Pescolanciano, Province of Isernia, Molise

The name Pesculum Lanzanum comes from Pesculum (=big rock) and Lanzanum (the name of a Roman family) or a Norman lord named Lanz. Due to its geographical position, it is considered the "door to Upper Molise".


  • Altitude: 819 m a.s.l
  • Territory: mountainous
  • Population: about 850 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 86090
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0865
  • Patron Saint: St. Anna
  • Frazioni & Localities: Torre della Castagna.


The origin of the settlement goes back to the 4th century BC, when the Samnites made a fortress here to fight the Romans. The present settlement took origin under the Norman occupation, when the massive castle was built. Later on, when the transhumance economy began to develop, Pescolanciano was an important resting site for the sheep flocks and the shephers.

Under Frederick II the fiefdom was given to Teodino from Pescolanciano, who was appointed "Giustiziere" of the Molise Countdom, to pass later under the rule of the Evoli, Carafa and finally, in the 16th century, the D'Alessandro family, among whose members there were such prominent figures as a councilor of Charles I Anjouu and jurist Antonio D'Alessandro, an ambassador of King of Naples Ferdinand I of Aragon in European courts.

In 1756 Duke Pasquale d'Alessandro started in his castle a maiolica workshop, which obtained such great success to threaten the Capodimonte Royal Factory. As a consequence in the 19th century the Neapolitans ordered the destruction of the Pescolanciano maiolica center, whose very few, precious surviving pieces are today in the Louvre, Paris.


  • Typical of the place is the polenta, prepared according to many different, exquisite recipes: Polenta with beans, white polenta with fresh cheese, and other preparations with local white and black truffle, porcini mushrooms, or the "polenta infornata".

What to see

  • The medieval castle located in the highest part of the town is connected to the center by a bridge. Originally a massive fortress with round towers at the corners, in the 18th century it was changed into an elegant mansion Inside the interesting Chapel with a fine painting of the Solimena school and a magnificent marble altarpiece.
  • The church of Sant'Antonio
  • The Sighting Tower located in Santa Maria del Vignale.

Events and Festivities

  • Many fairs are held on the occasion of religious feasts: 14 June (San Basilio), 14 August (Santa Maria), 22 September (San Domenico), 3 November (San Carlo, the patron) and 4 December (Santa Barbara).
  • For Sant’Anna on 26 July, when there is a parade of wheat bundles, carried with any possible vehicles, tractors, carts, sleds drawn by dogs, donkeys or copper pots. The feast had its origin in 1805, when the area was hit by an earthquake and after that a terrible hailstorm. Sant'Anna was believed to have protected the harvest while the farmers were distraught by the earthquake, so the feast became a kind of thanksgiving festival for Pescolanciano and surrounding centers.

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Provinces of Molise
Molise region
Surnames in the Provinces of Molise