No Warnings and notice
Secinaro rests on a promontory that dominates the fairy-tale Subequana Valley; it is a municipality with approximately 400 inhabitants situated 850 m above sea level. Its particular name derives from Sicina Ara, the altar dedicated to Sicina or Sicinna, the nymph of the procession of the Goddess Cybele following Dionysius. It is easy to reach either by car or by bus, it is 20 km from Rocca di Mezzo, 40 km from L’Aquila and 20 km from the Sulmona motorway exit, it is close to the main tourist destinations with an excellent quality/price ratio.
As for mountain enthusiasts, Secinaro provides, just a stone’s throw away from the town, the enchanting dolomitic panorama of Mount Sirente (2,349 m. high, the fourth highest peak of the Apennines) with an age-old beech forest which is renowned for the harvesting of wood and porcini mushrooms as well as a permanent snow-house that can be reached directly from the town by means of several paths that reach suggestive destinations to be discovered even on horseback such as the fields at a high altitude in locations such as Fonte Canale, the Sirente snow-house, Fonte dall’Acqua (Water Spring), Le Pagliare di Tione, the Meteoritic Lake, the Roman city of Superaequum, the miracle spring of St. Francis a Baullo, etc….. . Guarded refuges and fully-equipped refreshment areas along the path allow you to fully enjoy the landscape. Throughout the year, a trekking association called L’arcobaleno del Sirente (The Sirente Rainbow) organises scheduled events in order to discover these places and in winter, the Sirente Plains offer long, fascinating cross-country ski runs.
Even from a point of the wine and food, here local specialities can be found. Locally-produced meat from animals reared in the wild on high altitude pastures, typical lamb-based dishes such as marro, j’ntremè (every year in Gagliano Aterno there is a dedicated festival), organic pulses, prestigious cereals of ancient origin such as solina, the wheat that our great-grandparents ate which is rich in fibre and nutrients which is particularly suitable for people with a reduced glucose tolerance (every year dedicated festivals are organised in the Subequana valley), these give the various local manufacturers ideas as regards the preparation of a wide range of fresh and pre-packed food products.
While browsing around the town, it is easy to notice, the thousand-year-old inscriptions set deep into the constructions of houses and fountains, just as you can find them resting on the roadside, that tell of the ancient origins of the town with it glorious past: In fact, we are speaking about Superaequum, the Roman city ruled by famous quadrumvirs, who possessed temples, indoor markets, circuses, roads, catacombs and it hosts, among other things, the mortal remains of Octavius’ wife. Artefacts of remarkable importance can be seen upon the Town Hall premises, in a museum under construction and in other private locations, such as the restaurant “Da Ada e Giovanni” with fully-equipped area. For further information on this topic, a local celebrity, Evandro Ricci, who has spent most of his life documenting the numerous findings in many books and publications, some of which are available online.
Last, but not least, is the legend described by Fabrizi in 1898 which associated the cult of Sicina in Secinaro to the sicinnide, orgiastic dances that exalted the phallic cult dedicated to the gods and dances of the ancient city of Superaequum, within Greek and Roman territories. One day, during one of these dances, in the temple dedicated to the goddess Pelina (now called the Church of Our Lady of Consolation in Secinaro), a bolt of lightning struck on a clear, sunny day and the pagans, believing that this was the Christians’ fault, locked them in the temple and hit them until they were killed. A terrible outbreak of the plague followed. Then “One night, towards East, beyond the sea, far, far away, I saw a long, flaming beam of light. This was the angels who were taking the beautiful, holy image of Our Lady of Costantinopolis, through the sky, from star to star, onto the Lucoli mountains; and over there, flying back, they came to put it in here”. That “flaming beam of light” seems to be the same that Costantine, King of Rome, saw prior to the battle against Maxsentius at Saxa Rubra, in which he read “In hoc signo vinces”. Costantine recognised a cross of fire in that beam of light and he interpreted his victory as a sign from Christ. Therefore he converted to Christianity and he officialised the Christian religion. Today, that beam of light, according to an international commission of scientists inspired by the insights given by the Swedish geologist Jens Ormo in 1990, it would seem that it really existed. It was a meteorite; the most recent meteorite that struck Italy caused a crater on the Sirente Plain (the meteoritic lake).
