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Archaeological Site

The Owners of the Villa, Piniano and Melania

Piniano Valerio Severo, a nobleman whose ancestors had for many years covered significant political positions, married Melania Valeria Massima, the last in line and therefore sole heir of the immense wealth belonging to her family. The land owned by the Valeri family extended from Spain, to Africa, Britannia, Gaul, Sicily, Campania, Apulia, Gallia Cispadana and Gallia Transpadana (northern Italy). The two branches of the Valeri family combined their fortunes with this marriage that was celebrated in 397 A.D.

In 403, on the advice of Saint Augustine, Paolino di Nola and Jerome, Piniano and Melania decided to sell their properties and liberate their slaves. They then moved to Jerusalem where they built monasteries. They both died in Jerusalem, Piniano in 432 and Melania in 439. Their names appear in the Catalogue of Saints from the 5th century onwards. The Church celebrates their feast day on the 31 December.

... it won't be possible to establish a definite link between the Late Antiquity villa, the Rotunda Church at Palazzo Pignano and the noble Valeri family, until archaeologists find an inscription with the name of the wealthy owners of this villa at Palazzo Pignano.

... nonetheless, by handing over their possessions and their lands at Palazzo Pignano to the Monastery of Saint Savino in Piacenza, Piniano and Melania have found their place in history books and the legends of this area. They gave us the possibility to admire and come to know what time, circumstances and often man's carelessness have often erased in many other places that are similar to this very special place during some 1600 years!