Paolisi

Capo 'e Copp'

When entering Paolisi from the Appian Way, the first area encountered is the so-called Capo 'e Copp', i.e., almost literally, the 'upper half' of the centre (even though the difference in elevation between the two halves is not substantial). The main road here takes the name of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and, apart from some - mostly modern - cottages with their gardens, the road is surrounded by terraced houses. The beginning of the town centre can be considered to be the Church of San Tommaso.

Church of San Tommaso Apostolo

Chiesa di San Tommaso Apostolo

The church was born as a hermitage out of the village, but it is known that in 1605 it was a parish church and included a Confraternity dedicated to the Madonna del Rosario.
The church is preceded by a yard, more elevated than the Corso. It is simple and small; its interior is barrel-vaulted, and soberly decorated. On its left there is a chapel belonging to the Confraternity. The chapel hosts a statue of the Lady of the Rosary, largely venerated in town. The tall bell tower, built during the 19th century, is also remarkable, and is the main distinguishing element of the town landscape.
After the big earthquake of 1980, the church underwent some restoration works, ended in 1991. Francesco Cossiga, President of the Republic at that time, visited the re-opened church. Confr. Maria SS. del Rosario [Comune di Paolisi]

A few words about the Confraternity.

Chiesa di San Tommaso [Laboratorio GIS, UniversitÓ di Trieste]

Some words of description of the exterior of the church.

Front view of the church, and the chapel on the left The façade of the church is extremely simple; its only notable element is a mullioned window. The Chapel of Santissimo Rosario, instead, is decorated with Ionic pilaster strips. The bell tower, seen from the rear
Interior of the church The church has, at its bottom, a half circle-shaped apse with a marble altar. Its furnishing underwent several thefts through time: the current one dates back to the 19th century and includes some wooden statues of saints, in particular the one of St. Thomas the Apostle. Ceramic picture of the Madonna del Rosario This picture decorates the entrance from the churchyard to the chapel belonging to the Confraternity of Madonna del Rosario.
After the first mention of the Confraternity in 1605, we do not have any other news until 1837, when it was about to dissolve due to bad administration. It was founded again in 1929, after a mission of Passionist friars in town.
The statue of Madonna del Rosario within her chapel The chapel is the richest part of the church. Access from the main nave is closed by a gate.
Buildings along a portion of Corso Vittorio Emanuele just after the church of San Tommaso show, when seen from aerial imagery, traces of a regular subdivision of the land into 8 equal rectangles, arranged the two sides of the road, that might date back to an ancient Roman planning. So this might be the first core of Capo 'e Copp'; yet it is now a virtually undistinguishable part of the urban tissue.
The Corso east of the church Starting from the portal on the right, the Corso features a straight segment that, together with remains of a modular subdivision of the soil on the two sides into rectangles, is a clue that a (late) Roman rural settlement was established here. A beastly face hung under a balcony The bell tower of San Tommaso as seen from the Corso Modern square dedicated to San Pio Padre Pio da Pietrelcina (1887-1968) is a Catholic saint, born near Benevento. He became famous for the alleged miracles he performed in life, and largely worshipped across the region Campania. During the latest decades, lots of big and small towns have dedicated a corner to the saint.
Proceeding along the Corso, we find a cluster of notable landowners' residences. They usually follow the scheme of a rectangular, patchy building with a middle courtyard, which is accessible directly from the main portal. This is usually marked by a decorated framing in stone, that may feature the family coat of arms as well.
I might have confused the names of the buildings below, because the little information that can be found online is fragmented and inconsistent.

Nardini House

Palazzo Nardini

The house features a stone portal dating back to 1714. It used to belong to the Marchioness of Castel di Sangro.

Bifanielli House

Palazzo Bifanielli

It was built during the 17th century but the stone portal was placed in 1783. The courtyard is paved in lime stones and features a remarkable well curb in tuff stone. The building is currently employed as a bed & breakfast.

Ianniello House

Palazzo Ianniello

The building faces the street with two portals, both carrying the family's coat of arms. The left one, entirely in stone and quite remarkable, gives access to the courtyard. The right one is simpler and enters a private lane.
Stone portal of Nardini House Corso Vittorio Emanuele between Bifanielli and Nardini houses The moulded side wall of Bifanielli House, on the left, features a baroque balcony. The overall aspect of Nardini house is simpler.
Front of Bifanielli House The arcades and the well curb of the courtyard are visible behind the stone portal. Ianniello's coat of arms
The main portal, and the courtyard, of Ianniello House
Courtyard of the older Bifani House Bifani family used to be one among the main land owners in Paolisi. Their original building has been recently refurbished, and features a square courtyard surrounded by walls in tuff. Courtyard of Bifanielli House Semi-abandoned house between Ianniello and Bifani houses
Gallo House It was built at the beginning of 20th century, and shares its style with several other noble houses of the same age. Note the old-fashioned shop decorations on the right of the main portal. Rear gate of Gallo's garden
Popular houses along Corso Vittorio Emanuele Several short alleys open up among the wealthy residential buildings of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, and conceal more modest housing originally conceived for lower classes. As each building is usually divided into several flats, staircases giving individual access are an essential feature. Note the one at the bottom, now turned into part of the flat itself. Piazza Armando Diaz, featuring a memorial of the World Wars
View from Via Ferrari Via Ferrari is a road crossing the main street of the ton centre of Paolisi; it can be considered to be the border between the Capo 'e Copp' and the Capo 'e Vascio. Behind the row of buildings is mount Paraturo. Walk in the woods, along the Serino aqueduct Serino aqueduct has been completed in 1885, and carries water from the town of Serino to Naples running along the slopes of Partenio, just slightly more uphill of the inhabited centres of Paolisi, Rotondi and Cervinara. The Paolisi segment has a walk on top of it, reachable from most of the lanes that open up in the southern side of the main road.
Copyright 2014 Antonio De Capua