Hospitality is one of the most common virtues of the Abruzzese people in general and in particular of the inhabitants of the Alpine and mountainous countries (Francesco Mastriani, Italian writer)
Pescocostanzo is a small village in Abruzzo, a hidden gem within the Majella National Park, in the province of L'Aquila. It is located among the Altipiani Maggiori at a 1400 meters height. The village consists mostly of houses from the 15th and 16th centuries. The artisanal tradition is still very widespread, especially with the ancient art of lace-making, the artistic processing of filigree, and the traditional processing of wrought iron.
The historical centre of Pescocostanzo leaves its visitors surprised and fascinated by the presence of numerous artistic assets, such as the church Collegiata dell'Assunzione - also called Santa Maria del Colle -, dating back to the Baroque period. This is one of the most interesting churches in Abruzzo. It rises where a religious nucleus existed from the 11th century. It was rebuilt in 1466 with a 5-nave layout, after the earthquake of 1456.
The totally original architecture of Pescocostanzo is due to the workers from North Italy; first the master masons of Como, and then the Lombard decorators, carvers and architects, who constructed beautiful buildings. Walking through the streets of the village you will find artisanal shops on the front, connected to the houses on the upper floor by an internal staircase. Then you can admire art galleries and many homes from the 1500s with windows full of flowers.
During the winter Pescocostanzo turns into a very popular ski resort and offers very romantic snowy landscapes.
The ancient and difficult art of "bobbin making" is a centuries-old tradition in Pescocostanzo. This type of art is thought to be of Lombard origin. Starting from the XV century, the Lombard craftsmen were called to realize the architecture of Pescocostanzo. They probably brought their families with them, wives and daughters, who taught the art of tombolo or pillow lace to the local women.
The Pescocostanzo school has become a phenomenon, an industry, and an economic and cultural heritage. Each family became a craft workshop. Every girl was taught the tombolo art. Every girl who was considered at an age of marriage possessed an entire kit with pillow-lace decorations, consisting of tablecloths, napkins, sheets, centers, and lace. The Municipality concretized this tradition with the establishment of the Tombolo Lace School, and later with the opening of the Tombolo Museum.
The art of filigree certainly comes from Northern Italy. The first reference to the activity of goldsmiths in Pescocostanzo dates back to 1748. A typical figure of the Abruzzese filigree processing is the "Presentosa": a gold filigree pendant in the shape of a star with one or two hearts in the middle, symbolizing fidelity and eternal love. It is a testimony of the sentimental bond of the girl or woman who wears it. There are two other jewels produced by these ingenious artisans: the Cannatora, a choker necklace formed by a series of empty oval spheres, and the Ciarcelle, which were fretworked earrings.
The traditional artisanal processing of wrought iron includes railings, chandeliers, tools for the fireplace, gates, headboards.
An example of high-quality wrought ironwork is the construction of the iron gate that closes the Collegiate Chapel. Santo di Rocco is held responsible for this construction, carried out between 1699 and 1705 and completed by his nephew in 1717. Angelic or monstrous figures, putti, arabesques of leaves, surmount the fence and testify the mastery of metalworking.
After this visit to Pescocostanzo, you will be definitely richer from an artistic and cultural point of view. Enjoy the view of an exceptional landscape, and get to know the place's magnificent arts and their history! Do not forget that it's an ideal destination, that can be visited in all seasons. Enjoy!
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