Picinisco in the Val di Comino Italy

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Picinisco in the Val di Comino

Picinisco is perched high on a ridge (850 metres above sea level) on the slopes of the Monti Meta mountain range which overlooks the Val di Comino. The mountain slopes around the little town are surrounded by woodland with beech, chestnut and oak trees. The local inhabitants are known as piciniscani.

At the heart of the village is the main piazza, named after Ernesto Capocci, an Italian astronomer who was born in Picinisco in 1798.  Here there is a terraced walkway where magnificent  panoramic views of  the Val di Comino can be enjoyed. Also in the square is the characteristic plane tree which stands in front of the 18th century Codarda Gateway with it twin clock towers. Closeby is the town hall and the Church of San Rocco.

Codarda Gateway Piazza Ernesto Capocci Picinisco Italy
Codarda Gateway Piazza Ernesto Capocci Picinisco Italy
Plane Tree in Piazza Ernesto Capocci Picinisco Italy
Chiesa di San Rocco in Picinisco Italy
Town Hall in Piazza Ernesto Cappoci in Picinisco Italy
In the highest part of the medieval town are the remains of Picinisco’s castle, built by Aquino family in the 11th century.  Several sections of the town’s fortified walls can still be seen today.
Castle Tower in Picinisco Italy
Castle Tower in Picinisco Italy
Shrine to Santa Teresa at the Castle in Picinisco Italy
Castle Remains in Picinisco Italy
Castle Tower in Picinisco Italy
Castle Remains in Picinisco Italy
Castle of Picinisco in the Val di Comino Italy
Tree Lined Promenade Near the Castle of Picinisco Italy
A tree lined walkway leads from the Porta Rione to a small  park, Parco il Montano, and the town’s War Memorial.  Here there is also a plaque dedicated to those men from Picinisco who drowned in the tragic sinking aboard the Arandora Star.  (On the morning of 2nd July 1940, off the coast of Ireland the Arandora Star, transporting Italian enemy aliens to Canada, was torpedoed with the loss of almost 700 lives.)
War Memorial in Picinisco Italy
War Memorial in Picinisco Italy
Plaque Commemorating Picinisco's Victims of the Arandora Star Tragedy
Plaque Commemorating Picinisco's Millenium
War Memorial in Picinisco Italy
War Memorial in Picinisco Italy
View of the Mountains Behind Picinisco in Italy

The Porta Rione leads into Piazza Rione.

Piazza Rione in Picinisco Italy
Doorway in Piazza Rione in Picinisco Italy
Piazza Rione Picinisco Itlay

The central narrow street is Via Maggiore. As you walk along the cobbled alleys within the historic centre, it seems that there is something of interest around every corner.

Old Gateway in the historic centre of Picinisco Italy
Narrow Alley in Picinisco Italy
Narrow Alley in Picinisco Italy
Narrow Alley in Picinisco in the Val di Comino Italy
Alley-in-Picinisco-Val-di-Comino-Italy
Narrow Alley in Picinisco Italy
Old Noble Palace in Picinisco Italy
Archway in Picinisco Italy
Alley in the historic centre of Picinisco Italy
Old Door in Picinisco in the Val di Comino Italy
Casa Arcari Old Palace Doorway in Picinisco Italy
Narrow Alley in Picinisco in the Val di Comino Italy
Old Doorway in Picinisco Italy
Old Palace Doorway in Picinisco Italy
Old Wrought Iron Balcony in Picinisco Italy
Green Door in Picinisco Italy
Archway in the Historic Centre of Picinisco Italy
Old Doorway in the Historic Centre of Picinisco Italy
Mural in Alley in Picinisco Italy
Family Crest Above a Doorway in Picinisco Italy
Little Piazzetta in Picinisco Italy
Old Doorway in Picinisco Italy
Old Doorway in the Historic Centre of Picinisco Italy
Old Balcony in the Historic Centre of Picinisco Italy
Old Palace Doorway in Picinisco Italy
Shrine with Madonna in Picinisco Italy
Shrine to the Madonna in Picinisco Italy
Family Crest Above a Doorway in Picinisco Italy
Old Green Door in Picinisco Italy
Stone Carving in Picinisco Italy
Stone Carving in Picinisco Italy
Stone Carving in Picinisco Italy
Wrought Ironwork in Picinisco Italy
Old Sundial in Piazza Fucina Picinisco Italy
Old Doorway in Picinisco Italy
Stone Carving of an Angel in Picinisco Italy
Alley in Picinisco Italy
Alleyway in Picinisco Italy
Small Square in Picinisco Italy
Roof Garden in Picinisco Italy
Small Square in Picinisco Italy
Piazza in Picinisco Italy

The Churches of Picinisco

Picinisco is also made up of several neighbouring hamlets such as Fontitune, Valleporcina, Casale, Liscia, San Gennaro, San Giuseppe, Le Serre, San Pietro and Colleposta.

From Picinisco a 4 km trail leads to Grotta Campanaro.  The swirling waters of the River Melfa and Mollinaro are fed by the streams which run off the mountain slopes. During the 1950’s several  hydroelectric power plants were built and an artificial lake, Lago Campanaro, was constructed.

From Picinisco the 12 km winding mountain road up to Prati di Mezzo is not recommended for the faint-hearted, as it has numerous hairpin bends and sheer drops.  During the cold winter months, when the mountain tops are clad with snow, this high plateau is transformed into a resort for winter sport enthusiasts. There are ski-lifts to transport you to even higher snowy reaches and a 3 km “piste” and cross-country trails. In the summer this area offers pleasant walks through beech woods, verdant landscapes and stunning views,  the ideal place to escape the stifling summer heat. For the more energetic there are also guided walks up intto the local mountains. There are also cliffs suitable for rock climbing at the Roccia del Corvo.

Agriculture, sheep and goat farming still play a significant part in the local economy. The Picinisco / Val di Comino area is well known for its production of  Pecorino Cheese which is made solely from ewes milk. Its origin is said to date back to the Samnites and this cheese was given to Roman soldiers as part of their rations.  The mature cheese is salty with an intense flavour and is normally used for grating.  The younger cheese is served as a table cheese, and is softer and sweeter.  Other local cheeses include fresh Ricotta and Marzolina made with goats milk.

Today the new industry of  tourism is helping to bring in much welcome funds from outside the immediate area. The town’s population more than doubles in size during the summer months with many of Scottish-Italians flooding back to their families’ small town of origin.

Picinisco Feast Days and Events

8 May – Fuoco di San Michele

June – Corpus Domini Infiorata

June – Festa degli Orapi (mountain spinach)

June – Sagra del Cinghiale – Wild Boar Festival

10th August  – Festa di  San Lorenzo

20th – 21th August – Festa delle Reliquie di Santa Maria

August – Festa dell’Emigrante

August – Pastorizia in Festivale – A celebration of  traditional sheep farming, local produce, local culture and music.