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ROCCA DI CAMBIO
Rocca di Cambio is a small mountain town in the province of L’Aquila, in the heart of Abruzzo. With its 1,434 m above sea level, it is the highest municipality in all the Apennine area. The town is situated in the northern part of the Velino-Sirente Plateau, today known as the Rocche Plateau, which also the districts of Rocca di Mezzo, Rovere, Ovindoli and Terranera belong. It is an area that is worth visiting for its habits, customs, traditions and for the unmistakable taste of its cuisine, for the history of its people associated for many years with fatigue, poverty and deprivation. Up until 50 years ago the economy of Rocca di Cambio was mainly based on lean agriculture, small sheep and cattle breeding farms. In fact, only at the beginning of the 1940s, the local economy showed the first signs of a positive change thanks to its Mayor Aldo Jacovitti; He governed the Municipality as from 1951 for three administration with skill and enthusiasm, dedicating himself mainly to the redevelopment of the historical town centre, to the road network, the hotel industry and the development of tourism.
The creation of the Campo Felice skiing resort was his greatest project and the driving force that has determined a precise trend reversal as regards the local economy. In 1965, 1966 and 1968 Rocca di Cambio, became nationally famous as it was the venue of one of the legs of the Giro d’Italia; there have been and there are still three unforgettable occasions for the history of this town, that Mayor Jacovitti, wanted to offer his people. Sports celebrities, those coming from the world of journalism, TV, were all there in that little mountain town: Torriani, Zavoli, De Zan, Merckx, Anquetil, Gimondi, Adorni, Raschi, Altig, Motta, Taccone. Everyone praised Rocca di Cambio. On the occasion of the 1965 leg, a parallel event was organised to twin the town with the Swiss town of Saas Fee (1,802 m. above sea level) which that year was also a leg of the Giro d’Italia. The promoters of this great initiative were the two Mayors of that time: the already mentioned Aldo Jacovitti and Hubert Baumann.
Among the protagonists coming from the world of culture, sport and politics that were guests here in Rocca di Cambio, was the unforgettable Ignazio Silone from Abruzzo (who here wrote the final chapter of the famous novel "Uscita di Sicurezza"). Today, Rocca di Cambio with its 478 inhabitants is an established tourism destination and winter sport resort that many people prefer also for their summer holidays.
Mother Church of St. Mary or Our Lady of the Annunciation
It was built in the 16th century. The building is composed of three naves and it has a valuable white stone baptismal font with a hexagonal base dating back to 1569. The Mother Church was restored for the first time in 1967 and it was inaugurated on 9th July of the same year and it underwent its second restoration in 1999 and it was inaugurated yet again on 20th June of the same year. Today, the Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation has been restored to its original magnificence and it hosts important works of art. Among other things: a polychrome wooden statue portraying St. Lucy which was attributed to a local artist (Abruzzo) dating back to the 15th century, a coated terracotta Via Crucis by Sirio Ferri, a ceramic crucifix by the same artist as well as the Annunciation by the sculptor Pietro Romano.
The Collegiate church of St. Peter or the Church of Our Lady
The Collegiate church of St. Peter can be found in the highest part of the town. The church has only one nave and nine altars. In the high altar a niche has been carved and which hosts a wooden and majolica statue of St. Peter that dates back to the 10th century. Finally, the bell tower is worthy of note that hosts three bells, one of which weighs over 6 quintals. The Tower collapsed in the 1940s but it has remained the emblem of the town and there is a fresco that, according to popular tradition, is associated with a miracle that happened in 1822. The fresco of the Madonna del Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary), positioned on the original noble altar of the Marinangeli family was discovered on 13th July 1822. The Collegiate Church of St. Peter, "The sacristan went up to ring the bells at 9 p.m. and he found that the painting on that first altar had overturned. He looked more closely and he realised that, as a result of the fall, a beautiful picture of Our Lady of the Rosary had appeared, before the construction of the noble altar, as a wall fresco which was very beautiful. He was full of joy after making this discovery and he started to ring the bells loudly. The people came from the fields and saw it, they admired it, they implored. There was also a sign: a certain Rimualdo Pietropaoli, crippled for many years, felt as if he had been healed and he left his crutches, to recall this event, hung on the altar. This happening triggered an even greater event: following this, the inhabitants of the town rediscovered its mother and developed a marked devotion to the Rosary that distinguished it”. Since then, this discovery is celebrated every year. Here the Fresco of Our Lady of the Rosary after its restoration in 2006 can be seen.
St. Lucy’s Abbey
This is a church built in Romanesque style situated about 2 Km from Rocca di Cambio which dates back to the 12th century and it is a national monument. In its interiors there are valuable frescoes that date back to the 12th-13th century such as the works by famous Abruzzo artists coming from the Giotto school, representing scenes from the life of St. Lucy, the Passion, the Resurrection and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, as well as the Last Supper that takes up an entire wall. The church façade is sober with a portal dating back to the 15th century as well as a small wheel-shaped window dating back to Medieval times. The gabled bell tower was added in the 18th century. Its interiors are divided into three naves with a large presbytery without any apses.
The Rognone Fountain
The more than 100 year old Rognone fountain dates back to 1881. The large bath-drinking trough, originally positioned obliquely with respects to the fountain itself, was moved to its current position in the early 1950s.
Rocca di Cambio
Rocca di Cambio
Rocca di Cambio - Panoramic View
Rocca di Cambio - The fountain
Rocca di Cambio
5 - 5
Ufficio Turistico Pro-Loco Rocca di Cambio
Tel. / Fax [+39] 0862 918100