This article reads more like a story than an encyclopedia entry.January 2018)(
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Comune di Amato|
|• Total||20.93 km2 (8.08 sq mi)|
|Elevation||480 m (1,570 ft)|
|• Density||39/km2 (100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Patron saint||Francis of Paola|
|Saint day||2 April|
Amato is one of the oldest towns in Calabria. It is mentioned by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who calls it "Portus Amati Fluminis" (harbour of the Amato River). It is also mentioned by the Roman Pliny the Elder in one of his books. He calls it "Sinus Lametinus" (Lametino Harbour).
It appears that the people of Amato originated from the ancient city of Lametia, on the promontory of the Gulf of Saint Euphemia, near the mouth of the Amato River. It was one of the most thriving cities of old Calabria, which at that time was called Brettium sometimes referred to as Bruttium.
From an English publication entitled "Brief History of Amato", we learn that Amato existed many years before the foundation of Rome. From this book we also learn that at that time Amato was very industrious and had a population of about 20,000 people. Its economy was centered around the very important textile industry, with about 1300 looms at work. In fact even up to a few years ago many Amatese women had a loom and many of them were very capable weavers. Production of the silkworm was also a very popular activity.
That primeval but progressive town was destroyed by floods. Many of its inhabitants perished, others relocated to other cities like Sant'Eufemia, Nicastro, Sambiase, Bella, etc. Few families relocated to the hills of the plateau of the Amato River where they built a new town, but kept the same name.
These people settled on the hills of: Piano di Amato, Lachi, Cutro, Amendola and Andressi. This entire area was later called UMBRI and even today it is known by the same name. UMBRI in Latin means "saved from the floods". And it was here that these people built the new Amato. Remains of two old churches San 'Nicola and Sant' Andrea and of a castle nearby are proof of the existence of Amato at this location. Also, during some excavation work a golden cross and golden chalice were found. Later on, two workers PIETRO PINGITORE and FRANCESCO ROMEO (both presently residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) found in this same area some very old coins. Unfortunately all these were misplaced by the public authority before experts had an opportunity to study them.
The entire Mediterranean basin suffered from attacks by pirates at this time, and Amato was not spared. There was the risk of malaria, a factor that affected the entire Italian peninsula. Tuscany was the hardest hit (see map. Malaria existed far inland through the Veneto area, reaching the Italian Alps, around and beyond Lake Garda. The inhabitants of this new town, alas, did not have an easy time at their new location, but they did not give up. They just moved to higher grounds to the present location. Amato is located to the north of the Catanzaro Isthmus at an altitude of 480 metres above sea level, between the gulfs of Sant'Eufemia and Squillace. This new town appears to have been built during the Middle Ages when the Normans came to the Amato Plains. In fact, thanks to the Normans the Amato Plains were fortified against pirate attacks. They built castles at Nicastro, Maida, Feroleto, Lamezia Terme and one also at Amato. Some of these Norman castles still exist today. Their names are often preceded by the word rocca from the Latin 'rock', which means fortification. Some examples are Rocca di Neto, Rocca Imperiale, Roccaraso, to name a few.
First inhabitants (1000–800 B.C.)
The Italias were the first established people of Calabria. Later came the BRETTI from Lucania. These occupied Calabria and called it BRUZIO. The Bruzi were very advanced culturally. They dedicated themselves to agriculture and to the raising of domestic animals. Later they started handicrafts and industries; promoted commerce and developed the exchange of their products with nearby people.
Greeks (800–300 B.C.)
Between the 8th and 7th century B.C. the Greeks occupied the shores of Calabria. Their first colonies soon became very wealthy and thriving by limiting their activities to the exchange of manufactured goods for agricultural products. Later they occupied all of southern Italy and monopolized the entire commerce of the region. Thanks to the Greeks, Calabria became a very industrious and productive region. It was part of "MAGNA GRECIA".
During the war between the Romans and Pyrrhus, the Bruzi fought beside the army of Taranto against the Romans. The Romans defeated Pyrrhus, occupied Taranto and all other cities of Calabria, including Amato. We do however know that Amato at that time was located at a very strategic location in the Gulf of Sant'Eufemia and therefore could have played a very important role. After his defeat in the second Punic War, Hannibal hid from the Romans in the mountains of Calabria, until he escaped back to Carthage.
