Broccostella in the Val di Comino

Broccostella nestles between some verdant hills within the Val di Comino, close to the River Fibreno and  Lake of Posta Fibreno. The old historic village of Brocco Alto is situated on a hilltop, named Brocco, at a height of 527 metres above sea level. The population numbers around 2,700 and its inhabitants are known as Broccostellani or Brocchesi. It is twinned with the Irish town of Navan. A market is held each Sunday.

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History

It is known that the area of Broccostella was inhabited since Neolithic times, as the remains of primitive stone weapons and tools were unearthed on the hill known as “la Vigna“. In Roman times there was a settlement in the district of Madonna della Stella, where several archaeological remains of this time have been discovered. Brocco is also mentioned in a passage by the historian Livy relating to a battle between Romans and Samnites.

The old settlement was located on a hill which bears the same name. Here a castle was built by the Lombards in the 11th century, together with a watch tower, that was strategically placed to overlook the Val di Comino and Sora Basin. The first mention of the castle is in a document of 1167, when the King of Sicily, William II, gave Brocco to Simone di Sorella. In 1230 Brocco, together with the towns of  Sora, Isola del Liri and Pescosolido, was plundered by the armies of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.

In 1579 Brocco was sold to the Boncompagni family and became part of the dukedom of Sora. In a document of that era Broccostella was described as being a small village of  75 families, who fished for trout in the nearby river Fibreno. In the small district of Pignataro there was a clay pit, known as “il Cretaro” and there were local potters who manufactured terracotta objects. The area was plagued by band of brigands who preyed on travellers and the local villages. The town was severely damaged in the major Avezzano earthquake of 1915 that devastated the area.

During the Second World War Brocco was occupied by the Germans and positioned close to the German Gustav Line. The local citizens welcomed and took in many displaced people coming from the towns of Caira, Villa Latina, Atina, Gallinaro and Naples.

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A Photo Tour of Brocco Alto

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The Church of San Michele Arcangelo

In Brocco Alto the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, which is thought to date back to the 9th century. It stands at the top of the hill in Piazza Mons Edoardo Faccini. From the square there are beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and mountains.

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The Lower Town of Broccostella

Following the war there was a great deal of new development in the lower area of Brocco, in the district of  Madonna della Stella. Several mills, paper mills, furniture and clothing factories were constructed. As the community grew, in 1954 it was decided to change the name of the town from Brocco to Broccostella, whereas the old hill town became referred to as Brocco Alto.

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Church of Madonna della Stella

Down in the valley there was a 17th century church of the Madonna della Stella, built by the Tondo family. To accommodate the new community a new modern parish church, bearing the same name, was built in the 1960’s designed by Giuseppe Zander. It was consecrated in 1968. It has a detached bell tower and the church contains three mosaics by the artist Augusto Ranocchi. It is  located in Piazza Stella. 

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Church of the Madonna delle Chiaie

The small rural church  is located close to the road that leads up to Brocco Alto and is surrounded by olive trees. It was founded in the 15th century and has a fresco of the Mother and Child that dates from that period.

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Feast Days Festivals and Events of Broccostella

8th May – Feast in honor of the patron Saint of San Michele Arcangelo

11th June – Feast of Sant’Antonio and Madonna delle Chiaie in Brocco Alto

2nd Sunday in September – Traditional Fair near the Townhall

Last Sunday in September – Feast of Santa Maria SS Addolorata

June – Brocco Etno Fest – Lacerno Folk Festival

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Surnames of Broccostella

Common Surnames of Broccostella include:

ACCETTOLA, ALONZI, ALTOBELLI

BENACQUISTA

CAMPAGNA, CANESTRARO, CASCHERA, CERQUA, CICCODICOLA, CIPOLLONE, CONTE

D’AMBROSIO, DE CIANTIS, DI CRESCE, DI STEFANO, DI VITO,

FACCHINI, FARINA, FERRI, FRISONI

GABRIELE, GIOVANNONE, GISMONDI

IAFRATE

LANCIA, LA POSTA, LECCE, LONGO, LUPO

MAMMONE, MANTOVA, MARCHIONE, MASTROIANNI

PALLESCHI, PALOMBO, PANACCIM, PARRAVANI, PARRAVANO, PETITTA, POLSINELLI, PORRETTA

REA, ROTONDI

SANTUCCI, SPERDUTI

TUZI

URBANO

VANI

 

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My sincere thanks to Tonino Bernardelli for kindly sharing his photos for this page about Broccostella

Website © Louise Shapcott 2017 – 2018 All Rights Reserved

Last Updated Dec 2018