Fontecchio, a quick tour through the old city

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Fontecchio is a larger village on the Aterno river (Valle Subequana) and I just love the feel it gives when you just walk around a bit.

One of the nice things to do is to stay for a while and renting you own room or apartment in one of the renovated buildings. One place I suggest is the Torre del Cornone.

I especially love how the tower was transformed into a living unit. All around tts walls you will see small openings: the tower was part of a communication system along the Aterno valley, where they used these towers to send light signals over long distances on all directions.

The surroundings are beautiful and Alessio, who owns the B&B, is an expert in Landscape reading,  You should absolutely try to book a tour with him.

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In the picture above you see the ancient communal building with a wood-fired oven. Once or twice a week everybody would bring their home-made bread to bake. It was a social gathering and while you waited for your goods to get ready, you could talk, know who was pregnant, how other people’s kids were doing, get informed on current news in general.

Now it has been renovated and  they have a dining room upstairs. People in the village uses it for parties of all sort. I know because I informed about using it for my cooking courses in Abruzzo.IMG_5552

Fontecchio is called like this because of the peculiar fountain you see outside the walled medieval center of the village.IMG_5554

Next to the fountain  this frescoe-ed Madonna. In the past all these villages, to had some holy image in places where many people would pass by. This way they could say  a quick prayer while attending their own business, going to work, etc. They are called iconicelle, small icons.

And that’s why the fountain, just like the oven, was a perfect place for these images or iconicelle,, as the whole village would go there sooner or later, to bring their sheep to drink, do the laundry, or get water for home. Women in Abruzzo would carry water by using a copper conca, a vessel with two handles on the side they carried by balancing it on their heads.  IMG_5557 IMG_5559

Here the tower to get through the city walls, the Porta dei Santi or the Saints’ Gate. IMG_5561

A great place to have another of these iconicelle, is the archway under the tower. You can see they repainted it a number of times and currently the face of the Virgin is absolutely ugly, but the composition betrays the hand of a master.IMG_5569 IMG_5570

Another place I love in Fontecchio are the remnants of this church, where only the walls and the altars are left, the roof is totally gone.IMG_5578

And in case you fell in love with the place, they are selling a tiny studio here.IMG_5580

Pity we came on such a rainy day, my children were absolutely miserable and annoyed, and this, together with the rain, made for a very short walk.

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The blue braces on this corner building are a safety measure they put after the earthquake of 2009, while they prepare for renovation.

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This door is quite peculiar, in L’Aquila in an alley behind Piazza Duomo there is a whole series of them, called Le Cancelle. They are the workshops of medieval artisans, each a member of his own Guild. One part of the door was to get in, the shorter part would have on the inside a working surface, so that the artisan or artist could enjoy the best light from outside for his work. IMG_5588

And how do you find these old doors? I love their weathered texture and just see what a beautiful wood they used for them.

So I hope I managed to show you a bit more of my beloved Abruzzo.

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