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Atina and the Val di Comino


The construction of the Picinisco's Castle was initiated in 1054. The town was further enclosed and fortified by thick protective walls, with five guarded gates: the Porta Saracina, Porta Codarda, Porta Rione, Porta della Prece and Porta della Piazza.

In antiquity, in the nearby Valle di Canneto there was mining activity, as there were deposits of iron, gold, silver and copper.  Here an Iron Works was built.  In this era Picinisco prospered with the creation of several Water Mills and a Paper Mill in 1632.  This economic development was marked by the restoration of certain ancient churches and the construction of several elegant palaces.  In the 1832 the  Bartolomucci brothers opened a newer, more up-to-date Cartiera which employed a number of local workers.

However many of the ordinary country folk struggled in times of great poverty and hardship, fighting against bad harvests, heavy taxes and goods stolen by the robbers and brigands that plagued the area.  This lead to large numbers of the population leaving to seek their fortune in foreign distant lands.

During WWII the people of Picinisco were also to suffer greatly.  The town and much of the surrounding area was situated on the German Gustav Line and was occupied by the Germans. After the war due to a severe economic crisis there was a renewed exodus of people as it became increasingly difficult to make a decent living to sustain their families.  Many hoped to make their fortune and then return home.

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 you can find the 18th century Codarda Gate with its twin ornate clock towers,  

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Last Update May 2016

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Picinisco is perched high on a ridge (850 metres) overlooking the whole of the Val di Comino valley. Picinisco's territory forms part of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park.

There is historical evidence to suggest that there was originally a Samnite settlement here, which was eventually taken over by the Romans in 293 BC.  In 744 it came under the Lombard Duchy of Benevento. Later control passed to the Monastery of Monte Cassino, and in 866 to the Benedictine Abbey of San Vincenzo di Volturno.

At the time of repeated Saracen incursions the local people began to migrate to the higher reaches of the territory where they were better able to defend themselves.  It is believed that the origins of the name Picinisco may have some Saracen influence.   However, the first reference to the community of "piciniscana" was in 1150 in a document by King Ruggero in which he defined the boundaries of Atina.

Also in the square are the town’s Comune and the recently restored Church of San Rocco (that was severely damaged by the earthquake of 1984).  

There is a terraced walkway where there are magnificent  panoramic views of  the Val di Comino to be enjoyed.

The Patron Saint of Picinisco is San Lorenzo.  The Church of San Lorenzo Levita e Marti was founded in 1305 and was progressively enlarged and restored over the years.  The present edifice dates from the baroque period of the 18th century. It has an interesting facade and an 11th century bell tower which may have originally served as a lookout tower.

Other churches in the environs of  Picinisco include  San Pietro, San Gennaro, San Giuseppe and  Santa Giusta in the Antica district.