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Comune di Cerisano
Map of comune of Cerisano (province of Cosenza, region Calabria, Italy).svg
Cerisano is located in Italy
Location of Cerisano in Italy
Coordinates: 39°17′N 16°11′E / 39.283°N 16.183°E / 39.283; 16.183Coordinates: 39°17′N 16°11′E / 39.283°N 16.183°E / 39.283; 16.183
Country Italy
Region Calabria
Province Cosenza (CS)
Frazioni Codicina, Cozzo del Monte, Manche, Pianetto, Valli
 • Mayor Salvatore Mancina
 • Total 15.19 km2 (5.86 sq mi)
Elevation 650 m (2,130 ft)
Population (2007)[1]
 • Total 3,275
 • Density 220/km2 (560/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Cerisanesi
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code 87044
Dialing code 0984
ISTAT code 078037
Patron saint San Lorenzo
Saint day 10 August
Website Official website

Cerisano is a town and comune in the province of Cosenza in the Calabria region of southern Italy.


According to some hypotheses, the town was founded by the Oenotrians (Enotri), an ancient population of pre-Romans, around the fifteenth century BC. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the Oenotrians are the oldest settlers from Greece. In this account, Cerisano would have been known to the Greeks as the Citerium, Citerion. In ancient times, the surrounding region took its name from the Oenotrians, comprising the current southern Campania, part of Basilicata, and Calabria.

The first surviving written records mentioning Cerisano date back to 1247 when the comune is first included in tax records, along with documentation declaring Cerisano as belonging to the Angevin faction of Schiucchi. In the feudal period, Cerisano was under the jurisdiction of various lords, including Andrea Sersale, followed by Carluccio de Martino di Massa and his son Petrillo. Later, under the rule of Louis III of Anjou, there was a brief period of autonomy when Cerisano was owned by the De Matera, followed by the Sanseverino family of Bisignano. The latter transformed Cerisano into a military outpost. In 1489, the comune was entrusted to Royal Captain Gaspare Firrao, from Cosenza, and then to Bernardino de Marinis Gragnano.

In 1490, Bernardino Sanseverino regained possession of the town. In 1519, with the death of Bernardino, his son Pierantonio succeeded him to lead the comune. During the French invasion, he tried unsuccessfully to defend the town from the army that marched from Cosenza. Cerisano was then occupied for a short period until the French army was defeated. In 1528, the country was hit by a famine that killed two-thirds of the population. In the second half of the sixteenth century began the decline of the ruling Sanseverino family. The Sanseverinos sold Cerisano to Don Pietro Gonzales de Mendoza who entrusted its management to his wife Eleonora Sanseverino.

In 1572, the ownership of the estate passed to Valerio Telesio, brother of philosopher Bernardino Telesio. In 1567, Valerio was accused of heresy, a crime punishable by the death penalty. However, with the help of Cardinal William Sirleto, he escaped conviction. He was, however, killed on Aug. 10, 1579, in the church of San Giovanni, in Castelfranco (now called Castrolibero). The estate was then inherited by his son Roberto Telesio, who contracted large debts in 1583 and was forced to sell the estate to Horace Sersale, who married Clarice Telesio, sister of Roberto. On the death of Horace in 1594 the estate passed to his son Hannibal, after a formal request to the authority. On November 25, 1613, he obtained the title of Duke of Cerisano. After the Duke's death, the estate passed to his son, also named Hannibal, which then followed to the brothers Giulio and Geronimo Sersale.

Geronimo Sersale was named prince and duke of Cerisano in 1657 and married Portia Sanseverino of Calvera. The marriage produced twins Horace and Diego. The family decided that Horace would inherit the estate and titles with the consent of his brother, and that the latter would be entitled to receive a monthly income. During the early 18th century, Cerisano's economic situation had deteriorated. In 1758, Prince Domenico Sersale, another son of Geronimo Sersale, ordered the property entrusted to the notary Lorenzo Zupo, who continued to administer Cerisano even after the death of the Prince. Throughout the late eighteenth and nineteenth Cerisano largely remained under the administration of the Zupo family.


Cerisano rests at the foot of the mountain overlooking the valley Cocuzzo Cosenza. Since 1984, Cerisano has been declared a town of tourist interest. In late August and early September, Cerisano holds the Festival of Serre. During the festival, various sections of the town are dedicated to cinema, jazz, theater, classical music, visual arts, and cultural events. The Old Town of Cerisano lies at the foot of the Palazzo Sersale, with the town square in front, including an acropolica that dominates the village. Cerisano has numerous ancient churches, including: San Lorenzo, martyr and patron saint of Cerisano, as well as St. Ugolino of San Domenico, the Carmine, of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Other churches include the convent the Reformed (Oasi S. Antonio), the Madonna of Schiucchi, and St. John the Baptist, in the resort Santojanni. There are also some monuments of artistic and historical importance, including the Sersale Palace, Palazzo Zupi, Greek Casino, War Memorials, and Villa Zupi.

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ All demographics and other statistics from the Italian statistical institute (Istat)


  • Luigi Bilotto, Cerisano, Roma, Palombi Editori, 1999.
  • Carlo Zupi, La storia di Cerisano, Marano e Castelfranco, Milano, Casa Editrice Settentrionale, 1906.