Roccaraso, Province of L'Aquila, Abruzzo
Other Sections on Abruzzo
- Altitude: 1230 m a.s.l
- Distance from L'Aquila: 105 km
- Population: ca. 1600 inhabitants
- Postal code: 67037
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0864
- How to reach it: Autoroute A 25 from Rome: exit Sulmona - Pratola Peligna, then state road to Roccaraso (Castel di Sangro - Napoli); bus and trains, from Sulmona and Castel di Sangro.
History - Antiquity
History - the Middle Ages
Under the Angevin kingdom Roccaraso was an important commercial and military centre along the so-called "Via degli Abruzzi" and greatly flourished thanks to its rich sheep trade. Roccaraso, being a communication centre between the North and Center of Italy and for centuries a strategic stop along the Via degli Abruzzi going from Naples to Florence, always had a fast moving population. Of all the surnames recorded in 1447 (160 inhabitants) not one has remained to this day (see prof. Francesco Cercone's essay in Il Parco Nazionale della Majella, Pescara 1997). An earthquake in 1456 killed a large part of the population.
History - Modern Times
Since the beginning of the 20th century however a steady recovery began with the tourism industry, thanks to the favourable position on the railway line to Naples. The darkest moment in the history of this beautiful spot of Italy came when in 1943 the German established their headquarters here. A massive bombing by American forces destroyed 98% of the place. For revenge the Germans destroyed nearby Pietransieri killing 127 civilians.
After the extensive destruction in WW2 bombings, the small centre is today completely modern, apart from the district called "Terra Vecchia" (the ancient fortified borough) with remains of a tower, and in the lower part the small church of San Rocco. The surrounding landscape of woods and pastures fascinated all the travellers of the 18th and 19th centuries who left us precious memories of the beauty of this now lost forever ancient village. In Ann Macdonell's book «In the Abruzzi» (London 1909) there is a fine watercolor of the place.
What to see
- The church of S. Rocco, built in 1656 to give thanks to give thanks to the saint who freed the population from a terrible plague
- The Parish Church.
- Excursions to the typical centres nearby - 4 km away from Rivisondoli, 6 km from Pescocostanzo, 10 km from Castel di Sangro, half an hour from the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, only 40 km from Sulmona.
Events and Festivities
- Winter: many skiing events.
- Summer: a whole program of events.
- 13 August: Feast of Sant'Ippolito.
Where to stay
Genealogy and Links
- Municipio, v.Claudio Mori, Roccaraso (AQ) - tel. (+39) 39 0864 602368
- Surnames presently recorded in Roccaraso
- People researching in Roccaraso
- Newspaper articles on Roccaraso.