History of Abruzzo – The Renaissance and the Baroque period

Ceramica Museo Castelli – Photo © www.ioscelgoitaliano.it

The Angioini dynasty was followed by that of the Aragonese in 1442 when the Kingdom of Naples fell into the hands of Alfonso d’Aragona. L’Aquila’s resistance was inefficacious in trying to impede the transition of power, and it was subdued in 1492.

After a brief period of French domination, Abruzzo followed the fate of the Kingdom of Naples which had passed into the hands of Ferdinando the Catholic in 1504.

The struggles between Ferdinando’s successor, Carlo V, and the King of France, involved Abruzzo in numerous serious military clashes.

The cities of Abruzzo and L’Aquila, in particular, sided with France but were drastically punished by the Spanish monarch who, by splitting up the rural areas around the city and subjecting the latter to harsh repressive measures in 1529, ordained a decline which was then impossible to stop.

Under Spanish domination, numerous fortification works were built. These were a testimony to the strategic importance that Abruzzo had in the dispute between France and Spain. The Spanish entrusted the plans for such works, to the architect, Pirro Luigi Scrivo, who was also responsible for the Castel Sant’Elmo in Naples. Amongst these, there was the Castle of L’Aquila, and the Fortress of Pescara Furthermore, the ancient castles were transformed from a pure defensive building into residences that were architecturally more complex. The Celano Castle (Aq) was one of the most significant examples of this. It has a squared plan and a precise geometric structure built around an arcade decorated with open galleries. However, one must not forget either the Balsorano Castle (Aq), the Piccolomini Castle of Ortucchio (Aq), and that of Gagliano Aterno (Aq).

During the 15th-century, the slow introduction of Renaissance forms affected sacred and civil buildings as well as castles. Building work was more airy and open and was inserted onto ancient forms, as in the case of the church of the Annunziata in Sulmona (Aq) or many noble palaces in Sulmona, L’Aquila, Popoli also Tagliacozzo. These enriched with spacious courtyards, flights of steps, and arcades were scenographic. The Tuscan Renaissance style was so widespread in Abruzzo that the church of S. Bernardino in L’Aquila (1415) is planimetrically reminiscent of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. San Flaviano in Giulianova (Te) and Santa Maria del Tricalle in Chieti are likewise examples of the attention that was given in Abruzzo to the temples with a central plan of the Tuscan Renaissance.

The Baroque period, which developed after the plague of 1656 and the two earthquakes of 1703 and 1706, took the form of a time of reconstruction and developed both in the construction of new buildings like the churches of Santa Caterina and Sant’Agostino in L’Aquila, and – more often-in the internal decoration of ancient medieval churches. Nearly all of them were enriched with costly Baroque ornaments, and, thanks to the strong artisan tradition of carved wood, made precious with valuable furnishings and ligneous ceilings as well as spectacular and imposing organs. Amongst the most prominent Baroque achievements there is the Badia Morronese, (Morronese Abbey), near Sulmona (Aq), the church of the Annunziata in Penne (Pe), and that of Sulmona, the church of the Suffragio in L’Aquila, that of Santa Maria Assunta in Castel di Sangro and the church of Santo Spirito in Teramo.

A few items from Abruzzo

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Grazing In Abruzzo
Bruce Franchini (Director), Lidia Bastianich (Actor)
Lidia loves the region of Abruzzo! She describes the people there as welcoming, giving and jovial, and the hearty food of the region has left her with such fond memories. In the Abruzzese kitchens, Farro, a kind of wheat berry, is cooked as a whole grain and is manufactured in many shapes-both by small artisanal pasta makers and larger pasta companies. She makes this pasta with arugula and ricotta. Following her main course of Lamb with Olives, she creates the deliciously fun Scrippelle-which look like fettuccine-and tosses them in a hot caramel, citrus and apricot sauce for dessert.

Abruzzo. History and art guide
by Latini M. L. (Author)
Although it is a bit too synthetic, to the detriment of the overall readability of the text, the work provides an exhaustive description of the artistic heritage of Abruzzo, inserting points for observation not always recognized. Recommended.

Abruzzo 1st Edition
by Michael Kenna
Abruzzo, located in southern Italy, is known as the green region of Europe because of the system of parks and nature reserves covering more than one-third of its territory. In Abruzzo, Michael Kenna found a cultural identity that elsewhere, for the most part, has been lost to globalization and instant communication. Kenna photographed medieval ruins, ancient villages and a countryside rich in traditional cultivation. As curator Vincenzo de Pompeis writes in the book s introduction, 'Abruzzo's heritage, together with its impressive natural scenery, brings to mind romantic connotations that have historically attracted many international landscape artists, particularly in the 19th century. Michael Kenna fits perfectly into this rich historical vein of celebrated landscape artists who have worked in Abruzzo. Kenna's work often evokes the influences of Romanticism. In his photographs of historic rural landscapes, for example, there is an air of melancholy, which accompanies memories from the past. His images of ruins stir up feelings of passing time, of the constantly evolving ties between history and nature.' This gorgeous new monograph by renowned landscape photographer Michael Kenna is published to coincide with a major museum exhibition in Loreto Aprutino, Italy. Richly printed in duotone on matt art paper, and presented in an olive-green cloth slipcase with black debossed text on one side and a tipped-in image on the other, Abruzzo presents 65 images from the series, published here for the first time.

Michelin Map Italy: Abruzzo, Molise 361 (Maps/Local (Michelin))
Michelin created its first travel guide over 100 years ago to promote road travel and inspire driving confidence. Today, Michelin Travel & Lifestyle offers travelers an extensive range of travel guides, maps and online travel resources. These products deliver the same Michelin promise of quality and consistency consumers expect from one of the world's most trusted brands.
Publisher of travel guides, maps and atlases, Michelin Travel & Lifestyle offers a complete travel portfolio. Where to go, how to get there, where to eat & stay, and what to see & do ... all in one collection with extensive international & domestic coverage, especially for Europe. Our series includes Michelin (Red) Guides, Green Guides, Must Sees and Michelin maps and atlases.

Canti Della Terra D'Abruzzo
Ettore Montanaro
Buy MP3: all 51 at the same time, or each one individually.

Italian Folk Songs from Abruzzo 1927-1930
CD and MP3 reissue of the freat italian folk duo. Comes with rich notes and photos of the couple as well. Pasquale and Clara Sciascia immigrated to the U. S. from the Abruzzo region of Italy, settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1927 to 1933 they recorded 44 songs fro the Victor, Columbia and Brunswick record companies. The Sciascias were the first to record a number of Italian and Abruzzese folk songs, 14 of which are reissued here for the first time in 90 years. The songs feature wonderful duet singing and exquisite string band accompaniment. Also included are notes on the couple and their music, photos, and the transcribed and translated lyrics. Includes 20 page booklet.