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Ofena, Province of L'Aquila, Abruzzo

Ofena enjoys a unique position in the area and known for its temperate micro-climate as "Abruzzo oven", is reminiscent of a rich economy connected to the saffron trade. Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, is a great place for wineries and oil makers. When a massive emigration started from Italy in the early 20th century, the aufinati emigrants have brought their rich heritage to thousands of destinations in the world.

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Provinces of Abruzzo

Info

  • Altitude: 530 m a.s.l
  • Distance from L'Aquila: 52 km
  • Population: ca. 750 inhabitants
  • Postal code: 67025
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0862
  • How to reach it: by road, SS17 from L'Aquila or Pescara; by bus, from L'Aquila.

History

The origins of the place reach further backwards than the Roman occupation. A great Vestine civilization flourished in the area and had among its centres Aufinum, located near the springs of the clear-water Tirino river; the present settlement was probably founded in the VIII century at the same time as nearby Capestrano by former Lombard warriors to cultivate the lands of the then powerful monastery of San Pietro ad Oratorium.

In the 1753 census ordered by King Ferdinand there were 211 fuochi (= families) which according to a conventional statistical calculation gives over one thousand inhabitants. This shows clearly, if compared to the global demographic statistics, that maybe four out of five inhabitants left the place in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries.

What to see

  • The medieval monastery of San Francesco, now in decay, with a fine Romanesque portal.
  • The church of San Pietro delle Grotte, so called for the underground caves just below it, with a portal by Silvestro da Ofena (1196) and 15th century frescos.
  • The church of Sant'Antonio, with a fine wood-carved ceiling of the 18th century.
  • The "Center of popular culture", a local section of the Archeoclub, Ofena via Savoia (Prof. Fausto Cantera).
  • The Tenuta Cataldi Madonna, loc. Piana 1 Ofena (AQ), tel +39 0862 954252, producers of wine since time immemorial in the great Abruzzese tradition.
  • Ofena is a perfect base to visit Abruzzo, almost in the centre of it, between 50 and 80 km from all provincial capitals.
  • The Historical Centre has typical narrow alleys and ancient palaces, houses built among the rocks and connected through arches according to a typical defensive plan known as «fortified borough».

Events and Festivities

  • 17 January: Feast of Sant'Antonio
  • 8 May: Feast of San Nicola di Bari
  • Some time before 15 August: Exhibition of Ofena Montepulciano wine.

Genealogy and Links

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