Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta: destiny and mountains
The small Romanesque church of Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta – in the small Abruzzo town of Rosciolo dei Marsi, L’Aquila – sits on the slopes of Mount Velino, in perfect harmony with the hues and shapes of the natural environment around it.
The rural, sober building – with an original structure that dates back to the 11th century – well represents the history of Abruzzo and its people, whose destiny, according to writer Ignazio Silone, “has been mainly decided by the mountains for eight centuries”.
The church used to be part of a now-gone abbey, and still has precious works of art such as 15th-century frescoes, a splendid ambon attributed to Abruzzo-born goldsmith and engraver Nicola da Guardiagrele (1385-1462), a 12th-century ciborium and a contemporary iconostasis topped by a magnificent wooden lintel.
The small church can be reached on foot taking a pathway from Rosciolo, and walking forty minutes into the fiercely rocky landscape of Abruzzo.