History of Carpenedolo
History of Carpenedolo
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Large agricultural and industrial village of the Eastern plain of Brescia. It stretches at the foot of Mount Rocchetta (where once there was an alluvial terrace) on the left of the river Chiese, along the sides of the highway Brescia-Mantua.


It is located 25km from Brescia, 122 m a.s.l. Its area is 30,12 km2. Its inhabitants (carpenedolesi) were 5.156 in 1861, 6.324 in 1871, 5.140 in 1881, 5.665 in 1901, 6.168 in 1911, 6.276 in 1921, 6.848 in 1931, 6.798 in 1936, 7.398 in 1951, 7.346 in 1961, 8.376 in 1971 (2.325 families, 4.167 males, 4.179 females). Its name was Carpanetulo in the 12th century, Carpenedulo in the 13th century, Carpenedolo in the 16th century. The suffix -edolo is common to many place names in the province of Brescia and indicates a collective. It certainly derives from “Carpinus”.

History

This town has a long history. A "palstave" was discovered near the village, a sign of human settlement since the Neolithic age.
Other findings confirm that this place was inhabited by the Cenomani. A Celtic altar was also found. According to the English scholar Conway, between Carpenedolo and Calvisano there was an estate of Virgil. Some inscriptions (to Mevia Marcella, P.Livio, M.Elio) confirm the presence of the Romans.

Early Middle Ages

Barbarian graves discovered in 1903 point to a continuity of the history of Carpenedolo during dark barbaric centuries, while Lombard objects show a flourishing of the town in the early middle ages. The Benedictines started useful reclamations in the monastery of Leno. The town gathered around the Christian parish church, dedicated to Saint Mary of the Assumption and, since the 14th century, to St. John the Baptist.

Late Middle Ages

Around the year 1000, a castle was built as primitive protection from Hungarian hordes and it soon became a symbol of fratricidal fighting during the age of communes. Dominated by Poncarali family, the Castle fell in the hands of Frederick Barbarossa, after a gallant resistance. In fact, in 1237, it was set on fire by Reggiani family, led by Manfredo, a Ghibelline chief under the orders of Barbarossa who killed Ardizzone Losco Poncarale, a Guelf, and killed or dispersed the population by destroying its houses, located in the actual Borgo dell’Asino. However, the inhabitants organized into vicinia and then into a commune, resisting the bullying of local squires, including the Mezzani family.

During the period of the Signories, Carpenedolo came under the rule of Filippo Gonzaga and of his descendants, the Dukes of Mantua. Luchino Visconti took control of the town in 1348. During the Visconti rule, Bernabò commissioned the wide channel called "Fossa Magna".

In 1413, Pandolfo Malatesta, lord of Rimini and landlord of Brescia, destroyed again Carpenedolo and its castle, since the inhabitants refused to recognize him as their new Lord. In 1420, Carmagnola, commander of the troops of Giovanni Maria Visconti, defeated him after a fierce battle that took place in the North West of the town, along the road of Montichiari.

Venetian rule

In 1428,thanks to Carmagnola who began working for the Republic of Venice, the village  came under the Venetian rule, to which he remained faithful until 1797, although the population was often forced to contribute money and weapons to military expeditions and to submit to plunders and fires of enemy armies passing through the town.

In 1484, the doge Agostino Barbarigo could attest that the inhabitants of Carpenedolo were the first, after the annexation of the city of Brescia, who came under the protection of Venice and remained always faithful. In fact, Carpenedolo offered a high contribution of blood and suffering to the Republic. In 1482, 75 inhabitants were taken prisoner and most of them were killed in the prisons of Mantua, where they had been dragged by the Duke of Calabria. In 1512, 22 people out of 70 perished beneath the walls of Brescia, during the siege laid by the Venetian army to the town occupied by French and Spanish.

In 1701-1702, the village suffered a siege by the imperial troops, which ended through negotiations on June 7, 1702.

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Carpenedolo was also hit by plagues (during the plague in 1630, there were about 1,000 victims) and famine but it also enjoyed years of prosperity especially during the 18th century, thanks to special privileges.

French rule

The Republic of Venice fell on March 29, 1797, when the troops of the Republic of Brescia arrived in Carpenedolo, but on April 1st, the supporters of the former regime burned the Italian flag and raised again the flag with the lion of Saint Mark. However, a few days later, the town was occupied by the French troops of general Chevalier. On March 9, 1797, the tree of liberty was raised, while on July 28, some French soldiers looted the parish church and sacristy, by stealing gold and silver and seizing the livestock.

The supporters of the Venetian rule, called "goghi", made a comeback on  April 13, 1799, with the upper hand of the Austro-Russian army. They burned the tree of liberty, destroyed all the coats of arms of the Cisalpine Republic and on  October 26, they erected a large stone cross with a Latin inscription: ”Per lignum servi facti sumus / per crucem liberati sumuc”.

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