The Borghi’s History

Today we will talk about the “Borghi“. We will explain their history, what they are and how they developed through the centuries.


What are the borghi?

The Borghi are fortified settlements that have developed over the centuries around or within the walls of a castle or a fortified military fortress.

These were mainly built of brick or stone.

Borgo of Civitella del Tronto

What is the difference between borgo and borghi?

The word Borgo is used to indicate a single village or town. Borghi is used to indicating more than one.

Basically, borgo is the singular name instead Borghi is the plural one.

When were the borghi built?

This happened mainly between the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

At the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, Italy was invaded by the barbarians who plundered and destroyed all the settlements found on their way.

The populations of the time took refuge in easy-to-defend and secluded places, most commonly they chose hills and mountainous or rocky areas. Over the years these fortifications almost took the form of real castles until they turned into what we know today as Borghi.

Borgo of Pacentro

How many Borghi exist in the world today?

At present we do not know how many borghi exist. What we can say is that in Italy there are more than 300 Borghi. Some have been fortified militarily over the centuries and some unfortunately no longer have the original walls. Some are in perfect condition, some have unfortunately been abandoned.

Is there always a church in the borghi?

The Catholic religion has been part of European history for thousands of years so churches were built in every borgo. In many Borghi there is even more than one church. Most of the time Borghi with less than one thousand inhabitants may have two or three churches.

The churches are real open-air museums. They represent the typicality of the Borghi and most of the time they give that extra touch with their magnificent bell towers.

Nobody can imagine a borgo without a church.

Did you know that the word middle class derives from borgo?

Bourgeoisie/Middle class comes from the Latin word burgensis. The “bourgeoisie” indicates the social class that lived in the Borghi, that is, the neighborhoods and inhabited centers that rose outside the city walls.

And from which word borgo does it come from?

The word derives from the Greek πύργος (pýrgos, “tower”, “fortress”), or from the Germanic burgs (“fortified city”, “castle”).

Borgo Fortress of Civitella del Tronto

Why do the borghi attract the interest of unknownplaces?

The overwhelming majority of us know the history studied at school or the most striking facts that occurred in the past centuries. These for various reasons have always occurred in large cities or places of international importance.

The history of these small pearls, on the other hand, tends to be forgotten for various needs despite the presence of numerous archaeological finds, historical facts or buildings of historical interest.

We aim to make you discover and introduce you to these little big realities that have a lot to say and a lot to tell. Very often more than one might think.

For example: did you know that in Sant’Omero there is the oldest church in Abruzzo? Or did you know that Torano Nuovo was already known in Roman times for its excellent wine?

History still has a lot to tell….


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