Orsomarso is located in the Western spurs of the Calabrian Apennines, in the Argentino river valley, near the confluence of the Argentino and Lao rivers. The town has promoted the initiative of planting a tree for each newborn baby. Orsomarso has probably Romanic origins. A military defensive fortress was built in the Lao river valley, and Achaean, Etruscan and Greek merchants and travelers crossed the valley. It cannot be thus excluded that passing people could have reached the back country and Orsomarso area. Evidences of the period include the Romanic-style broken column (sacrifice pedestal) standing behind the Church of SS Salvatore, a twisted column at the entrance of the Church back door, the portal and the carvings in the column. Mercure area was a remarkably important Romanic center first for commercial exchanges and later for the Basilian monasticism. The name, that derives from the god Mercury, was changed into Mercurion by the Basilian monks. 

During the 10th century, important saints, including Saint Nilus and Saint Fantinus the Younger, visited the area. During Turkish raids, a fortress for the protection of the Basilian Abbeys was built at the confluence of the Argentino and Porta La Terra rivers. One of the commanders was Ursus Marcius, and the hamlet rising around the fortress was called after him. It was also assumed that the name of the town derived from monte orrido, referred to its location. It cannot be excluded, however, that the term Orsomarso derived from a bear (Italian orso) who sheltered in a wood owned by a family named Marzo or Marzio. In fact, documents from the 13th century on report different terms, Ursomarcius, Ursomarzo, that were finally changed into the current Orsomarso. 

The development of the built area was not gradual, because groups of houses were erected around monasteries or important buildings. From the Middle Ages on, following the cultural recovery by the Byzantine monasticism, the Orsomarso area was subject to different vicissitudes. It was confiscated to Barnaba Sanseverino, count of Lauria, in 1498 and sold by Frederick II to Perrotto Bisach who gave it as a dowry to his daughter Barbara. In 1538 the fief passed to Count Silvestro Tomacello Ferrante di Alarçon, marquis of Rende. In 1613 the fiefs of Orsomarso and Abatemarco were sold by Sanseverino to Gianpietro Greco. In 1640 it was a possession of the Ametrano family. In 1668 the fief was given to Andrea I Brancati from Napoli. The baron castle located under the town clock and walls, was the residence of the Brancati family. The Brancati’s fief was rented out to Vespasiano Giovene, Duke of Girasole, and to Nicola Cavalcanti, marquis of Verbicaro. By the French administrative regulations, provided for by the law dated January 19th 1807, Orsomarso became a Luogo of the Government of Verbicaro. By a law dated 1811, that established local municipalities and districts, Orsomarso was under the jurisdiction of Scalea, and later, during the Bourbon Kingdom, under the jurisdiction of Verbicaro.

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Ultimo aggiornamento: Dec 27, 2023 4:07 PM