Brigands of Valle San Giovanni
Beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries, Valle San Giovanni witnessed a number of brigand skirmishes, these arising from struggles over control of the surrounding forest areas. At least a few of these brigands were themselves local townsfolk.
In 1603 the Marquis Baltassarre Caracciolo, had three of these brigands executed in an effort to put an end once and for all to the ongoing rivalries arising at that time. In 1682, two groups of brigands again fought acrimoniously for control of the land surrounding Valle San Giovanni. One such battle lasted six days and came to an end only when soldiers from Teramo were summoned to put an end to the conflict. Just one year later, in 1683, the town was sacked and almost completely destroyed by Don Alfonso di Villaparte in an attempt to capture the famous brigand, Santuccio Di Froscia, who for years had been terrorizing the countryside.
In 1799 a group of soldiers from Valle San Giovanni, under the leadership of the brigand leader, Vincenzo Rolli, fought valiantly against the French occupying forces. In 1809 the French Napoleonic forces, who would rule for ten years under the Kingdom of Naples, chose Valle San Giovanni as the center of vast communal territory which included the ex feudal states of Frunti, Valle Piola, Abetemozzo, Borgonovo e Poggio Rattieri.
Brigands again appeared in central and southern Italy during the early years of its unification. Again, several of these individuals were from Valle San Giovanni. An official 1860 report details the governmental efforts to combat this threat to the elected powers that be: