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Pescasseroli, Province of L'Aquila, Abruzzo

Pescasseroli lies in a wide plain amid a mountainous landscape of uncontaminated beauty in the heart of the National Park of Abruzzi, one of the most ancient natural parks established in Italy, and a model for a controlled development in protected areas. A little far away there are the springs of the Sangro river.

Info

  • Altitude: 1167 m a.s.l.
  • Distance from L'Aquila: 99 km
  • Population: ca. 2000 inhabitants
  • Postal code: 67032
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0863
  • How to reach it: by road, Autoroute A 25 from Rome, exit Pescina, then state road SS83 to Pescasseroli.

History

The place, rich in water, woods and natural caves, was inhabited since prehistory, and probably Castel Mancino, thanks to its strategic position, was a citadel of the ancient Peligni population before the rise of the Roman civilization. In the early Middle Ages it was a feifdom of the Counts of Celano, and then of the Di Sangro and the d'Aquino. The first mention is in a bull of Pope pasquale II, mentioning a church of "Sancti Pauli" in the jurisdiction of "pesculum serulae". On the ruins ot the Italic fortress, a castle was built in the 13th century to control access to the Sangro valley.

The history of Pescasseroli is connected to its prevalently pastoral economy and woodwork (also traditionally a by-product of the long hours of idleness of shepherds guarding their flocks). The little town was the starting point of one of the great "tratturi" leading to the South and crossing present-day Molise to Apulia.

Etymology

There are various opinions on the origin of the name "Pescasseroli". One of the most widely accepted is that it comes from the Latin pesculum (= protruding rock) and sarolum (near the Sangro), since the oldest part of the town is exactly near the springs of the Sangro river below a high rock, on top of which the ancient castle called «Castel Mancino», whose ruins can still be seen, dominated the valley. A second possible etymology, though very similar, is suggested by Benedetto Croce, who believed it derived from "pesculum ad sarolum", meaning "rock near the Little Sangro" Still another etymology is from "pesculum ad Sere" from the nearby montagna delle Serre

The Economy

The economy in the past was mostly based on sheep raising and wood crafts; after the unity of Italy the crisis of the agricultural and pastoral economy of the previous Kingdom of Naples led to a massive emigration. Later on the establishment of the National Park of Abruzzo, which was founded here on 9 september 1922, paved the way to a new development, and nowadays Pescasseroli is a residential area, a great craftswork centre, an important tourist resort both in summer and in winter, with its 20 km long ski-fields, and the starting point for many excursions in the Park.

What to see

  • The ruins of Castel Mancino.
  • The Palazzo Sipari, belonging to the mother of philosopher, historian and literary critic Benedetto Croce (1866-1955), who was born here
  • The Parish church of San Paolo ad Pesculum Serule, very ancient (12th century) but mostly reconstructed, housing in a chapel the wooden statue of a "Madonna nera dell'Incoronata" coming from the church, now destroyed, of Castel Mancino.
  • The baroque Chiesa del Carmelo.
  • The "Centro visite del Parco", with a Museo di Storia Naturale and a Garden zoo.
  • Itineraries through the 30000 hectares of the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, where amid savage mountains and deep forest the Marsian brown bear, the Apennine wolf, the Abruzzo chamois, eagles and many endangered species have found a protected sanctuary.
  • The fossil glaciers at the "Nevera of Marchiarvaro" with refreshingly clear waters.
  • Ascent itineraries to the rocky, forested mountains called Marsicano (2242 mt a.s.l.) la Rocca, Colangelo, Palombo, Tranquilli.
  • Activities in winter: Ice skating, downhill skiing (there ia a cableway, many ski-lifts, a skiing school and ski slopes of different difficulties), crosscountry skiing in the plateau called Macchiarvaro.
  • Activities in summer: All possible nature sports, trekking, excursions on horseback and more.

Events and Festivities

  • 29 June: Feast of SS. Pietro e Paolo
  • 15-16 July: Feast of Madonna del Carmine
  • Last Sunday in July: Lamb Festival
  • 8 - 9 September: Celebrations for the "Madonna nera dell'Incoronata"
  • 24 December: Midnight fire before the parish Church.

Where to stay

Genealogy and Links

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