Agnone, a beautiful town where art and nature live together
Agnone is a small (with only five thousand inhabitants) but beautiful art city located at the border of the "National Park of Abruzzo Lazio and Molise" in the province of Isernia, in Molise, a region that stretches between the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea.
Agnone lies on a rocky hill 840 meters a.s.l. and it is nestled in a fascinating environment among the green, dense forest rich in flora and fauna, interrupted by small prairies and surrounded by mountainous landscapes.
As the village is located in the heart of the ancient Sannio, the surrounded area is rich in important Osco-Samnite archaeological finds. (Sannio was a historical and geographical area of central-southern Italy, inhabited by the Samnites between the 7th or 6th century B.C. and the early first centuries A.D.) Many archaeological artifacts, such as the funerary stele (an upright slab with a sculptured design) of Vibia Bonitas, which is kept at the "Teatro Italo Argentino" located in the old part of the town, were recovered here.
According to recent studies and archaeological finds, Agnone was built on the ruins of the ancient Aquilonia, a Samnite city, destroyed by the Romans in 239 B.C. During the later centuries, Agnone has been a fief of the Angevin, the Caracciolo, and the Gonzaga families.
Many remarkable beautiful art buildings and churches are scattered all over the village, some of them we suggest visiting:
- Piazza Plebiscito, you can start from this beautiful, central square of Agnone, which houses a marble fountain dating back to 1881;
- Church of Saint Mark the Evangelist, originally built in the eleventh century and reconstructed several times, featuring a beautiful Renaissance-style portal, a Venetian-Baroque-style coffered polychrome ceiling, and Baroque-style wooden altars;
- Church St. Francis, from the 14th century, is considered to be a national monument. Remarkable are the Gothic portal, the dome, and the bell tower. Inside, you can admire beautiful decorations, rich altars, and frescoes;
- Church of Sant'Emidio, the fourteenth-century church with a wonderful Gothic portal. It houses the 17th-century wooden statues depicting the 12 Apostles. Also, there are some beautiful paintings inside.
- Church of Sant'Antonio Abate, which dates back to the 12th century, with an interior rich in golden and silver decorations, altars, and paintings. It features an imposing eighteenth-century bell tower, the highest in Agnone;
Agnone is famous for its foundry of bells, called the "Pontifical Foundry Marinelli" (pic n°5), the oldest bell foundry in Europe, which even today works regularly, established in the early Middle Ages. It is one of the few factories licensed to use the papal coat of arms. For more than 800 years, the Foundry Marinelli has been molding bells for the town of Agnone, the region of Molise, Italy, Europe, and the whole world.
Do not miss the interesting "Museo Internazionale della Campana" (the International Museum of Bells) located next to the foundry.
Some pictures of Agnone: