The village of Monacilioni is located in the Campobasso Province of the Molise Region of Italy.
Molise, the youngest Italian region (until 1963 it was part of Abruzzo), lies in south-central Italy on the Adriatic coastline of the peninsula. It is also the next to smallest of all Italian regions, larger only than Val d'Aosta; lying to the north-east on the Adriatic, it borders with Abruzzo to the north, with Latium to the west, with Campania to the south and with Puglia (Apulia) to the south-east. Its borders are mostly artificial, due mainly to complex feudal and administrative vicissitudes: natural limits are the Trigno and the Fortore rivers, which respectively mark most of the border with Abruzzo and Puglia and the calcareous massifs of Meta, the Mainardes and Matese, administratively divided between Latium and Campania.
Campobasso, capital of the Province and of the Molise Region, traces its origins to the Oscan Period, around the VII century BC, with the building of fortifications on the hill above its present location. During the Longobard period (VII century) the city was initially divided into two sections, one called "Campus de Prata" and the other "Campus Vassus o Campus Vassallorum". With the destruction of the former, the remaining section assumed the present name of "Campus Bassus" to indicate its lower (bassus) position relative to the feudal castle. Campobasso remained a feudal city to the end of the 18th century. With the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799, it joined the Sangro Department, becoming capital of a Canton, and then later, capital of the Molise Province of the Kingdom of Naples. In 1860, as a result of a plebiscite, the city was annexed to Italy. During the Second World War, the city was at the center of fighting between the German and Allied troops, and suffered extensive destruction including its municipal building and archives.
The village of Monacilioni rises in a beautiful area of hills and valleys. The name comes etymologically from Castrum Monachi Leonis (Castle of Monk Leone).
The area is geologically very unstable. In 1456 an earthquake utterly destroyed the small village of Catello, a few km from Monacilioni. A ruinous landslide in mid-19th century started a massive wave of emigration to Argentina and after 1918 to the States and Canada. Another landslide in 1962 furtherly drove more citizens to leave for other destinations in Italy, Europe, Australia, Venezuela. In 2002 another major earthquake hit the area causing considerable damage in Monacilioni, but more tradgically killed 19 children in the nearby village of San Giuliano Di Puglia. [Read: CNN news story]
In Montreal there is an association in the name of the patron Santa Benedetta, whose body is kept in the Parish church of Monacilioni. Every 25 years, on the third Sunday in May, the urn with the remains of Santa Benedetta is carried in a procession.
Altitude: 605 meters
(2,132 feet) Territory: mountainous
http://www.monacilioni.org/ (to check out photos of recent earthquake damage and recovery click on: Emergenza Terremoto)
93 DIFFERENT SURNAMES PRESENTLY RECORDED IN MONACILIONI
(the number after the surnames refers to the number of families)