Castelcucco: oasis of tranquility between Asolo, Paderno and Bassano del Grappa
(ANSA) – In these parts mammoths ‘walked’ and between one hundred thousand and ninety thousand years before Christ the men and women of the Paleolithic already occupied the caves of the hills ceded a few millennia later to the Neolithics and then to the Proto Ligurians. Today that Castelcucco, in the province of Treviso, offers hospitality to just over two thousand residents, probably few people know that they have ancestors so distant in time. Everyone, however, realizes the pleasure of living in an oasis of tranquility between Asolo, Paderno and Bassano del Grappa. Tourists who go to these districts cannot help but be captivated by the charm of the small churches in the area, each an authentic little treasure trove of art. The tour of the bell towers leads from the parish church of San Giorgio to the church of Santa Lucia, almost hidden by centuries-old trees: this oratory would have originated at the time of the settlement of Christianity in the Asolo area; most likely a chapel existed before the present church. From the fall of the tyranny of the Carraresi of Padua, which took place on 13 December 1388, the building was dedicated to Saint Lucia since her liturgical feast was on that same day.
Also not to be missed is a visit to the churches of San Bartolomeo, San Francesco, San Gaetano, Santa Margherita: the first is hidden in the middle of the woods and is characterized by a massive hexagonal structure: its first nucleus dates back to the eighth century. The oratory of San Gaetano, also known as the Chiesa della Salute, is located along the main street of the town, half-hidden between the adjacent buildings. The dedication to the Madonna delle Grazie could refer to a narrow escape, the plague of the seventeenth century, which did not affect Castelcucco. The oratory of Santa Margherita is located near the aqueduct, in the homonymous street, a side of the road that leads to the nearby town of Paderno del Grappa, in an isolated position and ending in a dead end. The ‘secular’ jewel of local art is Villa Perusini in the center of a small hamlet on the road leading to Paderno. The building is a splendid example of eighteenth-century art that is spread over three floors. Originally the villa was adorned with gardens and fountains but later this splendor gradually declined, due to the many transfers of ownership, an increasingly marked neglect and progressive depopulation, so much so that it is currently uninhabited, while remaining in fair condition. Still attached to the villa is the oratory of San Francesco, which was accessed directly through the upper floors, via a hanging corridor supported by a low arch above the municipal road. It was the residence of the journalist and writer Sergio Saviane, who died in 2001. (ANSA).
The toponym, according to Olivieri, derives from the fusion of the words “castello” (Latin “castrum”) and “cucco” (rounded height, Rounded height). The reference to the nature of the predominantly hilly territory of this municipality appears evident. in the Middle Ages, it had the name of “Castrocucho”.
CASTELCUCCO was a place of settlement already in the Paleolithic. Archaeological finds of the stone civilization came to light in 1958, in the “Patt” locality, in the red earth quarries. It was a series of splinters, including single-sided triangular tips and semicircular scrapers. In the same quarries the remains of an “elephas primigenius” were found and subsequently dispersed, as asserted by the archaeologists Berti and Boccazzi. These findings, together with others, contemporary, which took place in nearby locations (Asolo and Pagnano), attest that man lived on the Asolo hills in a period dating back to about 100,000-90,000 years BC. This prehistoric era, defined as “paleolithic” because it was characterized by the working of the stone, was dominated by very sensitive climatic variations: it passed from long and vast glaciations to periods of intense heat, which forced men and animals to change, several times, the conditions of the their existence. It so happened that, during the great colds, Paleolithic men found shelter in the numerous caves that, especially in the CASTELCUCCO area, can still be seen today, and that animals, such as the mammoth, typical of cold and circumpolar regions, migrated south into the alpine and pre-alpine belt to escape the expansion of glaciers. The end of the Paleolithic does not coincide, in CASTELCUCCO, with the exhaustion of human settlements, which, on the contrary, follow one another without interruption. Thus, during the Neolithic period (5,000-2,000 BC), a period characterized by more refined stone-working techniques, men lived, whose traces (numerous flint artifacts) continue to be found in that inexhaustible reservoir of archaeological material that are the red earth quarries in local
The Proto-Ligurians (2,500 ~ 1,700 BC) took over the Neolithics, who almost certainly inhabited the already tested cliffs of Collalto and Colmusone, from which, as proof of the settlement, worked splinters of flint emerged. Of the following prehistoric eras, which saw the Eugenei and the Paleoveneti as protagonists, in CASTELCUCCO no traces were found that confirmed their presence, as well as very rare and unsafe archaeological evidence ascribable to the Roman period. Among the latter we will only mention an inscription that De Bon remembers existing in the cemetery of the Hermitage of San Giustina, on the border between Possagno and Castelcucco.
