Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – U-Z

Venafro (IS): A commune in the province of Isernia. Population: 11,514 (2006e).

vendetta: (from the Latin vindicta = revenge). A feud, or often a blood-feud, between families or factions. Although often thought to be a particularly “Italian” or “Sicilian” tradition, such practices were common in societies lacking a strong central government. Such feuds were sparked when a family or clan felt itself insulted or wronged.

Venetico (ME): A commune in the province of Messina.

Venosa (PZ): A commune in the province of Potenza.

Venticano (AV): A commune in the province of Avellino. Population: 2,602 (2006e).

Ventignano, Cesare Della Valle (duke of): (b. Feb. 9, 1777, at Naples). Author. His first published work, “Vesuvius” (1810), was a poem in 5 cantos. Later works included “Lalage in the Studio of Casanova” (1812) and many tragedies. One of these, Mohammed (aka The Siege of Corinth), was adapted to music by Rossini. In 1830, he turned his attention to political economy, publishing several works on the subject. He published several later works of poetry, commentaries, and comical plays poking fun at the aristocratic class to which himself belonged.

Ventimiglia di Sicilia (PA): A commune in the province of Palermo.

Ventura, G.D. Gioachino: (b. Dec. 8, 1792, in Palermo; d. Aug. 3, 1861, in Versailles). Orator and theologian. Initially educated by the Jesuits in Palermo, he switched to the Theatine order after the suppression of the Jesuits. Becoming a talented preacher, he rose through the ranks of the order, becoming general secretary. He also served as censor of the press and became a member of the royal council of public instruction for the kingdom of Naples. It was in this last position that he introduced the new Catholic philosophy of France into Italy. In 1824, he became general of the Theatine order and moved to Rome. He was deeply involved in the public affairs of the Church. In 1848, he became involved in the revolutionary ideas, favoring the creation of a federation of Italian states, overseen by the pope. While not completely favoring the cause of the Roman Republic, he regretted the attack on Rome by General Oudinot. He left Rome and eventually retired to France, where he spent the remainder of his life.

Venusia: A city of ancient Apulia.

Vesuvius: According to one theory, the name for the mountain derives from a pre-Celtic root element ves (= “mountain”). Another theory, however, states that the name comes from the Oscan word vesf (= “smoke” or “steam”), referring to its volcanic nature.

Verbicaro (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: 3,387 (2006e).

Vernole (LE): A commune in the province of Lecce. Population: 7,535 (2006e).

Vertinae: An ancient town in ancient Bruttium. Its exact location is unknown but it is believed to lie within the confines of the modern province of Cosenza. The name is related to the Indo-European root root *uert- (‘to turn, wind’).

Verzino (KR): A commune in the province of Crotone. Population: 2,177 (2006e)

Vescia: A town of the ancient Aurunci mentioned by Livy and Cicero. It was situated in the modern province of Caserta, in northern Campania, but its exact location remains uncertain.

Vestini: An ancient people related to the Sabines who inhabited parts of northern Abruzzo.

Viagrande (CT): A commune in the province of Catania. Population: 7,402 (2006e).

Vibonati (SA): A commune in the province of Salerno.

Vibo Valentia, Province of: A province of Calabria. Population: 167,628 (2007e).

Vibo Valentia (anc. Hipponion, Vibo Valentia, Vibona Balentia; med. Monteleone) (VV): A provincial capital in Calabria. Its name it thought to has been of pre-Greek origins. It was hellenized to Hipponion by the Greeks because of its similarity to their word for horse (=hippo).

Vibullius, Quintus: (full name: Quintus Vibullius Q.F.Q.N.). See Gaius Cincius.

Vicari (PA): A commune in the province of Palermo.

Vico, Giovanni Battista: (b. 1668, in Naples; d. Jan. 20, 1744). Critic, jurist, and historian. Although well-educated by the Jesuits and extremely knowledgeable law, he chose neither a religious nor legal career. After a long career as a professor of rhetoric, he was fortunate enough to become royal historiographer in 1735. Vico believed that such fields as theology, law, mythology, philology and philosophical history were all parts of one great science. By studying philology it was possible, according to his theories, to recognize the similarities in widely separated cultures. He felt that this proved the existence of a divine intellect which had existed prior to creation which had an “eternal idea of the history of mankind.” Thus, through the study of history it was possible to get an understanding of the nature of the divine.