110 METRES ABOVE SEA LEVEL - 18 KM FROM PIACENZA
The most plausible hypothesis is that the village’s name derives from “CARPINUS BETULUS” which is a plant similar to a birch that was once very diffused in the area.
In 1929 a Royal Decree recognised the denomination “CARPANETO PIACENTINO” and in November 1931 Vittorio Emanuele III allowed the right to use a new Town Hall emblem. In this new emblem stands out a solitary hornbeam plant on whose top there’s a royal crown, in substitution of a previous one in which were portrayed the Castle, a hornbeam plant in the background and a small lake populated by carps in the front.
A recent hypothesis, plausible enough because of historical-linguistic argumentations, makes the etymon derive from “CARBONETUM”: a coal storage.
The Village, over the years of his millennial history, has always been not only a reference point for the negotiation of cereals, but also of carbon coming from Menegosa Mountains, Lama and Pelpi.
Coalmen produced the combustible in the mountains, in designated “squares” obtained into the woods and delimitated, in the interests of safety, by small brickworks through the combustion of trees’ trunks and big branches (mostly of beech trees). Coal and charcoal were then transported, on the back of a mule following the Val Chero street (that was for this reason denominated “COAL STREET”) to Carpaneto for the sale.
The administrative center registered from the XIX century until today an unprecedented urban growth and a relevant demographic increase.
At the beginning of 1800, in order to recover important spaces in the old town centre with the aim of destining them to the urban benefit, the Castle’s ramparts were demolished, and the surrounding moat was filled up.
Only with the industrialization advent was highlighted and enhanced the territorial and strategic centrality of the administrative center.
PIACENZA STREET… THE ORIGINS
The central “Piacenza Street” that connects XX September square with Oliveti square was once called by the elderly “La Verta”.
This fact dates back to last century when the street didn’t exist because its area was occupied by houses that were owned by Stefano Trenchi, who was an innkeeper.
The municipality bought Trenchi’s house with the purpose of opening a public passage between the big square and Martinella Street (the current Oliveti square), creating a connection with the street that lead to Piacenza, and that’s why it was called “Piacenza Street”.
From a few documents it is possible to learn that the initiative on the new connection started from the business owners who had their small shops in the main square or in the “commerce of the wheat square”.
In a letter sent to the town councilmen members they affirmed that, due to the signatories interests’ safeguard, to the advantage of the construction industry and to the common good, since 1880 the inhabitants of Carpaneto had expressed the desire that the small village’s main square had free and public access.
With this closure, they observed, the main square would have become a real closed space, deprived of any commerce, with the consequence of having “the maximum damage without any interests”. They hoped to find in the council administrators the right support to “have justice”.
The opening of the new inner street has been approved by the Town Council assembly on the 17 July 1884, while for the payment of the purchase was agreed with Mr. Trenchi the amount of 5.600 liras.
The first certain information date back to 1321, when Galeazzo Visconti’s Ghibelline militias were attempting to delete the Guelph resistance’s strongholds scattered in the area, but they also destroyed Carpaneto’s Castle.
Of all the ancient complex, Only Scotti Palace survived, but only its imposing perimetral walls on two sides (south-east) endured, inside of it a corresponding exterior gallery with granite columns surmounted by sandstone capitals with the Scotti’s emblem.
The building went through a new restoration in 1934 with the conclusion of the inner porticos and the corridors above on the north-east sides, at the service of the primary school classes hosted in the superior floor until 1988 when the new Comprehensive Institution came into operation.
The frescos were accomplished in 1934, in order to embellish a featureless hall of the Castle, by the well-known futurist painter Barbieri Osvaldo Terribile, also known as BOT.
Of all the paintings, whose subjects concern the war and the industrialisation, only the one on the east side, illustrating the March on Rome (28 October 1922), has been covered up - for obvious political reasons - with a layer of paint. The ones in the three other walls have been subjected to erasures in details that alluded to the Fascist Dictatorship.
The stairway’s walls were painted in 1937 instead, commissioned by the Podestà Carlo Nazzani, with three paintings. Two of them recalled the Empire while the third portrayed a prosperous Italian Woman that is still visible even if it has been reworked.
MONUMENT TO THE FALLEN
The monument has initially been dedicated to the fallen of the 1915/18 war and later to the fallen of all the wars with the addition of the names of the inhabitants of Carpaneto who died both in the 1935 War in Africa and those of the various fronts during the 2nd World War, during the Resistance and also the civils disappeared because of the war.
The Memorial Monument is located in the middle of the village, in the garden at the side of the Town Hall.
It has been one of the first ones in our Province, after 1st World War, built because of the initiative of the specific committee chaired by Giovanni Speroni, the vice-president Luigi Emiliani, the secretary Angelo Periti and the treasurer Giuseppe Beretta that collected donations supplied by the inhabitants and organized days in favour of the construction of the monument with sport competition, concerts, recitals and lotteries. Of this lottery, in the documents of the teacher Elisa Arati, it’s still kept the poster with the moulds of the 4000 tickets that had been prepared: 3446 of them were sold.
All these events had the aim of collecting the necessary funds to realize the construction project designed by professor Ottorino Romagnosi, whose plaster sketch is still conserved in the Town Hall.
The inauguration took place on the 18th September 1921, there also was the minister of the released lands Giovanni Ranieri.
The ceremony began the morning of the previous day with a solemn religious function celebrated by Don Umberto Malchiodi who later became Piacenza’s bishop. One the inauguration day, by tramway, the marching band arrived early with a picket of armed militaries.
The numerous authorities were received in the Town Hall where medals, badges and crosses were given to the mothers of the Fallen from the honourable Giovanni Pallastrelli. In the Church a mass was celebrated paying homage to the Fallen, while the funeral oration was said by Father Stanislao Pedrazzini, member of the Discalced Carmelites and ex-chaplain.
