Crecchio: local history

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The human presence in prehistoric times is attested on the hills around Crecchio by scant finds.
The Archeological Museum hosts a series of objects from Pre-Roman, Frentanian, tombs whose existence suggests the presence of a hill fort guarding the “tratturi” (transhumance tracks) or the border with the Marrucini people. Under the Roman rule the site possibly became a municipium and the landscape was divided among large villae rusticae (farms) for the cultivation of olive trees, vines and cereals.
These sites remained active until the 6th Noteworthy in this sense are the remains of the ancient villa of Vassarella-Casino Vezzani, unearthed during the 1988-1991 excavations. After the devastating Greco-Gotic War (AD 535 – AD 553) the Byzantines re-fortified the main settlement and put garrisons in the countryside, protecting the villae from the Lombard raids of the 7th Lombard Duke of Benevento. Like the rest of the Duchy the settlement later went under the Frankish rule and then under the Normans. In 1059 a Papal Law confirming the limits of the Chieti diocese mentions a "Plebem Occrecle" without considering it a Castellum (“castle”), suggesting that during the 11th the settlement still lacked proper walls. These were built around the borgo under the Norman rule, including towers, a stronghold with watchtower on the “da capo” (head) gate and another one near the “da piedi” (feet) gate. Like the rest of the Kingdom of Naples the area came firstly under the Swabian rule and then under Charles I of Anjou. The "Rassegna dei feudatari d'Abruzzo" (List of the Feudatories of Abruzzo) attests that in 1279 the feud was under the rule of Guglielmo Morello, identified with Guglielmo Monaco, nephew of an homonymous which between 1189 and 1192 took part to the Third Crusade lead by the Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, Richard I the Lionheart King of England and Philip II Augustus King of France. Between 1352 and 1367 the countryside suffered lootings and devastation due to the political turmoil following the death of Robert D’Anjou. The King of Naples Ladislaw, of the Durazzo dynasty, took the feud from the rebel Napoleone Orsini, Count of Carrara and Lord of Guardiagrele, and guaranteed the sale of the feud to the community of Lanciano in 1406. That city kept the possession until 1627 when the feud, together with Castelnuovo (Castelfrentano) was sold to Giovanni Bonanni De L'Aquila. The Brancaccio family bought both castle and feud in 1636 but the possession came later under the D’Ambrosio Princes, the Marzano and lastly the De Riseis, Dukes of Bovino and Taormina which acquired also the title of Barons of Crecchio. The Ducal Castle remained in possession of the De Riseis family until the end of World War II.