After the accord of Melfi, Pope Niccolo II gave to the Normans the government of Calabria and Puglia. The Normans were very democratic and enterprising. We owe to them the creation of the Abbey of Sant' Eufemia Lamezia, the construction of the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Dipodi, the fortification of the Amato Plains and the introduction of the sugar cane. Under Norman rule the Amato Plains enjoyed peace and prosperity. Under their rule Pope Callistro II personally visited all the towns of the Amato Plains. During this visit he inaugurated the Sanctuary of Dipodi, consecrated the Cathedral of Nicastro, the Church of Mileto and then he went to Catanzaro to consecrate the Church Maggiore.
After the Normans - Feudalism
From the 1st half of the 1400, the history of Amato begins to be better documented. At that time the territory of Amato was given to the feudatory Francesco Rodio of Catanzaro by Alfonso I, King of Naples. Then it was transferred to Prince Marcantonio of Loffredo. In 1635 it was given to Donato A. Mottola by the King of Spain. Donato A. Mottola was given the title of "MARQUIS of Amato". After his death the Amatese territory was inherited by his son ORAZIO MOTTOLA who was also Baron of Joppolo, Coccorino and Monterosso.
In 1675 the territory of Amato ceased to belong to the Mottola family and was subdivided into small holdings. The entire area was first called The University of Amato and later Commune of Amato. With the subdivision of the territory, every resident of Amato became a private landowner. Vast territories were granted to the wealthiest families: Anania, Caligiuri, Cantafio, Cianflone, Cosentino, D'Amico, Falvo, Fiorentino, Grande, Graziano, Jenzi, Lo Scerbo, Lo Schiavo, Mauro, Mazza, Mottola, Pallone, Papucci, Rossi, Todaro, Torchia, who could date their ancestry to ancient Rome. The Commune of Amato kept for itself the forestland. This was however contested by the Mottola family, a dispute later resolved by the King Commissioner Angelo Masci. Under his ordinance the commune of Amato was granted two thirds of its claim, more specifically: Montagna Soprana and Montagna Sottana. The other one third was given to the Mottola family. The commune also received one half of the territory known as "Mugamero" with the other half remaining to the Mottolas.
With the subdivision of the Amato territory, many residents became minor landowners. However many were unable to survive from these little farms and soon they sold their possessions to other landowners thus contributing to the consolidation of large territories under the ownership of few families, a fact that remains to this day. While recent divisions among heirs has divided the large holdings, the lands remain, nonetheless, within the same families noted above.
Lands not cultivated by the wealthy landowners that were not needed for pasture, were freely given to sharecroppers (or tenant farmers), who became responsible for the farming of the land and in return would keep 3/4 or 2/3 of the net production, depending on the crop. They were allowed to keep a pig, a goat, some sheep and chickens on the land to help them provide for their families. This 'feudal system' was practiced up to 1900. It was improved over time, for example, by Dr. Giuseppe Caligiuri who improved productivity by putting at their disposal a plough pulled by two oxen.
Dr. Caligiuri's initiative was not well received by the other upper class. They believed that this new approach to farming would benefit sharecropper more than it would benefit them. Instead of supporting this brilliant initiative, the wealthy landowners closed themselves into a mean conservatism not well received by the sharecroppers. This is partly the reason why the south has not developed into a 'Riviera' or ‘Cote d’Azur,’ due primarily to the control of the wealthy ancient families.
Over the years, the tenant farmers left their lands; they left Amato and emigrated to the industrial factories of the North or moved to North America, Australia, South America, etc. No doubt the Italian spirit to 'create' was partly to blame, especially when the average Calabrian tenant farmer of the early 1800s, with his plot of land, his share of the crops, and his livestock was a wealthy man compared to his London counterpart in England, a fact that is vividly and accurately documented in real time by Charles Dickens.
San Francesco di Paola
Saint Francesco of Paola is the patron saint of Amato. In the central square of Amato stands a statue of the patron saint that protects the commune. It was erected thanks to Father Serafino Falvo and is the work of sculptor Ruggero Pergola of Pietrasanta, Lucca. It was inaugurated on May 28, 1966 with the participation of various religious and political figures and the Amatese citizenship.
The male to female ratio in the population of 874 is 404:470.
- "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Majori, G (2012). "Short history of malaria and its eradication in Italy with short notes on the fight against the infection in the mediterranean basin". Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis. 4: e2012016. doi:10.4084/MJHID.2012.016. PMC 3340992. PMID 22550561.
- 1986. Mario.P.Falvo
- Mario Pietro Lucio FALVO