Pietracatella, Province of Campobasso, Molise
The medieval center rises in lower Molise, near the border with the province of Foggia, on an almost inaccessible tuff rock, named "Morgia", from where a wide panorama can be admired, from the Tappino valley to the Occhito lake in the east, and as far as Campobasso in the west.
- Altitude: 707 m a.s.l
- Territory: hills
- Population: about 1300 inhabitants in 2018
- Zip/postal code: 86040
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0874
- Patron Saint: St. Donato, celebrated on 7 August.
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History - Antiquity
Though the area was inhabited since prehistoric times, as shown by stone handicrafts found in the local tuff grottos, and by an ancient sepulchre in the area called "vigna della Signora", there are very few historical records of the Samnite and Roman times. The chapel of Santa Margherita, built on early Christian catacombs, points to the existence of a settlement when the Christians were still persecuted, that is before 313 AD.
History - the Middle Ages and Modern Times
In the Middle Ages there were two separate settlements, Catella and Rocca Catella, recorded as fiefdom of Riccardus de Guastus, who was followed by the De Catellis then by the Boccapianola in the 16th century, by the Di Capua and finally by the Grimaldi families. The medieval town was all surrounded by walls, and the only buildings outside the walls ("extra moenia") were San Nicola and Santa Maria di Costantinopoli; then in the early 20th century the population, exceeding at the time 3000 people, started to build outside the walls.
What to see
- The church of San Giacomo and the chapel of Santa Margherita on top of the tuff hill where the town rises. Santa Margherita was originally all covered in frescoes, only some of which are still extant. The church of San Giacomo was built later, partly on the rock and partly on the crypt of Santa Margherita. Over the altar is placed a very ancient, wooden crucifix and in the arches near the entrance some very interesting stones are placed, with inscriptions in the Phoenician style, whose origin was not explained yet.