Giovanni Andrea Serrao
Giovanni Andrea Serrao was an Italian intellectual and churchman of the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 who supported the Parthenopaean Republic
Parthenopaean Republic
The Parthenopean Republic was a French-supported republic in the territory of the Kingdom of Naples, formed during the French Revolutionary Wars after King Ferdinand IV fled before advancing French troops...

 of 1799.

Early life and ordination

Giovanni Andrea Serrao was born in Castel Monardo. Studying first in Castel Monardo, then in Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, he became friends with Antonio Genovesi
Antonio Genovesi
Antonio Genovesi was an Italian writer on philosophy and political economy.-Biography:Genovesi was born at Castiglione, near Salerno....

, Domenico Cirillo
Domenico Cirillo
Domenico Cirillo , Italian physician and patriot, was born at Grumo Nevano in the kingdom of Naples....

, Mario Pagano
Mario Pagano
Mario Pagano was an Italian controversial author, jurisconsult and man of letters.-Biography and works:...

 and Forges Davanzati. From 1758 to 1788 he wrote various works in Latin supporting the democratic concessions in the Papal States and opposing the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

. After a year of harsh polemics, he was nominated to be bishop of Potenza on 18 July 1783.


Finding himself in Rome waiting to take possession of his diocese, news reached him of the earthquake of 28 March 1783
1783 Calabrian earthquakes
The 1783 Calabrian earthquakes were a sequence of five strong earthquakes that hit the region of Calabria in southern Italy , the first two of which produced significant tsunamis. The epicenters form a clear alignment extending nearly 100 km from the Straits of Messina to about 18 km SSW...

 which had (among others) destroyed all the centres of Calabria, his native land. Despite having been debilitated by a fall, he urged his brothers to abandon the old and destroyed site of Castel Monardo and found a new one at a place to be named piano della Gorna. Elaborating the plan for the new town, outlined by his brother Francescantonio, he arranged for a new Pubblico Sedile to be set up in the central piazza at his family's expense and suggested the name of Filadelfia for the new town (drawing the idea from king Ferdinand IV of Naples).

Parthenopaean Republic

Taking an active part in the Parthenopaean Republic of 1799, the most illustrious figures in the new state wished him to become Commissario Civile in Potenza. On 24 February 1799 he was murdered in Potenza by some mercenaries of Cardinal Ruffo
Fabrizio Ruffo
Fabrizio Ruffo was an Italian cardinal and politician, who led the popular anti-republican Sanfedismo movement .-Biography:...

 and his head carried through the streets of the town.

Giovanni Andrea Serrao is mentioned in Dumas' novel La Sanfelice.


  • Forges-Davanzati, Giovanni Andrea Serrao, Bari, Laterza, 1937
  • Alexandre Dumas
    Alexandre Dumas, père
    Alexandre Dumas, , born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie was a French writer, best known for his historical novels of high adventure which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world...

    , La Sanfelice, Milano, Adelphi, 1999, due voll., ISBN 88-459-1433-X
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