Cervinara

Trescine

Trescine, mentioned in 1532 as Trexine, is nowadays the convergence point from all around Cervinara. It was originally a casale with a strong bond with agricultural activities, due to its proximity to countryside. And, indeed, it has been suggested that its name may have a common root with the German verb dreschen, 'to thresh' — therefore it would date back to Langobard, or Norman times.
From the 16th century to 1807, Trescine gravitated around a Carmelite convent that was also a locally important cultural centre. Afterwards, at some point, the building became seat of the town hall of Cervinara. The square that has been arranged around it meanwhile, Piazza Trescine, turned into the town centre; and still is nowadays, due also to its several bars and the offices of a local newspaper and cultural association. Its role of political centre in the postwar was enhanced by the number of rallies that were given here by important national politicians — in particular from the Christian Democracy, which used to be the dominant party here.
After the 1980 earthquake, the rebuilding works have been particularly aggressive in Piazza Trescine: the old convent has been razed and replaced by a new seat for the municipal offices; and the artistically relevant church that was annexed to the convent has also been altered. Most locals still find unacceptable how part of their historical heritage has been deleted.
So, today's Trescine is a lively place, with a 20th-century appearance.
Access to Piazza Trescine from the main road Piazza Trescine is hidden from the main road. Or, to better say, until the 1970s the only road coming from Rotondi and proceeding towards San Martino west of Cervinara was this one, leading through Trescine. It's only relatively recently that the new via Variante has been built, allowing an easier journey between Cervinara and San Martino. It begins from the crossroad pictured here and goes to the left, 'behind' Piazza Trescine.
At the bottom of this road segment is the front of the church of Carmelo. The fountain on the left has been installed in 1990s. A photo from roughly the same angle, taken in the 1970s [Facebook]
Piazza Trescine Piazza Trescine is still diagonally traversed by a driveway, lined up with trees. On the left of this picture are the town hall and the church of Carmelo. The fountain The fountain, placed in 2011, is one of several works of the local artist Carmine Lengua that can be found in town.

Church of Maria Santissima del Carmelo

Chiesa di Maria Santissima del Carmelo

The church and the nearby convent were originally dedicated to Our Lady of the Graces and were in the hands of Augustinians. In 1520 the Carmelites friars started a new convent here, with the current denomination.
Studying and teaching were their main activities; it is remarkable that, aside traditional subjects like philosophy and exegesis of the Bible, in 1693 mathematics was introduced with the arrival of Elia Astorini, grandson of one of the first promoters of modern sciences in Naples, Tommaso Cornelio. The convent was pretty rich, thanks to the income coming from its possessions: the friars had the church decorated with with plenty of artworks, among which the 18th-century frescoes that cover the walls of the apse. On the other hand, chronicles report multiple cases of priors who proved to be corrupted or behaved improperly.
The convent was closed down in 1807, during the Napoleonic domination. After 2 years' break, the church returned to service until it was seriously damaged by the 1980 eartquake. The upper façade, with the bell cages on its sides, collapsed. The convent, which had meanwhile become the town hall, was judged as impossible to repair: so it was torn down to build a new edifice. According to the original plans, only the apse of the church with some wall portions were meant to be kept, as an entrance hall to a new church; but the construction site has been stuck for years. Only in 1997, after a big pressure from San Marciano's parish priest, Vito Cioffi, works started for a simple completion of the remains of the old church. They ended in 2006. Storia di Cervinara [Cervinaracity]

At the bottom of this page there is a picture of the church of Carmelo as it appeared after the earthquake. It was definitely possible to save almost everything of it.

Picture of the convent from the 1970s [Facebook]
The town hall and the front of the church In the intentions of the original project, the town hall would feature elements that are typical of public buildings in Italy, like the tower (on the left), and the balcony, that would symbolize the communication between political power and people. The hall was meant to be built in red bricks; due to budget reasons, this texture has only been simulated with red tiles.
It is a nearly unanimous opinion that the town hall is odd-looking, and not respectful of the local history. That was also the opinion of the province's department for historical heritage.
The front of the church has been built in a really simplified way. It has been initially built in stones but, again for budget issues, has been completed in tuff with a plain design. In particular it does not feature any more the bell cages that used to lie on the two sides of the roof. A new bell that had been specifically forged in 1998 to be hosted here has been brought to the church of Divina Misericordia instead. Il progetto del nuovo municipio di Cervinara

The architects Luigi Piemontese and Amato Rak explain their original reconstrictuin project, and the drastic simplifications it underwent.

