Guardiagrele, Province of Chieti, Abruzzo
Other Sections on Abruzzo
- Altitude: 580 m a.s.l
- Distance from Chieti: 28 km
- Population: ca. 9500 inhabitants in 2010
- Postal code: 66016
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0871
- How to reach it: by road, SS 81 from Chieti, SS 84 from Lanciano; by motorway, A25 exit Chieti, A14 exit Val di Sangro.
History - Antiquity
History - the Middle Ages and Modern Times
It enjoyed great fortune thanks to its boundary location between the territory of the Marrucini with capital Chieti and that of the Frentani with capital Lanciano; Guardiagrele was a market centre where peasants, cattle-breeders and farmers came to sell their produce and to buy tools for their work and homes. Apart from Nicola da Guardiagrele this special town gave birth to many more famous figures, such as poet Modesto Della Porta.
Nicola from Guardiagrele
Another great work is the altar piece called "Paliotto" (1448; Teramo Cathedral) with scenes from the Life of Christ. The Annunciation (Florence, Bargello) attributed to Nicola and his bust of St. Giustino (Chieti Cathedral) are examples of Nicola's activity as a goldsmith-sculptor, but he is most famous for his processional crosses. They are made of silver sheets that are chased, embossed and attached to a wooden support, often decorated along the edges with small copper balls. The figures are sometimes very complex, and characterized by a great variety of execution, as for example the Christ on the cross in L'Aquila (Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo) and the finely carved figures of the gilded silver cross in St John in Laterano (Rome).
What to see
- The church of Santa Maria Maggiore: The asymmetrical facade in Majella stone is divided into three levels with a portal, a huge window in the middle section and a rose window in the top. The belltower dates back to the XIII century, and is one of the oldest in Abruzzo. The interior is Baroque, and comprises a Museum of Sacred History, with the remains of the celebrated silver cross by Nicola da Guardiagrele, dismembered and stolen in 1979.
- The church of San Francesco, with a fine 14th-century sarcophagus
- The Tomb of war hero Andrea Bafile, at the end of Bocca di Valle, decorated with ceramics works by Basilio and Tommaso Cascella.
- Traditional dishes of the guardiese tradition are soups with Majella herbs and farro, "tranette" with lard, lamb with spice, lettuce and zucchini, ricotta and honey cake, apples and melon for fruit, the typical pastry called "tre monti" and the braciole.
- The "Sise delle Monache", available in the two pastry shops along via Roma, a special cake with three points, also called "Tre Monti", whose recipe is still a secret; but also other cakes as torroni and the candied fruits, maritozzi, "sospiri" (sighs), salted cookies called "pasticcie", fiadoncini made with cheese and eggs, or "strozzacavalli" to accompany with a good Montepulciano wine.
- In the butcher's shops are available the famous "braciole" made with horse meat, kind of meatballs with chili pepper cooked in earthenware pans; great fresh and seasoned salsicce of meat and liver and the "mattarelli" or "salsicce di panza" cprepared with pork stomachs of the pigs.
- More specialities: the delicious "scamorze", valuable honeys, Caprafico lentils, extravirgin olive oil of the "genteel" variety, aromatic herbs, and Montepulciano wines.
Events and Festivities
- July: Majella Festival
- August: Market fair of abruzzo craftswork
- Every 25 years: the remains of patron san Nicola Greco, kept in Guardiagrele since 7 august 1338, leave the church of San Francesco for the Jubilee. For the occasion the balconies of via della Penna are embellished with croquet and embroidered blankets. The last Jubilee was in the year 2000.
- Every year: the "Premio Della Porta", awarded to dialect poetry in memory of the greatest Abruzzese vernacular poet, guardiese Modesto della Porta.
Where to stay
Genealogy and Links
- Resources for Genealogy Research in Guardiagrele
- Municipio, p. S.Francesco - tel. (+39) 0871 83445
- Parrocchia S. Giuseppe Artigiano, loc. Comino - tel. (+39)0871 808004
- Parrocchia S. Silvestro Papa, villa San Vincenzo - tel. (+39)0871 893137
- Parrocchia Santa Maria Maggiore, p.Santa Maria Maggiore - tel. (+39)0871 82117
- Comune di Guardiagrele official website
- Surnames presently recorded in Guardiagrele
- People researching in Guardiagrele
- Newspaper articles on Guardiagrele.
- Images of Guardiagrele