According to the painter Armando Pizzinato, Poffabro is the most rational and imaginative example of spontaneous architecture in our Pre-Alps.
Its “magic force” lies in the enchanting effect of the exposed hewn stones and the wooden balconies, architectural elements that are plain and austere, but nonetheless give a sense of intimacy and welcome in the enclosed courtyards, which are reached through a narrow arch, or in the long rows of houses from the 1500-1600s.
Not even the 1976 earthquake was able to affect the three- and four-storey houses built in local sandstone or limestone, with the wide wooden balconies with vertical protections at the sides, joined together as if seeking protection. The village’s charm lies in the fact that it has no pompous, aristocratic buildings, and in the humble reality of pilasters, stairs, balconies and stone arches in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature.
The peace and silence here have attracted a number of artists in recent years, enchanted by the simplicity and the absence of magniloquence. Poffabro and the surrounding area cannot boast, for example, of great churches with marvelous art treasures, but there are votive shrines scattered just about everywhere and minor little churches born from a strong – if perhaps ingenuous – devotional need, sometimes connected with unusual episodes, such as the site chosen for the building of the oratory of San Floriano in Crociera (15th cent.), supposedly indicated by a flock of sheep that stopped there. Thus also the Church of San Nicolò, first and foremost the sign of an undeniable faith, demonstrated by its anomalous size compared with that of the other buildings in the town. The present appearance of the church, with its majestic white façade, goes back to the late 1600s, but it has been restored and changed many times, duly recorded in the church registers, due to frequent earthquakes and tremors.
The poverty of the area was such that the sacred church ornaments were brought in from outside (from Concordia Sagittaria in the province of Venice, as reported in a document from 1587) and were added to the few objects acquired through great sacrifice by the people. The church has sculptures in wood by Giacomo Marizza and a 17th-century wooden altar.
Near Poffabro is the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine della Salute, built in 1873 in Pian Delle Merie in a clean neoclassical style.
The local products
The scarpeti of Poffabro, velvet slippers handmade by the last remaining artisans. Wooden objects and baskets are also made.
The local dishes
The cuisine of the valleys in the Pordenone area is simple and humble, but seasoned with aromatic mountain herbs.
A typical dish is frico, a cheese preserved in brine and pan-fried; also appetizing are brovada and muset (a turnip-based dish) and many kinds of game specialties.
The sausages are excellent, and lastly there is pitina, a traditional mixture of seasoned ground meats that is smoked and can be eaten raw or cooked.