Fontecchio, a quick tour through the old city

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Fontecchio is a larger village on the Aterno Valley and I just love the feel it gives, even just walking 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. The surroundings are beautiful and Alessio, who owns the B&B, is an expert in Landscape reading, which is quite a different thing from tarot reading, and one you should absolutely try to learn in a tour with him (I wonder if he stills organizes these tours, he did before).

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In the picture above you see and old communal oven-building. Once or twice a week the oven would be fired and everybody would bring their home-made bread to bake. It was a social gathering where, while you waited for your baking-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 upstairs they have a dining room people in the village uses 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 just outside the walled medieval center of the village.IMG_5554

Next to the fountain  this frescoe-ed Madonna. But it was usual at the time, in all of these villages, to have some holy-image in places where many people would pass by, for a quick prayer while attending their own business. Just like the placing of billboards along a highway nowadays. Location is key.

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 drink, have animals drink, doing 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, holy images, is the archway under the tower. You can see they repainted it a number of times and 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 it a very short walk.

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This door is quite peculiar, in L’Aquila behind Piazza Duomo there are a whole series, 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 have the best light from outside. 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, and in the next post I am going to show a suburb of Fontecchio with a link to someone renting renovated houses, in case you decided you cannot miss it next time you are in the area.

In Fontecchio itself you should absolutely stay at the Torre del Cornone. go, see their websites and book.

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

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