Alvito, a journey in time
Time has stopped in Alvito, a tiny Medieval village between Lazio and Abruzzo where you can walk along a century-old experience, you can breathe the charm of the old time and enjoy your days in the nature without forgetting tasty stops according to the food traditions of Ciociaria. It dates back to the XIth century and the Cantelmo family wanted it to be rebuilt in the XIVth century, actually its name is Cantelmo castle. On bright days it’s great to walk up to the fortress at 475 metres of altitude along the narrow streets with great views on the Comino Valley. And walking around the walls, entering the courtyards, exploring the paths, seeing the watch-towers and let your imagination go back to the facts that happened there towards the North in the Comino Valley that has always been in a strategic position in the centre of Italy.
Palaces and dark legends
According to a legend, the inhabitants of the village threw stones at Bernardino of Siena in 1443 and he foretold they would never brought anything to an end. The tiny village and its historical buildings, artistic keepers of the past prove the opposite every day. It’s exciting to walk in the narrow streets and the steep staircases of Alvito and remind the stories that happened there and discover the protagonists in the names of the noble palaces. The Doge’s palace (Palazzo Ducale) deserves a stop. It was wanted by the Archbishop Tolomeo Gallio at the beginning of the XVIIth century: the Council Theatre is based there, in the former theatre of the Court and the former Council House where the hall, the honour staircase, the episodes from “The Liberation of Jerusalem” (Gerusalemme Liberata) stand out in the Duke’s room and the Council’s staircase is decorated with ornaments and frescoes belonging to Luca Giordano’s workshop.
A village, a thousand paths
Alvito, in the middle of the Comino Valley is surrounded by the National Park of Abruzzo, it’s the ideal starting point to explore the entire area. 110 kilometres of well marked tracks start from this point and you can mountain-bile, you can horse-ride, you can hike, you can use the snowshoes when the snow covers the paths on the park and you can be amazed from the beautiful shapes from the ice on the trees’ branches. There are tracks in the mountain and on the hills among the vineyards of Cabernet Atina Doc /Denomination of Controlled Origin), there are interesting hiking routes to discover the doline, mainly the FossaMaiura, a sort of overturned cone a hundred metres deep. You can also see the 15 fountains that are spread in this area. Your senses will lead you to the discovery of the wild herbal scents, the taste of pecorino cheese, of torrone that has been entered into the PAT list (traditional food farming products) and the truffles while from the village’s fortress you can enjoy an amazing view of the surrounding forests and wild animals. But your imagination is your best sense since you can capture the charm of every route through it.
Ghosts and peasant traditions
In Cortignale and La Cappudine, old districts in the surroundings of Alvito the hand of the clock goes back in time and shows the traditions of the past centuries. The farmhouses are not always evident in these old villages. Sometimes you have to search in the vegetation, in the bushes that have grown during the years in order to find the walls of these old constructions that were once used to store the olives and the grapes after being pressed. And it deserves finding them since the two ghost villages will take you back in time ad will let their walls speak to tell the story of the simple daily life of the peasants that has been carried out for centuries.
The origins, between sacred and profane
The origin of Alvito might go back to the Volsci and the Sannitis that preceded the romanisation of this area in the III century B.C. Starting from the year 1000 the village started to develop thanks to the monks of the near Montecassino and it became a typical town-fortress: the Medieval village was at the top of the hill and it was surrounded by the churches of Santa Maria in Porta Coeli and Santa Maria Assunta where the tomb of San Rocco is kept. Midway there is the Peschio, surrounded by noble buildings like the Peschio Panicati Palace featuring its towers and the front door which is framed with a diamond- edged ashlar and finally there’s the village which looks out towards the valley enriched with a number of buildings and churches in the Baroque style. As the centuries went by the village became a feud of the Reign of Naples and it was involved in the wars between the families of Aragonesi and the Angioini and it became a Shire first with the leading of the Equino family then it became a dukedom with the Gallo family who could root the banditry out.
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