Challenge of the Blunderbussiers

In faraway 1640 more than 500 armed inhabitants of Cava rushed spontaneously to the aid of King Ferdinand I of Aragon. The Angevin troops were furious but the gratitude of the Aragonese was certainly no less. And so, every year during the first week of July, the “Challenge of the Blunderbussiers” (Disfida dei Trombonieri) takes place. The celebration recalls the intervention of the inhabitants of Cava in the Battle of Sarno. On the 7th July1460 in fact, eight hundred inhabitants of Cava rushed to the aid of the Spanish king Ferdinand I of Aragon, known as Ferrante, who was about to be taken over by the Angevin troops of king John of Angiò who wanted to overthrow the Aragonese reign. The people of Cava, led by the Longo brothers, attacked the enemy from the mountain that dominates the Foce area.

The battle, which continued to the next day, saved the Aragonese kingdom as the enemy abandoned the battlefield.

The Angevin troops attacked the city of Cava to avenge the inhabitants. King Ferdinand had to send help through Amalfi. On the 31st July, King Ferrante sent a letter to the “Università de la Cava” (local government) in which he declares his willingness to grant all requests made by his friends in Cava. Later on, in September, as the town had not yet asked for anything, the King of Aragon delivered a second letter into the hands of the then mayor Onofrio Scannapieco, in which he reconfirmed his immense gratitude to the City of Cava and gave Mayor Scannapieco a blank parchment with the imperial seal and signature so that the people of Cava could request whatever they wanted.

The parchment, however, was never filled in and is still kept intact in the Town Hall and is now the coveted prize for the “Challenge of the Blunderbussiers”.

This is a celebration in which the eight Groups of Blunderbussiers from the four Districts compete. It attracts a large number of spectators from Cava and elsewhere who come to share the joy of commemorating this great historic moment with us.