Popoli, city of waters, crossroads of the Abruzzo Apennines
Popoli is a town of about 5000 inhabitants in the province of Pescara in Abruzzo, Italy. Its name derives from the Latin noun populus which means poplar, a rather relevant element in its territory. Given its strategic position, the castrum populi was built during the 12th century by duke Giacomo Cantelmo, characterized by a keep and two watchtowers.
The town was hit by the black plague in 1348 and the population suffered a drastic decline, but over the following years there was a progressive repopulation. One of the historic buildings of Popoli is the Taverna Ducale, built in 1377 by the Cantelmo family with the function of warehouse for the goods relating to the tithes waiting to be sold. The building then became a real tavern for buyers and travelers, where they had the opportunity to spend the night. In 1576 the Municipality decided to erect its own tavern next to the Ducal one, in direct competition with it.
In 1798 the French troops attempted to enter Popoli and they faced considerable resistance, but still managed to enter treacherously on Christmas Eve. In 1817 Popoli had 3200 inhabitants and in that year, under French laws, construction of the cemetery began and was completed in 1845.
On October 10, 1860 Popoli hosted King Vittorio Emanuele II on his way to Pescara. On March 17, 1861, the year of the unification of Italy, Popoli had 6145 inhabitants. After the unification of Italy, the town saw the development of the phenomenon of banditry, characterized by robbery and theft.
In 1884 the municipal aqueduct of Popoli was inaugurated for domestic use. On May 19, 1900 the City Council authorized the Mayor to appeal against the list of public waters in which the San Callisto and Capo Pescara rivers were inserted.
Popoli did not play an important role during the First World War, while the Second World War brought serious consequences to the town: on January 20, 1944 Popoli was bombed by the Royal Air Force. On March 22 of the same year a part of the city center was destroyed, with a significant number of victims. Despite this, Popoli was able to rise again in the years of the economic boom (1950-1960).
The town of Popoli is also famous for being the birthplace of Corradino D’Ascanio, the inventor of the “Vespa” and the helicopter. Nowadays Popoli hosts numerous events, including the “Certame de la Balestra” and the “Cronoscalata”.
Authors: Jacopo Galli and Antonio Antonucci (students of the Liceo Scientifico “A. di Savoia” in Popoli) as part of the work-school project.
Source: Adriano Ghisetti Giavarin, Popoli Città d’Arte e Natura.