photo © Louise Shapcott

The History of Pescosolido

The Romans

There is evidence of a Roman presence in this area, as the remains of Roman tombs have been unearthed in the districts of Chiaie and Grottelle, which have Latin epiqraphs. There are also the remains of a Roman aqueduct in the Pecchie district.

It is believed that the first small settlement was named “pagus“, which was located near to a dense forest. The inhabitants probably grazed flocks of sheep owned by the Lords of Sora.

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The Medieval Era

Monsignor Giuseppe Piazzoli, in his manual on Pescosolido, assesses that the settlement of Pescosolido was founded between the 6th and 7th centuries by the monks of Montecassino. He also states that the town was destroyed by the Saracens  between 840 and 916.  In 852 it was ruled by Pandone, son of Count Landone of Capua. After the Saracen invasions the town was rebuilt with a castle and was fortified with town walls with four gateways.

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Brigands

The area around Pescosolido was plagued by bands of notorious brigands who roamed and pillaged the territory and its inhabitants.

The town was badly damaged by an earthquake on the 24th July 1654. However after this the town seemed to flourish due to the development of agriculture in the area and by 1793 there were approximately 2,500 inhabitants.pe.

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The Earthquake of 1915

On the 13th January 1915 at 07.53 a huge earthquake hit the area. It affected the entire region of the Marsica in Abruzzo and the Liri valley in Lazio, causing more that 30,000 deaths. It is recorded as being one of the worst earthquakes in Italy. The epi-centre was in Fucino near Avezzano in the central Appenines and it is estimated to have registered 7.0 on the Richter Scale.

The town of Pescosolido was devastated, most of the buildings were destroyed including the ancient castle that had been made into a palace. The fatalities and people injured were numerous. There were more deaths following the quake due to the inclement weather conditions.  The newspaper “Il Messaggero” published an article stating Balsorano and Pescosolido destroyed“, “Sora is still isolated from Avezzano … Pescosolido and Balsorano have had all their houses destroyed“.

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During the Second World War

During the Second World War the Val di Comino was situated close to the German Defensive line known as the Gustav Line. On the 9th October 1943 Pescosolido was occupied by the Germans. Local houses were requisitioned and the Villino dei Mariani was used as a command post.

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Emmigration

Following the earthquake of 1915 and the Second World War many of the local people saw no future for themselves and decided to leave their homeland in a wave of emigration. They left for distant countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries in Europe.

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