar of olive, known as the "Gentile di Larino", which is highly prized for its oil.
The city faced a large exodus during the 1950-60s due to the extreme poverty of the Molise region, and there is a large community of Larinesi living abroad, as well as their first- and second-generation descendants. Immigrants from Larino to
Montrealbuilt a church in Little Italycalled "Chiesa della Madonna della Difesa".
After the recent earthquakes in the Molise, old Larino is being reborn. Citizens whose houses had been damaged by the quake could apply for public funding. As a result scores of houses and public buildings are being restored to their former beauty.
On Via Cluenzo (named after the young man defended by the orator, Cicero) features a number of beautifully restored private homes. The exterior walls, all approved by the town, are in light blues, creams, and ochres.
Recently, more and more expatriates have begun returning to Larino to purchase vacation homes. Termoli (dialect: "Térml"), a resort town on the Adriatic, is only 15 minutes away via a near-trafficless autoroute.
In the summer a series of festivals is held. May 25-27 of each year is dedicated to the Festival of San Pardo ("A Fešt'e San Pàrd"). In 2005, there were over 110 carts festooned with hand-made flowers. Each wagon is pulled by two white oxen. A procession moves from the historic centre and the cathedral to the cemetery and the old church which dates from the earliest days of the Christian era. It is at once a religious event, a historic event, and a family celebration. Each cart belongs to a particular family, and the cart's position in the procession is a sign of social standing. The entire event is choreographed with great precision.
* [http://domino.comune.larino.cb.it/comuni/larino.nsf Comune Larino]
* [http://xoomer.virgilio.it/larinoweb Larino Online]
* [http://www.comune.larino.cb.it/ Larino Web]
* [http://www.giovannirinaldi.it/page/tradition/larino Festival of San Pardo photo gallery]
* [http://vicoduomo.googlepages.com/ Larino The Miracle of the Molise]
* [http://comunelarino.blogspot.com/ URP Larino]
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