Pietranico, Province of Pescara, Abruzzo

Situated on a hill on the Eastern side of the Rota river, Pietranico takes its name from a large rock around which the ancient castle, called Pietraniqua, was built. Later on the name appears as Petrainiqua and Petram Iniquam. Apart from the castle, which is very ancient, most of the village was built from the 15th century onwards, and there are some fine 19th century palaces. The popularity in the area of the rural saints Rocco and Michele is a sign of the ancient agricultural and pastoral economy of the place.


  • Altitude: 590 m a.s.l
  • Distance from Pescara: 46 km
  • Population: ca. 600 inhabitants
  • Postal code: 65020
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 085
  • Frazioni: Valle Barone
  • How to reach it: by road, A25 exit Torre de' Passeri; by bus, from Pescara.


In many documents from the Chronicon Casauriense the "castle of Petraniqua", is often mentioned, and it looks like it was acquired in the 11th century by the Abbey of Casauria, being originally founded by some baron possibly of Norman origin. With the decadence of the Abbey, Pietranico and nearby castles were given by the monastery to feudal lords of the area, namely a Gualtiero from Collepietro and, in the late 12th century it belonged to Sansone di Pietranico, as vassal of Gualtiero Gentile. One century later it came under Guglielmo di Letto, and in 1514 under Giovan Giuseppe Cantelmo, first Duke of Popoli. The Cantelmos sold Pietranico to Fabio d'Afflitto, Count of Trivento, then the lordship passed to other families, namely the Mattucci, Tomasetti and Malvini-Malvezzi from Matera. Di Pasquale Donato Giuseppe born in Pietranico and deceased in 1998 at 66, was a friar and a great music scholar.

What to see

  • The Sanctuary of Madonna della Croce, which rose in 1618 in a place in the wood where the Virgin Mary had appeared. The interior is covered in splendid frescoes divided into three cycles by three different maestros: the Chapel of Santa Maria della Croce by Tommaso di Bernardino dall’Aquila (1628-30), those in the Chapel of the Annunziata by Antonello de Castellis from Tocco (1656) and finally the cycle of the Passion by the Cardellis from Santo Stefano di Sessanio (1670).

Events and Festivities

  • 2-3 May e 14-15 September: celebrations for the Madonna della Croce, with a nocturnal procession which carries a statue of the Virgin Mary to the light of torches from the Parish Church through the village streets.

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