|Comune di Battipaglia|
The medieval Castelluccio of Battipaglia, the town's most famous landmark
Battipaglia within the Province of Salerno
|Frazioni||Aversana, Santa Lucia Inferiore, Spineta|
|• Mayor||Cecilia Francese (Forza Italia)|
|• Total||56.85 km2 (21.95 sq mi)|
|Elevation||72 m (236 ft)|
|• Density||900/km2 (2,300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Patron saint||Our Lady of Hope|
|Saint day||July 2|
With a population of 51,032 as of 2018, it is the third most populous town of its province, after Salerno and Cava de' Tirreni. The city is mainly known for being one of the most important centers of production of buffalo mozzarella, as well as for the varied agricultural crops, which make it one of the most fruitful territories of the Sele plain (of which it is also the major industrial pole).
The area was given its modern name in 1080, when Robert Guiscard confirmed to the Catholic Church of Salerno the possession of lands between the Sele river and the Tusciano river. It is generally believed that the name 'Battipaglia' is formed by the union of the terms batti (to thresh) and paglia (to straw), owing to the activity of peasants in the past. However, some scholars hypothesize that the name could come from 'Baptipalla', which would indicate a place devoted to Voltumna, a chthonic Etruscan deity.
Battipaglia was officially created by Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies as an agricultural colony in 1858, as the Bourbon authorities chose the place as the site of an agricultural colony where families who had survived the 1857 Basilicata earthquake could be rehoused. It was eventually granted the status of independent municipality by a Royal Decree on March 28, 1929 (during the Mussolini Cabinet), comprising parts of the territories previously included in the municipalities of Eboli and Montecorvino Rovella.
In 1943, the town was severely bombed by U.S. aviators deployed during World War II, resulting in 117 civilian casualties. Although most of the town had been razed to the ground, in the aftermath of the conflict Battipaglia was rebuilt remarkably quickly, even attracting migratory currents from the hinterland seeking for a job. The town therefore experienced an outstanding increase in population between 1951 and 1960, turning into a dynamic industrial area.
In 1953, Battipaglia went under the spotlight of national and international media when its socialist mayor, Lorenzo Rago, was kidnapped and never found again, in spite of numerous searches by the police. In 1969, due to the concrete possibility that two large plants of sugar and tobacco — both employing a significant number of locals — would close, about half of the city gave life to a popular uprising, which would be calmed down few days later following the Italian government's commitment to keep them active. The few but intense days of social unrest — which took place in the context of a wider protest movement by students and workers in Italy and several other Western countries — eventually resulted in 2 victims.
Since the late 20th and early 21st century, the town's agricultural sector — the area is particularly known nationally for its flourishing dairy sector — has been joined by the technological one, several companies having established factories in the industrial district.
The municipality borders with Bellizzi, Eboli, Montecorvino Rovella, Olevano sul Tusciano and Pontecagnano Faiano. Its hamlets (frazioni) are Aversana, Santa Lucia Inferiore and Spineta. The town also includes the surrounding quarters of Sant'Anna, Serroni (Alto and Basso) and Taverna delle Rose.
The ethnic origins of the inhabitants are extremely varied. The first migration wave, beginning in the nineteenth century, led many people to move there from Melfi and neighboring municipalities. In the 1960s, the local population soared due to the influx of immigrants from bordering areas (including the towns of the Monti Picentini, Campagna, the valley of the river Sele and Cilento), mainly because of the job opportunities in the town's industry and the economic boom experienced by Italy in that historical period. Over the last two decades, the aforementioned have been joined by other groups, mainly northern and central Africans as well as Slavs, mainly southern and eastern.
Most of the town's wealth is due to the industrial, craft, and agricultural sectors.
A large number of local dairy companies produce the well-known local buffalo mozzarella (Mozzarella di bufala campana DOP), a famous form of which is called zizzona di Battipaglia ("Battipaglia boob") because of its similarity to a female breast. In addition to that, Battipaglia is a production area of Carciofo di Paestum (Paestum artichoke) IGP, annurca IGP, and tomato Fiaschello.
Among the most significant companies which established factories in Battipaglia are: Bonduelle (food), Prysmian (telecommunications cables), Sivam (animal husbandry), Cooper Standard Automotive (car parts), Nexans (electric cables), Crown, Deriblok (packaging), and Jcoplastic (plastic).
Every first Sunday of July the town's center is decked to the nines for three days on the occasion of the celebrating of Our Lady of Hope (Festa della Speranza). The big town market, whose atmosphere recalls an amusement park where traders can display their wares, lasts from Saturday to Monday, usually ending with a music exhibition in the central Piazza Amendola.
Battipaglia hosts a number of secondary schools, both public and private:
- Liceo scientifico “Enrico Medi”
- Istituto di Istruzione Superiore "Besta-Gloriosi" (istituto tecnico)
- Istituto di Istruzione Superiore "Enzo Ferrari" (istituto professionale)
- Istituto professionale alberghiero "Roberto Virtuoso"
- Istituto professionale per l'agricoltura Battipaglia
- Istituto Vittorio Alfieri (private)
- Istituto Robert Kennedy (private)
- Centro studi "Avvenire" (private)
- Il Battipagliese (press)
- L'Occhio di Salerno e Provincia (press)
- Spiffero (press)
- La Voce (press)
- Radio Booonzo (radio)
- Radio Castelluccio (radio)
- Radio Mania (radio)
- Radio CompromessiZero (radio)
- Sei TV (TV channel)
- Sud TV (TV channel)
- L. Rocco Carbone, Battipaglia, 70 anni nella sua storia, Massa Editore 1999.
- "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- (in Italian) Source: Istat 2018
- (in Italian) Origins and history of Battipaglia
- Italians Bury 2 Killed in Rioting; Prelate at Battipaglia Rites Asks Calm in Tense City
- 40609 Battipaglia on OpenStreetMap