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.
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.
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]
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.
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).