Travel and Culture in Abruzzo
Lanciano is situated on the hills of Sangro Valley and it has very old origins: the archeological finds present here date back even to the Neolithic period and the latest excavations have dug out the remnants of the ancient Anxanum, a big twelfth century B.C. living structure, which is among the oldest ones in Abruzzo.
Anxanum is also mentioned by Julius Caesar as a Roman station.
From 1154 on, the town was called Lanzano, and the suburbs of Lancianovecchia, Sacca sul Colle della Seiva, Civitanova and Borgo sul Colle Pietroso took shape.
Lanciano reached its maximum splendour between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries, thanks to the development of the Fairs, the Roman “Nundinae”, which were held in the first months of the year on the Selva Hill, where the Temple dedicated to Apollo stood.
After the medieval period, these fairs had a big development, that achieved its highest point in the fifteenth century.
Merchants from all over the world reached the fairs and there were very frequent exchanges with Venice and Ragusa.
Unfortunately, the first signs of crisis began exactly in the period of maximum development of the town, due to the fights between French and Spaniards, that undermined the growth of the town itself.
This is the reason why Ferdinand of Aragon, in 1515, stated with an edict that the merchants of any provenance and of any religion had to be protected and be “safe and secure” for all the period of the fairs.
In fact, during the fairs, people elected the Mastrogiurato (a juryman), who had to make everyone respect the “Fair Peace”.
In the seventeenth century, King Philip abolished this privilege for the merchants and caused a gradual decay of the town.
In the seventeenth century, Lanciano became a feud of Duke Alessandro Pallavicino and later of Marquis d’Avalos del Vasto.
In the 20th century, the inhabited area became bigger and Lanciano participated in the Second World War.
Today Lanciano is a well known fair centre, which is recognized on a national and international scale.
Lanciano is also the town of the first Eucharistic Miracle recognized by the Church, that took place in the seventh century.