Modern history of Vasto

Vasto, la storia moderna

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The barbarians invade VastoFrom the barbarian invasions to post second world war

After the decline of the Western Roman Empire, the city also started to decline, passing first to the Ostrogoths, then the Byzantines and finally the Lombards. It then become part of the Duchy of Benevento, before being conquered by the Franks in 802. It then returned, in the subsequent years, to the Lombard duchy of Benevento, and was rebuilt as a fortified town on the old ruins. Between the 13th and the 19th century it was part of, along with the rest of the region, the Empire of Naples (which, after the union of the Kingdom of Sicily, it became known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies).

Alfonso D'Avalos Marchese of VastoIn the Angevin period the city became part of the Caldora estate, passing, soon after the emergence of a Aragonese dynasty, to the d'Avalos (end of the 15th century) who built the Palazzo D'Avalos, which was later destroyed by the Turks (16th century). In 1710 Vasto was finally given the title of City. Up until the creation of the Kingdom of Italy (1861) Vasto was a part of Abruzzo citeriore. In 1938, because Mussolini desired it, Vasto was officially renamed Istonio, in homage to the Latin name that was used as part of the Roman Empire, to only then return to the name of Vasto in 1944, after the liberation of the city. In 1940-1943 on the coast of Vasto (Istonio Marina) there was a concentration camp for anti-fascists and Slavs.

Post second world war, between February and June 1956, Vasto was devasted by a series of landslides caused by heavy rain and snow. A part of one of the oldest districts in the town collapsed and slid down into the sea. Several public and religious buildings of great architectual value were destroyed, including the church of Saint Peter, built in the middle ages, as well as one hundred and fifty private homes. An immediate evacuation of the area at risk after the first landslide on 22 February 1956 avoided any civilian casualities.

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