Introduction to the village of Flavon

Street scene - Flavon

Village of Flavon, Trentino, Italy - street scene

The villages of Flavon, Cunevo, and Terres comprise the area within Trentino’s Val di Non known as “il Conta”. This name is derived from the ancient area controlled by the Counts of Flavon. Located 35 kilometers north of the city of Trento, Flavon was historically an agricultural community and is well know for apple growing.

A census taken in the 1790’s noted that most residents were “contadini”, but also noted the presence of weavers, carpenters, masons, cobblers, millers, tailors, and merchants, along with one doctor, 3 midwives, and 3 priests. From an estimated population of 260 people in the year 1596, it is still a small village of less than 600 residents.

Name Origin: The Latin forms Flaonum and Flaon have been found in documents dating to the year 1295. A theory as to the origin of the name has been attributed to the noted historian Ausserer, who believed that the name originated during the Roman era, possibly after a Roman named Flavius. Others believe that the name is derived from geographic characteristics. In 1926, during excavation for a house, bricks and relics were found which are believed to be from the Longobard era.

Rustic War: Villagers of Flavon, Terres, and Cunevo took part in the “Rustic War” of 1525. As a result of the suppression of the rebellion by troops of the Count of Tyrol and the Prince-Bishop in 1525, the villagers were required to pay the sum of 200 fiorini to the Prince. Half of the payment was to be made during the feast of St. Gallo, and the other half during the feast of the purification of Virgin Mary (February 1526). The payment was for the purpose of reimbursing the nobles and others for the expenses and damages related to the conflict. In addition, the Austrian government ordered that 25 soldiers be maintained at Castel Flavon.

Toll house — during at least the year 1725, a toll house existed outside Flavon, the tolls from which benefited the Counts of Spaur.

Fire — On 16 August 1802, a fire destroyed a major part of nearby Terres. The following day, an even worse fire broke out in Flavon, reducing most of the village to ashes. Traditionally, the cause of the fire was thought to be ashes smoldering in the belongings brought to Flavon by residents of Terres fleeing the fire there. One of the documents that survived the fire showed the existence of a school in Flavon dating to at least 1782.

Cholera — The first case of cholera in Flavon broke out on 28 August 1855. Within the space of 43 days, 36 residents lost their lives to this disease. Vincenzo Poda, the village doctor, ordered that the burials take place outside the village limits. The area known as “Spinzoi” was chosen. Today, the area is covered by fields, and the cemetery is no longer visible.

Government — Although a form of “Carta di Regola” existed in Flavon since the 13th century, it was an oral system not put into written form until 1760. The village was governed by two “Regolani” elected for one-year terms.

World War I — In mid-1914, the Austrian government issued a general mobilization order, requiring all able-bodied men between the ages of 21 and 42 to report for military duty. The following spring, the order was extended to men aged 18-20 and 43-50. Leaving their families, many of the conscriptees were sent to Serbia and Russia. Not all returned – Flavon lost 24 of its residents as a result of the war’s activities.

Flavon street scene c. 1925

Flavon street scene - c. 1930

Church and Religion:  The presence of a church in Flavon is likely as old as the village itself. The local church in Flavon was administered by a “pievano” or priest entrusted with the control of more than one parish. This “pievano” was also responsible for the parishes of Cunevo and Terres. The original ancient chapel today serves as the belltower for the current church – S. Giovanni Battista. Although the church was reconstructed in the year 1537 and there are frescos dating back to the year 1485 on the older walls of the church, documents have been found dating to 1248. The main altar dates to the 17th century, and bears 16th century statues.

Castel (Castle) La Santa: The first written reference to Castel La Santa, originally called “dossa di Pietra Cucca”, and used by ancient religous cults, is in the year 1264. An Augustinian monastary was constructed on the site, and dedicated to S. Maria Maddalena. Subsequently, the religious activities at La Santa was ceded to the Teutonic order. The property containing La Santa went through many hands. Originally part of the fiefdom of the noble Spaur family, it was transferred to one of the JOB (IOB) lines in the last half of the 1700’s. At that time, the castle was already uninhabited and inaccessible. In the latter part of the 1700’s (approx. 1784), the castle was scaled and explored by a stonemason from Como, who found halls and rooms still existing. Shortly thereafter, the roof collapsed, and the castle was completely abandoned.

During the excavation for the construction of a house for one of the PODA families, the ruins of a small chapel were discovered. The chapel, which at one time was adjacent to the properties of the Counts Spaur, was dedicated to St. Valentino and contained an altar consecrated in the year 1509.

In 2005, during an excavation under the existing church of St. Giovanni Battista, ruins of an earlier church dating to the 16th century were discovered along with two tombs dating to that era.

Resources:

Flavon Nel Conta’ Attraverso I Secoli, by Vittorio Asson (a history of Flavon and details of many families – in Italian)

Il Conta’: Note di Storia, Economia, Cultura, e Cronaca su Flavon, Terres, e Cunevo by Vittorio Asson (history, culture, and lifestyles of the village – in Italian)

Il Conta’: Note di Storia, Economia, Cultura, e Cronaca su Flavon, Terres e Cunevo by Vittorio Asson, Pub. Casa Rurale di Flavon

Related posts:  Village of Flavon – Common Surnames

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