ABRUZZO FOOD AND WINE TOURS 2008
PESCOCOSTANZO, wrought iron, pillow lace and jeweller's artsA great tourist destination both in summer and winter, Pescocostanzo can fulfill the needs of lovers of nature, art, traditions. The small town lies on the slope of Mont Calvario, on the border of the Cinquemiglia plateau, where other nice Abruzzese villages are located (Rivisondoli, Roccaraso, Rocca Pia). It is undoubtedly interesting the presence of the handicraft tradition brought in 1456, after a terrible earthquake, by the diaspora of Lombardic skilled workers. Still flourishing is this great cultural heritage. The "pescolana" is a renowned variation of the "presentosa", the traditional Abruzzese jewel, and the art of tombolo (pillow lace) is greatly developed. The inhabitants are also stone carvers and wrought iron workers. On the doors of many ancient houses there are still Latin inscriptions, customized for each family. This great cultural prominence for such a small place can be explained on the fact that Pescocostanzo was a "Universitas", largely independent of feudal oppression, for a very long time of its history, which led to a great pride and welfare for its citizens.
The economy was based in the past on cattle and sheep raising since early times, and the wealth derived from the cattle trade favoured the development of crafts and arts. The climate made the inhabitants strong, and this led to a great longevity. There is mention of a Rocco d'Alessandro, living there in 1622, who was 120 years old!
Great names in the history of Pescocostanzo were Davide Coccopalmeri, Archbishop of Malta in the late 15th century, Ottavio Colecchi, a philosopher and mathematician, benedetto Vulpes, a great doctor and scientist.
Among the most important sights of Pescocostanzo, we can mention the Church of Santa Maria del Colle ("La Collegiata"), that is the ancient parish church built in the 11th century, with five naves, wooden ceiling encarved in gold, a chapel closed by a wrought-iron gate, a masterpiece by local artist Sante Di Rocco, and a great wealth of statues and engraved pieces. Other important monuments are the Church of Gesù and Maria, founded in 1611 by Franciscan friars and the Monastery of Santa Scolastica. Wonderful buildings are also the home of Ottavio Colecchi, one of the most famous children of this land and some beautiful Renaissance palaces, each gorgeaus in its own way, of the rich families of the past: Grilli, Coccopalmeri, Ricciardelli, Colecchi, D'Amata, Schieda etc. Just outside the village stands the natural reserve of the majestic Bosco di Sant'Antonio, with its centuries-old impressive beech trees, in the territory of the Maiella National Park.
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