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.
The Porta Rione leads into Piazza Rione.
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.
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.