The Church of Our Lady of Consolation
This is a rare example of a sacred building with a double nave with sloping flooring; the church rises on the remains of a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Pelina which was subsequently expanded in 1507 as can be seen on the epistyle of the front entrance. Inside 16th century frescoes of St. John the Baptist and St. Lucy can be found, together with 18th century statues and an ancient stone holy water stoup. The clay Madonna and Child dating back to the 15th century and the 16th century fresco that tells of the legend of the Virgin Mary taken through the sky and over the sea from Costantinople.
Civitas di Superaequum
The Subequana valley as we see it today, consists of several medieval hamlets that in the past hosted “pagus” and “vicus”. These were organised after the end of the social war that took place in the 1st century B.C. establishing the Civitas di Superaequum (the third Civitas of the Paeligni together with Sulmo and Corfinium) which survived until the 4th-5th century D.C. when there was a sudden abandonment of the pagi and the vici of the plain area and there was a simultaneous, mysterious increase in the death rates. The works worthy of mention include the Paleo-Christian tombs of Castelvecchio Subequo and the temple of Castel D’Ieri, which can still be seen. In the Secinaro territory, the archaeological area still partially unexplored can be found at the foot of the town, on the main road leading towards Sulmona and on the right of which the San Gregorio-Salitto-Ira ridge can be seen where there are also ancient road, the remains of Roman opus incertum walls, several artefacts are now kept in the Town Hall and in the museum under construction, remains of a small temple, stone blocks and inscriptions engraved in the fountains in San Gregorio and Cambra, the fountain in Casale, an archaeological site dating back to the Aeneolithic era and finally commemorative inscriptions such as the one on the cemetery church in Gagliano Aterno.
The crater is situated on the Sirente Plain between Secinaro and Rocca di Mezzo and it can easily be reached from the road. The largest crater has raised edges, it is egg-shaped it hosts a lake, while in the North-West area there are several circular hollows caused by the fall of fragments produced during the impact with the atmosphere. Radiocarbon dating has made it possible to estimate the date of the impact to have been around 421 A.D. +/- 40 years. Moreover, the core samples obtained have not highlighted the classic stratigraphic overlapping but a homogeneous sample. However further studies are necessary to confirm this discovery.
Longanum, medieval Churches
At the foot of the town, there are several medieval constructions with adjacent “pagliare” and the Church of Our Lady of the Valley, of which only ruins remain. These represent a different hamlet compared to the central nucleus with a radial internal road network situated at the foot of the castle. Moreover, in this municipality in 1223 there were a total of nine churches: St. Marie de Rosis, St. Nicolai, St. Egidii, St. Juste, St. Quirici, St. Johannis, St. Gregorii, St. Theodori, St. Marie.
St. Nicholas’ Church and the Medieval hamlet
The imposing, majestic St. Nicholas’ church dominates the town and the Subequana valley from a rocky spur; in fact, it rises from the ruins of the ancient castle of Secenale. If you look closely, it is possible to appreciate the primitively-constructed tower foundations. It was built in a period following the arrival of the Lombards between the 9th and 11th centuries, for defensive and sighting purposes. The church portal dates back to 1547. Its interiors host remarkable works of artistic value such as the sacred paintings and a copper and silver processional cross dating back to 1554, by Vincenzo Goberna of Fontecchio.
The Sirente snow-house
This permanent snow-house is situated at 2,030 m. at the foot of the dolomitic slope of the Mount Sirente in an area which is not exposed to direct sunlight, represents an interesting destination for trekking enthusiasts that can be easily reached by the Sirente chalet, near to Secinaro. The freezing industry was, until last century, one of the main sources of wealth for the town together with the harvesting of wood in the age-old beech forests. Ancient techniques allowed the preparation and transport of blocks of ice to distant locations such as Rome and Foggia, where rich people already in ancient Roman times, could afford the precious goods to be used both for therapeutic purposes and for food preparation and preservation. Several documents visible on the Town Hall website show tenders that are carried out every year.
The Neviera Sirente
St. Nicholas’ Church
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Mobile [+39] 348 8096968
Associazione di volontariato Adigi,
Via Plaiola 107 - Secinaro
Associazione di trekking L’Arcobaleno del Sirente
Secinaro - Tel. [+39] 328 6498469