Tag Archives: church Fossa

Restoration e la storia…

Around 800 years ago, Benedictine workers built this structure in Fossa on top of a 9th century AD Roman-Byzantine temple. And that was already on top of a crypt where for centuries BC and up until 391 AD, the Vestini tribe honoured Vesta (pagan goddess of hearth, home and family).

It’s survived more than 17 earthquakes over many centuries as well as WW2 bombings close by.

While humble outside, painted inside its walls is some of the oldest, most precious art in Abruzzo. Gothic-Byzantine frescoes that depict scenes like the last judgment (said to have inspired Dante to later write the Divine Comedy after he visited Fossa in 1294) and the pagan agrarian calendar so central to a rural community and to show stories for those not fortunate to learn to read.

Recently it reopened, a decade on from its damage after the 2009 earthquake. Beliefs aside, it’s significant to see its art restored, not just for those at present but for generations to come, for it’s a story of the area’s people and even the tiniest villages high in the mountains have their own potent stories.

(Santa Maria di Cryptas, Fossa, Abruzzo.)

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From over the Aterno Valley, Abruzzo…

Santa Maria Assunta, Fossa, AbruzzoThe steeple of Santa Maria Assunta in Fossa… the church that sits opposite my family’s house in Abruzzo. It was lovely to walk along the lanes below and listen to the bell tolling the time of day or to hear it from afar when you were on your way back to the village.

When I took this in 2005, it was a beautiful, serene day with no hint that just four years later the steeple’s turret would be gone when the earthquake caused it to crash down through the church roof.

Originally built in the 1200s, the church was expanded during the 1400s and then partly rebuilt following the earthquake of 1703. (At this time, my family’s house was about a decade old and had experienced its first terremoto.) I took this photograph with my old Pentax camera on black and white film. Although just over a decade ago, I didn’t yet have a digital camera then!

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Filed under art + photographs, italy