At the end a long cortege with the marching band travelled the town’s streets that were decked with flags and went to the Monument that the committee’s president Speroni officially consigned to the mayor Arata.
After the work’s uncovering and presentation, from the stage of the authorities Camillo Piatti and Knight Ferrari spoke to the crowd representing the ex-soldiers, then finally Minister Rainieri who managed to adhere to the Government, the greetings and a donation from King Vittorio Emanuele III.
In the afternoon, always with the authorities, the ex-soldiers and a numerous crowd, in the Town Hall courtyard the lottery in favour of the Monument was extracted; later a football match between the “Vigor Carpaneto” and the Gropparello team that was won by the Carpaneto (4-1) e at last, a big concert in the town square.
VIALE DEI CADUTI (RECOLLECTION’S AVENUE)
The long avenue that leads to the urban graveyard, romantically named Recollection’s Avenue, was deeply desired from the population with the aim of dedicating it to the fallen of 1915-18.
The avenue’s peculiarity lies in the fact that in front of each tree were fixed 159 plaques with the Fallen’s personal data.
One has been dedicated to the Unknown Fallen.
In 2011 the Town Hall administration was forced to tear down more than 50 basswoods that were ill and dangerous.
The cycle lane and the street lights’ electrical system were remade. Furthermore, at the expense of a group of approximately 20 Alpines, 159 stelas were restored.
Through the “Adopt a Tree” project, suggested from the Town Hall’s council, the population could partially contribute to the tree planting of 66 basswoods on the west side of the avenue.
SAINTS FIRMUS AND RUSTICUS’ PARISH CHURCH
The date of the Parish Church’s construction (Saints Firmus and Rusticus were Roman Patricians beheaded on the 9 August 304 on the Adige’s shore in Verona) it’s presumed from the stylistic analysis of the OLD TOWER whose architectural style is attributable to the Romanic Art in vogue in X-XI centuries.
Numerous and significant are the interventions accomplished during the 20th century from the respective priests that, over improving the original architectonic structure, have embellished and updated the Church according to the needs of the modern religious users.
The current bell tower, that is a typical example of stylistic Eclecticism, was built in 1913 by Don Pietro Burgazzi.
Between 1949 and 1952 Don Pietro Tramelli, following the growth of the population, promoted an important structural intervention that expected, based on architect Pietro Berzolla’s project, the addition of a new aisle in the entrance and the construction of a new façade, in neo-classic style, similar to the previous one.
In 1955 the floor was redone and, in 1968, Don Luigi Polledri provided for the remaking of the roof, the restoration of the tower and for a general external painting while, in the interior he realised the heating system, the glass windows (14 are Rinello Brusi’s, 2 are Achille Sgorbati’s) and the new altar “erga populum” following the II Vatican’s liturgical rules.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW BELL TOWER
A city committee, chaired by Mr. Giacinto Zoppi, was constituted in 1901 with the aim of collecting the necessary funds to build a new Church bell tower.
When the construction was completed the belfry was equipped with 5 bells, in F major tone.
The numerous iconographical frescos that embellish the intern of the Church scan the slow turn of time. The fifth chapel (on the right side of the entrance) preserves a simple and gracious image of Saint Anne with you young Mary that may date back to the 300.
The sixth chapel instead, dedicated to the Saint Rosary’s Virgin and beautified with a nice wooden statue (dated ‘700 a.C.), was embellished with the classical and magniloquent motifs typical of the Baroque Art: 15 ovals with the scenes of the Sorrowful, Joyful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.
The central chapel, heart of the temple, shows in the apse a magnificent fresco, the “Apoteosi della SS.ma Trinità”.
The recent restoration of the fourth chapel (on the left side of the entrance), now dedicated to Saint Antonio from Padova, preserved the appreciated surprise of discovering, under the plaster, an important series of frescos about San Rocco’s life.
THE FRESCOS OF THE CENTRAL VAULT
The ancient frescos of the central vault, attributed to an unknown painter from Milan (Baroque style, 1619), tell 8 episodes about the patrons’ lives. Their complete restoration, realised by the well-known restorer from Piacenza Lucia Bravi, took 3 years of hard work (2000-2003) and it has been possible thanks to a remarkable financial effort of the Parish and a contribution of the Piacenza and Vigano’s Foundation.
The first scene (starting from the major altar to the right) portrays San Fermo, dressed as a Roman soldier, while he’s distributing bread - that had miraculously multiplied - to the needy.
Successively there’s San Fermo keeping the Gospel in his hands during his arrest, then Fermo and Rustico in front of Emperor Massimiano while they refuse of retracting their faith in Christ. The fourth finally depicts the two martyrs in prison with stumps tied to their feet.
The fifth frame (turning to right) portrays a miraculously laid table in prison, laden with food by Angels. Between the fifth and the sixth scene the aristocratic emblem of Claudio Rangoni was reproduced, he was Piacenza’s Bishop (1596-1620) related to the Vigoleno’s Scottis. Then there’s a stoning scene, stopped by a Divine intervention, meaning: a stake on which the patrons had to burn alive that was extinguished by a providential rain and, at the end, the martyrdom through beheading in the Adige’s shores.
“MADONNA DELLA SCODELLA”
At the end there’s an oil on canvas, found by chance in 1962 by Don Achille Sgorbati in a parsonage’s storage closet, and after a careful analysis of the piece it resulted that “Madonna della Scodella” was Correggio’s (1488-1534) first draft of his work, whose original is exposed in Parma’s National Gallery. The painting is property of the Parish and it’s now deposited in the Diocese Art Museum.
(Translated by Laura Fugazzi)