Jan 21, 2021 · 12:48 pm
View from Fossa.
The torre, Fossa’s oldest structure dating back to the 12th century.
I can’t quite believe it’s twenty-five years since the first time I went to Italy… And those who know Mezza Italiana know that, for me, going to see where my family came from was a trip I took with some trepidation and mixed feelings, and yet it turned out to be incredibly life-changing. Little did I know then, I’d one day write a book about it and that the best thing about that would be connecting with so many of you and discovering how you shared either similar experiences about your ancestry and/or a love for Italy. It still amazes me to think that trip became the start of Mezza Italiana, especially as I wrote about something that I’d kept so close inside for my whole life until then.
Monastery on the outskirts of Fossa… Il Convento di Sant’ Angelo d’Ocre, founded in the 13th century.
Rich blue skies in the middle of the day.
Being twenty-five years on, I decided to dig out the photos I took on that first trip to Fossa in Abruzzo. (Some of them certainly look like they’re that old now!) I also had a modest Pentax camera that took rolls of film so some photos mightn’t be the best or as many as I’d take now on a phone camera, considering the cost to get rolls of films developed on a backpacker’s budget then! Still, it’s lovely to look back, especially to see Nanna Francesca and Nonno Anni next to me on the front steps the day I arrived as well as beautiful Fossa when there was no hint of the earthquake to come more than a decade later. And I still can’t get over the rich blueness of the sky some days up there in the Apennine Mountains! No filters or tricks on these photos, just nature at its most exquisite. Thank you for taking the Mezza Italiana journey with me and for sharing your stories too. Grazie infinite cari amici! Zoe xx
Early morning mist over the mountain with the romance of chimneys, terracotta roofs… and a quite tall tv antenna. 👀
Fossa at dusk. Almost timeless.
More photos here …
Filed under inspiration + history, italy
Tagged as 13th century tower Italy, Apennine Mountains, Fossa Abruzzo, Fossa Abruzzo Italy 1996, Fossa Italy, historic buildings Fossa Abruzzo, Italian architecture, Italian migrant stories, Italian migrants, Italian village life, Mezza Italiana, migrant stories, returning to your ancestry, rich blue skies, the place of your ancestors, villages in Abruzzo
May 24, 2019 · 11:06 am
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.)
Filed under inspiration + history, italy
Tagged as 10 anno anniversario terremoto, 10 year anniversary abruzzo l'aquila earthquake, 2009 Abruzzo earthquake, 2009 abruzzo terremoto, art restoration, church Fossa, church frescoes, Dante Alighieri, Dante Divine Comedy inspiration, Fossa, Fossa Abruzzo Italy, fresco restoration, frescoes, Gothic-Byzantine frescoes, historic buildings Fossa Abruzzo, restoration after 2009 Abruzzo earthquake, Santa Maria di Cryptas, The Divine Comedy inspiration, Vesta hearth family home, Vestini Abruzzo, Vestini Fossa