PugliaRegione Puglia + LecceProvincia di Lecce 

The patron saint of Monteroni is Saint Anthony, celebrated on the first Sunday of August. It is celebrated on this date because in the XVII century the 13th of June was considered summer and no work was done. Since the farmers of Monteroni in that period were busy with the harvest, the patron saint’s festival was moved to the second Sunday of August.

Towards the end of the XVIII century a merchant from Monteroni, Pietro Putignano, gave to the community a precious silver statue of Saint Anthony. Since Pietro, a rich landowner, had not yet managed to dispose of the entire quantity of oil in the deposits, he vowed that he would donate a silver statue to the community if the Saint helped him to sell the product. Just as he was saying these words, some buyers showed up and ordered all the oil he owned.

The statue, of valuable workmanship, was made by the best Neapolitan silversmiths.
On 4th December 1876 six criminals stole the statue of the Saint with the intention of melting it down in order to obtain the silver. While they were fleeing on foot towards Lecce, after the crossroads for Arnesano, the statue became very heavy and they were forced to stop and abandon it on the roadside.

The criminals took away the statue of the Baby Jesus and the lily. The thieves made a blood pact: they swore solemnly that the last one to die would have to confess the theft. At first Vincenzo Cappello, former custodian of the Church, was blamed and remained in prison for six months.

When it was verified that he was not involved, Cappello was released on 21st September 1903 and people found out what really happened. Shortly before his death, Giuseppe Corallo, the last witness, named the accomplices of the insane act. Great was the astonishment of the Monteronesi when they found out that the organizer of the coup was Friar Angelo Bisconti, accompanied by Bernardo and Floriano Vernaleone, Francesco Podo and Francesco Zazzari from Francavilla.

Il sito istituzionale del Comune di Monteroni di Lecce è un progetto realizzato da Parsec 3.26 S.r.l.

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