In December of 2014, a memorial stone erected in Piazza degl'Arringhi states the following:
“In this square, Gaetano Cercone was guillotined…an early carbonaro, he sowed the seeds for freedom and unity in our country by dying at the age of 26."
Gaetano Cercone was a local calzolaio (shoemaker) born in 1788 in Piazza della Rosa to Pasquale (Marinaccia) Cercone and Maria Anna Grazia Pompeo. In 1809, 21-year-old Gaetano married 28-year-old Palma Rosa Giacinta Cercone (no relation). Over the next five-years, they had three children: Giuseppe (1810 - 1811), Giuseppe Sigismondo (1812 - 1812), and Donato Giuseppe (1813 - 1872). While two of their children died in infancy, their third son, Donato Giuseppe, a muratore (stonemason/bricklayer) lived to age 59 and had 17-children. Unfortunately, only five of Donato Giuseppe's children lived to adulthood.
In the early part of the 19th century, Gaetano became a member of the Carbonari, a secret political association organized for the purpose of changing the Italian government into a republic.
The 1814 Carbonari uprisings that took place in Abruzzo, especially within Città Sant'Angelo (Provincia di Pescara), had considerable repercussions in Pacentro, where a conspiracy was discovered to destroy the government of the King of Naples, Joachim Murat (brother-in-law of Emporer Napoleon I). The goal of this failed uprising was to return Ferdinand IV of Bourbon as the King of Italy.
Among the Carbonari arrested were the following Pacentrani: Felice Lucci, Giacomo d'Amino, Tommaso Amicangelo, Pasquale Cercone, Bernardo Battaglini, Francesco Sant’Eufemia, Domenicantonio La Rocca, Giuseppe Mancini, and Gaetano Cercone (most were farmers and shepherds with Gaetano as the only tradesman). On December 3, 1814 at 6 p.m. in Piazza degl'Arringhi (the present day Piazza Umberto I), Gaetano Cercone was beheaded. His sacrifice is commemorated with a well-deserved plaque!
While Gaetano had only one child who lived beyond infancy, he has many descendants within and beyond the village of Pacentro.