The Knight of Lettere – Giovanni Domenico Sorrentino
At the Castle of Lettere, there is a small museum that tells the story of the Siege of 1528. Inside that museum is a coat of arms that belongs to the Knight Sorrentino, a man of Lettere and a naval hero who captured a Turkish gallery during the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lepanto )
Knight Giovanni Domenico Sorrentino was the son of Giacomo Sorrentino, Baron of Cirigliano, a small village in Basilicata. Giacomo Sorrentino was born in Lettere during the time that Miroballo family were the Counts of Lettere and Gragnano. He was educated in Naples and was proclaimed a great advocate for Naples. Not only was he a great advocate for Naples, but he was also a great advocate for his homeland of Lettere. During his life, Giacomo amassed a great deal of wealth – nearly 60,000 ducats, in today’s value that would equal to $11,000,000 USD or € 9,000,000.
Nearing the end of his life, Giacomo Sorrentino returned to his homeland of Lettere, where he decided to build a great Palazzo off the main square of Lettere, (Piazza Roma). The Palazzo he built is still in existence, however, it is now part of Monastero del Santo Rosario. (It was later purchased by the Fusco and Fattorosi families and donated to monastery)
Giacomo Sorrentino was buried in a crypt in the Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Giovanni_Maggiore,_Naples ).
Upon Giacomo’s death, his only remaining son, Giovanni Domenico, inherited his father’s vast fortune. His older brother, Francesco Antonio Sorrentino had already died tragically. Before his father’s death, Giovanni Domenico Sorrentino was the Abbot of three monasteries. Once he inherited his father’s fortune, he left his religious studies and moved to Rome. Where he purchased his own grand Palazzo and befriended the famous Farnese family. He was able to gain Knighthood by donating his family’s three abbeys to Cardinal Farnese. In the end, unfortunately, Giovanni Domenico wasted his father’s fortune and ended up poor, returning to live in Lettere, in the Palazzo his father had built on the square.
In the Codice Fattorosi, author Paolo Fattorosi describes Knight Sorrentino as extremely tall, good looking and with good manners, and was also a great speaker.
You can read more about Giacomo, Giovanni Domenico, Francesco and Alessio Sorrentino in the pages of the Codice Fattorosi on Pages 71 to 90…
Codice Fattorosi – Archivio di Lettere