The portal with its bronze shutters The stone portal is the one of the old church. The shutters, instead, have been placed in the new church in 2006. They are a work by the sculptor Gioacchino Cennamo; it primarily represents the legend according to which Our Lady of the Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock to reveal him that people who die wearing the scapular will be saved from hell. But it also represents the popular devotion, and pays homage to the old church of Carmelo, which is pictured on the top, behind an angel. Cervinara. Inaugurate le porte di bronzo della chiesa del Carmelo [Retesei]

Announcement that the last bit of the rebuilt church of Carmelo, the bronze doors, have been inaugurated.

Interior The chancel is the original one. Same for part of the arches on the side walls (in particular the ones at the bottom) and the cornice. Reconstruction has been directed by the architect Sandro De Rosa.
The altar and the frescoed apse The finely decorated chancel should be an artwork dating back to the 17th century. Its restoration has been directed by Flavio Petroccione. The earthquake beheaded some statues, like the small angels on top of the altar, and the two side ones behind it (St. Albert and St. Angel). Page on the website of Inner Wheel Valle Caudina

The club is looking for funds to restore the heads of the two saints' statues.

Remaining decorations on the side of the chancel
A picture of the saint martyrs of the concentration camps Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and Blessed Titus Brandsma were both Carmelites. They died at Auschwitz and Dachau, respectively. Vault of the apse
The old main street that traverses Trescine continues with Via Carlo Del Balzo, in an area historically known as Maranni, before going uphill to reach the older centre of Cervinara, named Ferrari. South, and uphill, Piazza Trescine instead, we find the old dungeon and the church of San Potito. This is usually considered to be the church of the casale of Scalamoni (Scannaturi, 'butchers' in 1532), which is located along the older road that runs uphill Cervinara (similarly as Pirozza and Curielli uphill Salomoni).
Via Del Balzo, or Maranni Via Del Balzo gathers a number of small shop and offices, and hides a series of private courtyards that make up the old casale named Maranni. The cross on via Del Balzo It is common to find, all around these areas, metal crosses left by mission of friars. Back of the town hall with the dungeon This area used to be the backyard of the Trescine's Camerlite convent. The building on the right used the be the local dungeon (built under the Bourbon kings of Naples?) and the open space in this picture was enclosed with a wall until a few decades ago. The dungeon is now seat of the local social welfare offices.
The building at the bottom is, of course, the town hall. The building in orange, shown from behind, is the meeting room of the town council: it is located just behind the church of Carmelo and was originally meant to be the new church, replacing the remains of the historical one. The dungeon with its wall, photographed in the 1970s [Facebook]

Church of San Potito Martire

Chiesa di San Potito Martire

Potito was a Christian martyr of the 2nd century. Apparently a church dedicated to him in Cervinara is mentioned already in the 13th century, but a more precise description is given only in 1687 in the inventories of the archdiocese. Similarly as now, it was divided into 3 naves, with the side ones featuring two altars each; but the current arrangement of the church is largely modern. It is a parish church, whose importance increased in the period when the church of Carmelo has been unusable. San Potito Martire - Traslazione e culto [ANSPI]

Here Cervinara's church is said to date back to the 13th century.

External view The altar, with a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows The apse is decorated with some modern paintings and a bronze bas-relief. The statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, on the right, is one of a number of different ones that may be found in Cervinara: after the church of San Gennaro, at Ferrari, became a sanctuary to her worship, Our Lady of Sorrow has been acknowledged as "Queen of Cervinara" by the archbishop of Benevento.
Interior of the church
A votive niche uphill Trescine Votive niches with images of the Virgin Mary are widespread all across Cervinara: they may be either included into private walls, or erected as tiny chapels at the junctions of the roads.
This one is located along via Partenio, the road uphill behind Cervinara, at the junction with the street coming from Trescine.
A donkey grazing along via Partenio Via Partenio is the name taken by the older road running along the Partenio slope, between the casali of Curielli and Ferrari. All along it there is a variety of woods, scrubs, grasslands.
Donkeys, once commonly employed as a means for carrying crops while harvesting, are now disappearing. Only few can still be seen around.
Copyright 2014 Antonio De Capua