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Mountain bourgeoisie and its cultural traditions

Until the 18th century the sheep industry represented a solid pillar of the economy of the Majella’s villages. A well-off class rose also in small villages and it aimed to acquire culture, especially in city like Naples.
This class was bound to its villages of origin and for this reason it introduced an high standard of living, building sumptuous houses, sometimes with rich libraries, and providing the local churches with works of art.

This phenomenon can be observed in many villages, among which Tocco da Casauria, Bolognano, San Valentino, Caramanico, Manoppello, Guardiagrele and Pescocostanzo, that represents an exception. At the beginning of the 7th century Pescocostanzo was not only the country of architects, sculptors and stone-cutters, but also the landing place of famous Italian artists such as the Caravaggio’s follower Tanzio da Varallo (you can find its works here and in the neighbouring villages) and Cosimo Fanzago, the Baroque’s genius in the Southern Italy.
The above-mentioned building heritage, that usually dates back between the 17th century and the middle of the 19th century, represents the most important evidence of a real “mountain bourgeois civilization”.
The rebellions in 1799 and the Napoleonic decade hastened the life in the mountain villages of Abruzzi, also thanks to the improvement of the main roads. In that period the whole bourgeoisie of Abruzzi plunged into the fervid world of Naples, from where many of its representatives, once recognized as intellectuals, left for Italy and Europe. Many jurists, philosophers, statesmen and historians were born, grew and were bound to the Majella’s villages, such as: Giuseppe De Thomasis; Ottavio Colecchi; Luigi Chiaverini; Benedetto Vulpes; Salvatore Tommasi; Leopoldo Dorrucci; Panfilo Serafini; Annibale De Gasparis; Bertrando and Silvio Spaventa; Giuseppe De Blasiis; Domenico Stromei; Anton Ludovico Antinori; Giuseppe Liberatore; Vincenzo Giuliani; Ignazio Di Pietro; Michele Tenore; Giuseppe Maria Galanti; Lorenzo Giustiniani; Filippo Cirelli; Giovanni Antonio Rizzi Zannoni.       

Image of traditional pastoralism in the Park
Image of foreshortening of Pescocostanzo
Image of Guardiagrele
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