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The rocky spur where Castropignano has grown over the centuries lies above the Biferno valley, on the edge of a sheep track that runs from Abruzzo to Apulia, i.e., next to one of the rural routes on which sheep were taken to winter near the coast. The village hasn't grown much - even today it only has about a thousand inhabitants - but this has helped to preserve its authenticity. It's also in an enviable position: it is thought that a castle was built here as early as the time of the ancient Samnites.

Not on exactly the same rock, but on a smaller outcrop nearby, there is a more recent, solidly-built fortress. These are the ruins of the recently-restored Evoli Castle, the Norman successor to the pre-existing Roman fortress, now open to visitors. Above the entrance is the coat of arms of the Evoli family, who owned the castle from the 1300s until the first half of the 19th century.

The houses in the historic centre overlook the valley from a sheer rockface. Not to be missed here are the churches of St Saviour, with a beautiful 14th-century Romanesque portal and holy water stoup from the same period, and Our Lady of Grace, with a Renaissance portal and gilted bas-reliefs on the counter-façade. The rest of the village is a pleasant stroll up the stone stairways and narrow alleys lined with colourful rows of laundry drying in the sun.


86010 Castropignano CB, Italia

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