decorazione dedicata alla Madonna del Carmelo sull'arco Miseria in v. Valle S. Paolo, vicino piazza Umberto I

Decoration dedicated to Our Lady of Carmel on the "Miseria" arch in v. Valle S. Paolo, near piazza Umberto I

This was for centuries the main square of the historic village, before the urban centre would develop to the south and the role of Piazza Sant'Antonio would increase.

iscrizione sulla facciata dell'antica sede comunale in via della Piazza

Inscription on the facade of the old town hallin via della Piazza

The various districts arose, developing over the centuries from the Middle Ages to modern times, while the village suffered the feudalism of several landowners (including the families Di Sangro, D'Aquino and D'Avalos), and the effects of two major earthquakes in 1349 and in 1579. The vitality of the centre was Piazza in palatio aulae, which had around the town hall, the mother church and the small palace of Largo Barone, then replaced by the Sipari Palace.

la caratteristica finestra bifora con giglio in ferro battuto di piazza Umberto I

The typical mullioned window with wrought-iron lily of piazza Umberto I

In the nineteenth century the old town was altered, under the Mayor Francesco Saverio Sipari, who removed many of the “poggi” – outer stairs to the houses – facing civil commotion. In the twentieth century the square was dedicated to the King Umberto I of Savoy, while the populous district suffered, as the whole village, the phenomenon of emigration. A fact: until 1931 Pescasseroli counted about 3,300 inhabitants, not a few for a middle-mountain town.

particolare di un portale in v. Valle S. Paolo

Detail of a portal in via Valle San Paolo

Changes in the appearance of the old town occurred also after the earthquakes of 1915 and 1984. On the houses many ancient portals in stone of Mount Gentile are still preserved, with ornamental crests indicating dates, owners, families and professions.

A side street of the square is Via Roma, home of the Cinema Rinascimento. The building was born as St. Mary of the Angels, a rural church existing since at least the seventeenth century. Rather battered, it was restored in 1829 but later abandoned. Eventually, it was transferred into the properties of the town, although with some friction by the Curia. The bell was moved to the Church of Carmel. The premises were also used as accommodation for troops and primary school, before turning into a cinema popular from the forties, thanks to a private individual.

Text by Stefano Dark – Images by Stefano Dark

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