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Foiano di Val Fortore

It is easy to understand that the entire area that surrounds Foiano di Val Fortore takes its name from the river with the same name (Fortore river) that is also a natural border between the Campania, Molise and Puglia regions.

Regarding the name Foiano, there are historical sources that explain its origin comes from the Latin name “Flavius”, with the addition of the suffix “anus” that states belonging again with reference to the “Fortore River”; other sources that identify it deriving from  “Forum Jani” although the first certified name is “Fuganum” which makes us believe in a Roman “praedium Fuganum”.

It is indisputable that the first historical evidence about Foiano dates back to before the Norman age. Foiano and its territory must have been object of interest by diverse populations and cultures: Greek, Etruscans, Sanniums, Romans, Goths, Byzantines and Langobards.

In particular, during the Norman age, Foiano was the Feud of Drago; under the Angevin domination, Foiano was possessed by the Abbey of S.Maria del Gualdo Mazzocca and later by the De Capitanei from Novara; Finally it remained under the control of the Abbey of San Bartolomeo in Galdo.

It thus became a religious benefit moving from one Cardinal to another and again returned to being a Feud in the hands of Guevara from Bovino, Carafa, Gonzaga, Spinelli from Buonalbergo and Caracciolo.

In 1607 Foiano went under the civil and penal jurisdiction of the Jesuits, that maintained it until their abolition (1773).

Today Foiano di Val Fortore has about 1500 inhabitants; the village was completely reconstructed following the 1962 and 1980 earthquakes. What remains of its history are the churches “Madonna della Libera” and “S.S. Rosario” and the bell tower of the old church “S.Pietro”. All these structures have been rebuilt several times.

Come and visit us … it will be an unforgettable experience, immersed in the nature in an eco-friendly environment, reliving the past !


The trails of transhumance

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For an area in which the rearing of livestock, especially sheep, has always constituted the main economic source since ancient times, the transhumance trails have carried out a vital function. As well as being important means of communication, they also brought along development because they favoured  the birth of new settlements along their routes.

The Fortore Valley was brushed by two trails, one of which (Castel di Sangro-Lucera) passed near Volturara, whilst the other (Pescasseroli- Candela) passed between Circello and San Marco dei Cavoti and next near Castelfranco in Miscano.

The small trail (tratturello) “Volturara-San Bartolomeo – Roseto-Castelfranco” connected the two former trails crossing the Fortore Valley.


Giovanni the hermit and his abbey

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On the 24th of June the community of Foiano stand by their patron saint San Giovanni Eremita (Tufara 1084 – Foiano di Val Fortore 1170), thanks to a big festival.

The celebrations take place in the church that was built upon the antique ruins of the old monstery called “Santa Maria de Gualdo Mazzoca” that was also built upon the ruins of a pagan temple consecrated to Pollux.

The construction of the monastery was authorized in 1156 by Pope Adrian IV. However, in 1456 there was a violent earthquake and in 1630 a fire that caused its total destruction.  A new chapel was built on the ruins of the monastery and it was consecrated by the archbishop Orsini from Benevento in 1716.

The Saint from Foiano was the founder and the first Abbot of the Abbey “Santa Maria de Gualdo Mazzocca” (the name refers to the devotion towards Holy Mary, to the place next to the woods where the Abbey rose up, to the lord who was the owner of the bordering lands who and which later donated them to the church) from which the precepts of monasticism were spread.

He was a penintent hermit consecrated to prayer and meditation, but also a creative mind and an incessante charity worker: he would offer, together with spiritual support, also material support through a tangible action of civilization and evaluation of the human being. The aim of the monastery and the monk was the redemption of people and the realization of their rights.

In the Mazzocca area there is a monument that recalls the figure of this importante Saint also considered the “forefather of Fortore civilization” (Donato Castellucci). It was erected by the local council in 1998 thank to the project by the Architect G. Castelluci and the sculptor A. Fagioli.