Thanks to the several Roman findings, such as epigraphs, coins and a funerary monument, it is possible to state with certainty that the ancient “Petra” was located in the middle of a territory rich in villas and farms.
The earliest document stating the existence of a village named Peturiolo (in Latin) belongs to the powerful Abbot Farfa, and it dates from 957. Later, Peturiolo was acquired by the Bishop of the city of Fermo. Then, in 977 he decided to sell it to a count, Count Mainardo.
In the following centuries, Mainardo’s descendants took the name “De’ Nobili”; they stayed for more than two centuries in the castle built in about 1119 to fortify Petriolo.
In 1264, Manfred, King of Sicily, hit Petriolo and its lords heavily, because of their choice to side against the Ghibellines, the faction supporting the Holy Roman Emperor. The Castle was partially destroyed, then it was annexed to Monte dell’Olmo, the area located in the neighboring village of Corridonia.
In 1341 the Castle was sold to the city of Fermo; its lordship lasted for a long time, until 1808, when the emperor Napoleon Bonaparte started to reign in Italy.
Thanks to the Papal Restoration in 1815, Petriolo was acquired in the Apostolic Delegation of the City of Macerata. Then, after the Unification of Italy (1861), Petriolo became one of the 57 municipalities belonging to the Province of Macerata.
In the nineteenth century, during World War II, Petriolo sadly hosted an internment camp for women in Villa Salvini Catalani (locality of Castelletta).
The Origins of the name “Petriolo”
Some historians have linked the word “Petra” to the presence of water and stones (“pietre”, in Italian), widespread in the village.
Another theory argues that the name comes from the solphurous spring located in the hill facing the Cremone river, which represents the natural border with a neighboring village, Mogliano.
The oily consistency of water in this area recalls the “petroleum”, word from which Petriolo could derivate.
Anyway, the most accredited hypothesis is the one linking the name Petriolo to the deformation of the Latin word “Praetoriolum”, the Praetor’s villa, lying in the close Roman city of Urbs Salvia (nowadays called Urbisaglia).