The civic coat of arms
of Morciano di Leuca has a white background and it represents a fortress. In
past a lot of people of the near casali used to keep their goods here, so
the toponym might derive from the Latin "merx mercis", meaning a place where to
keep the goods. Nevertheless some historians advocate that the first village was
founded after the destruction of the near casale of Vereto in the IX
century, that was attacked by the terrible Saracens coming from northern Africa.
Probably these refugees were attracted by the good climate and the fertility of
the lands. The first historical news about this village are dated 1190, when
the Norman king Tancredi of Altavilla gave the feud to Sinibaldo Sambiasi. When
Tancredi died in 1194, the Swabians took over and governed until 1266. Later
it wa governed by the Angevins and in the XIII century by Riccardo de Murchano.
In the XIV century the feud was divided into three parts ruled by Peregrino De
Murchano, Rinaldo Sambiasi and the Sangiorgio family. The feud was unified and
given to Gualtiero IV of Brienne, feudal vassal of Florence and Duke of Athens.
He was succeeded by the Capece family. In the XV century the centre had acquired
from the Antoglietta and, in succession, from the Sambiasi. The XVI
century was a terrible period because Morciano and other villages of the
Salento were invaded by the Algerians, the Saracens and the Turks. The most
terrible attack was that of the pirate Ariadeno Barbarossa , who in
1537conquered several villages along the coast, including Morciano. Also his
wicked child Dragut was a fierce pirate as his father. The last vassals were
the Castromedianos and during their domination Morciano became a Dukedom (1642).
They governed until 1806. Morciano di Leuca was first a frazione of Patù, and
only in 1849 it became a commune. One of the most important local people is
Angelo Fusco: he lived in the XVII century and was a good priest and an
appreciated theologian. He also became Canon regular at the cathedral of Lecce.
Francesco Carbone lived in the XVI century and, after graduating at the
University of Padua he became a brilliant doctor and even the Viceroy of Naples
asked him to work at his Court. Nicola Angelo De Blasio graduated in Law and
became an excellent lawyer. He wrote many works and the most important is a
treatise on the Roman Law. Angelo Thio was born in 1519 and he studied at Padua
University where he became an appreciated philosopher and taught. He died when
he was only 40 years old because of a terrible illness. Giovanni Andrea De
Ippolitis was an appreciated physician, very famous in all the Salento. He died
in the XVII after writing several scientific works.
Thank to Diving Service (Morciano di Leuca) for their kind collaboration.