History of Carpino

See Carpino guide for highlights and historic monuments

We know that Carpino, over the centuries, was in turn the domain of the Normans, the Angevin and the Aragonese.

The Normans were responsible for the construction of the Castle, which overhangs the Old Town with its imposing size. In fact between 1150 and 1160 they extended their domination over the northern side of Gargano, so they built the first tower as a sign of possession of the territory, followed by the construction of the castle and the defensive wall system to protect the village.

After the Swabians, Carpino was ruled for over a century and a half by the Della Marra, and then the Di Sangro of Torremaggiore possessed it for about a decade.

In the 17th century the lords of Carpino were the de Vargas, then the last feudal lords of the town were the Brancaccio.

Today Carpino is a small town with an economic life based on cultural tourism and agriculture - in particular one of the most renowned olive oils in the area is produced here.

Origins of the name Carpino

As Regards  the etymology, it is generally accepted that "Carpino" comes from "Carpinus”, a tree that grows lush in the Gargano area. Given that Carpino is of medieval  origin (it was founded by Frederick II of Swabia (1194-1250) who allowed some deserters to live in that place), and that the medieval topography is closely linked to the physical conformation of the territory, it is extremely likely that Carpino comes from "Carpinus”.

Among other things, linguistic studies confirm the hypothesis. According to the "Studi Etruschi”, the Latin word ‘Carpinus’ has its roots in" Karp "(stone):

"'Carpinus' can be traced to the same basic 'Karp' and to the pre-Indo-European term "Karbo” (oak) and "Karpo" (hornbeam), two terms that are "interpreted as a 'tree of rock '" [1].

The etymology of "Carpinus" as the "tree of rock" is appropriate for the territory where the small town is located, characterized  by a landscape with the rivers that flow through:

"[...] the Cagnano and Carpino 'rocky' Valley, running to the North and flow into the lake Varano [...]" [2].

According to this etymology, Carpino would mean therefore a "city born among the hornbeams in a rocky area."

Also we mention here some other hypothesis. A second proposal is based on the fact that Carpino derives from the Roman family name "Carpius", followed by the suffix "anus", linked to the fact that near Carpino there is a stream that has the same name,  "Carpino", which in turn, according to G. Devoto, refers to a noble Roman name "Carpius", "Carpi-anus",  and "Carpianus requires a noble Latin 'Carpius'" [3].

However, even this reference to “Carpius” is not much different from the concept of "rock", as "Carpius" has its roots in “Kerp”. In fact C. Santoro explains that:

" ‘Carpius’, ‘carpia’  has at  its base “Kerp” (...) with the semantic value of ‘stone’” [4].

Another hypothesis, perhaps interesting and plausible, says that Carpino was quoted in 1158 under the name of "Castellum Caprelis", which refers to the presence of many deer in the area. Indeed, in that document, published by P. Migne we read:

" [...] In the Bishopric of  Vieste [are located] the church of St. Tecla, the church of St. Eugenia and the church of St. Luca with their appurtenances, the church of St. Peter and St. Mary next to the "Castellum Caprelis" with its appurtenances” [5].

See the Carpino detailed travel guide if planning a visit.


1. See "Studi Etruschi," Rinascimento del Libro”, 1936, Vol. 10: 177-187

2. See T. Pensini, "Monografia Generale del Territorio Gargano”, 1858:  140

3. see G. Devoto, " Scritti Minori ", Le Monnier, 1972:  228

4. See C. Santoro, "Nuovi Studi Messapici”, 1983:  108

5. “Patrologiae Cursus Completus”, Tomus CLXXXVIII, 1863:  1609