At the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, CASTELCUCCO, according to some scholars, had already been evangelized, together with Asolo, the Roman “municipium”, and other centers of the foothills: this is due to the inclusion of this area in the area. of influence of the ancient diocese of Padua. If no sign of the barbarian invasions remained in CASTELCUCCO, the traces left by the Lombard domination were much more relevant. This people, having occupied northern Italy, had immediately settled also in the Asolo area, restoring the previous defensive network of the Roman “castellieri”. At the top of the highest and strategically better placed hills, military buildings had been restored from which it was possible to emit signals by means of smoke, and therefore to establish an original and effective signaling network between inhabited centers and defensive positions even very far from each other. . The hills of CASTELCUCCO certainly belonged to this defensive system, whose current identification appears to be accompanied by a series of undoubtedly Lombard toponyms (“Fara”, “Braida”, etc.), which lead to credit for the dedications of the churches, typical of this period, and among them that of San Giorgio, owner of the parish church of CASTELCUCCO. But the clearest proof of the Lombard presence in this locality is given by an interesting archaeological find: two burial tombs that were discovered in 1874 in the area of the current town hall. Inside was kept a small but important funeral equipment, typical of a child’s burial, consisting of a golden cross and some buckles. The crocettina is singular in its simple and linear manufacture, and can be dated around the 7th century. The object, a rarity for the whole of Veneto, is therefore undoubtedly Lombard and the place where it was found confirms it. This discovery also gives the certainty that, in CASTELCUCCO, there was a nucleus of Christians in the seventh century, already present for a few hundred years, considering, as Comacchio states, that the Lombards, upon their arrival, settled in already inhabited centers. and socially organized.
It is presumed that a chapel existed on site even before the year 1000. Already then and in the following centuries the territorial situation gradually clarified and determined until the constitution, within the current municipal boundaries, of two real “rules” (territories with municipal dignity): one, the “regula de Castrocucho, constituted from the rustic colmelli of Càrpene and of the Patt which in ancient times constituted the real town, the other, to the west, the “regula de Collo Muxoni”. Each of these two territorial hamlets had its own church: for CASTELCUCCO the old and small oratory of San Bartolomeo, located on the southern slopes of the Collalto, for Col Muson what is now the parish church of San Giorgio. Again: both localities were dominated by as many castles, flanked by churches, owned by the Maltraversi family, also known as CASTELCUCCO. some ruins of the fortress on Col Muson remain today, while of the second one, located on the Collalto, there should be only rare residues now buried by brambles and brushwood.
According to popular tradition, another important church still existing, S. Giustina di Rovèr, stood in the territory of CASTELCUCCO and it must even have been a “parish”. Subsequently S. Giustina, which was an ancient parish church of a vast foothill area including CASTELCUCCO, was assigned to Possagno in 1172 and gradually lost its prerogatives in the face of the expansion of the “new” parish church of Fonte. From an ecclesiastical point of view, at the end of the thirteenth century we find in the territory of the two “regulae”, belonging to the parish church of Fonte, the only “chapel S. Georgii de Castrocucho”, whose rector “presbiter Leonardus”, fulfilled the obligation of the Vatican tithe with the sum of 35 soldi and 4 denari (1297). In 1315 the municipality of CASTELCUCCO was taxed by the Municipality of Treviso for the reconstruction of the city walls, with the sum of 180 denarii, compared to the estimation of 12 fires, therefore to a territorial extension and a consequent limited contribution potential.
CASTELCUCCO suffered in the course of the fourteenth century, the complex events that characterize the life of the Marca Trevigiana and of the Asolano area in particular, namely the succession of one domination to another; to mention only the most significant ones: the Venetian one (1338), that of the Duke of Austria (1381), the Carrarese (1382) and finally this time definitively, again the Venetian 1388). In that year the Serenessima Repubblica restored the podesta office in Asolo, to which the village of CASTELCUCCO was subjected. In 1564, on the occasion of the pastoral visit of the bishop of Treviso Giorgio Corner carried out on February 22, CASTELCUCCO still appears as a branch chapel of the parish church of Fonte and in its territory there are three rural churches: S.Lucia, S.Margherita and S.Bartolomeo, to which we go in procession on their feast. “The sadly famous earthquake in 1695 destroyed two hundred of the three hundred existing houses in CASTELCUCCO, seriously damaged the church and caused the partial collapse of the bell tower. earthquake, nothing was done and in 1753, during the pastoral visit, it was still in ruins to the point that “part of the planking of the rooms had fallen and the Bishop almost fell there ….” In 1797, at the fall of the Venetian Republic, CASTELCUCCO had to suffer the violence and robberies of Napoleon’s French troops who had occupied the Veneto region, aggravating the deprivation and misery of the poor local populations. lter earthquake razed the old and patched-up bell tower to the ground. However, it was necessary to wait until the present century (1904? 1908) for the population to build that tower which still stands out next to the parish church today. This temple, consecrated for the first time on 5 October 1644 by the bishop of Treviso Antonio Lupi, was rebuilt in its present form during the eighteenth century.
Castelcucco offers interesting ideas to tourists, the art lover or the simple curious. Our churches have spanned the centuries and are rich in paintings and sculptures, without forgetting the architectural value.
Worth noting is the eighteenth-century Villa Perusini, an important example of the magnificence of an era that left evident signs on our territory.
Castelcucco: Where is it and map
Airplane: “Marco Polo” International Airport – 65 km.
Castelfranco, km. 19
Bassano del Grappa, km. 16
Montebelluna, km. 17
From Milan: direct train “Freccia delle Dolomiti” to Castelfranco
From Padua, via Castelfranco
From Venice and Treviso, via Montebelluna
From Vicenza, via Bassano del Grappa
From the east: Treviso Nord motorway exit, via Montebelluna
From the south: Padova Est motorway exit, via Castelfranco
From the west: Vicenza Est motorway exit, via Cittadella – Castelfranco Dueville motorway exit, via Bassano
From the north: From Bolzano, Autorada del Brennero up to Trento then take the Valsugana state road to Padua-Venice up to Bassano del Grappa where then you have to turn east towards Montebelluna.
texts and photos taken from: www.ansa.it, www.castelcucco.com and www.magicoveneto.it