Friday, 2 November 2012

Some Local History -Vallebona

Ever since I found out about the ancient monastery situated at the top of 'our valley' I've been trying to find out more about its history and a possible connection to our house.Possibly some of the large stones used to create the original entrance to the Church may have come from the site of this monastery rather than San Libertore in Serramonacessca as we had been told.

The monastery is known as San Peitro di Vallebona and I assume that the Vallebona in the title refers to the valley/ravine that runs below our house? Bona was a Roman goddess linked to fertility and there are other references to her in the Manoppello area.There is the abbey of Santa Maria Arabona in Manoppello which is believed to have been built over a Roman Altar dedicated to Bona.

Site of the ruined monastery looking down to Manoppello and the Pescara Valley

The existence of the monastery belonging to the diocese of Chieti, there are various historical sources (for further discussion, please refer to the contribution of Dr. Daniela E. White in SANTANGELO, Manoppello. Historical and artistic guide to the city and its surroundings, pp. 104-108): the first statement is 1140, then the foundation of the same is certainly prior to this date.

In 1285, to mention only the main dating, the Abbey of St. Peter's congregation joined Celestine employed by the Holy Spirit of Morrone and was then placed under the same Pietro da Morrone he bought this monastry

. In the period from 1320 to 1350, the monastery enjoyed a renewed splendor which ceased in 1383 when resumed from the incursions of predators causing a state of decay and neglect. Only in 1645, the building was restored by the University of Manoppello after a miraculous apparition of a crucifix in the church that attracted a multitude of the faithful.

This is the last statement that we have historical and hence the name of the Church of the Crucifix which is commonly called the site. Other titles with which is mentioned below in St. Peter Vallebona, which is the foundation are: Santa Maria di Santo Stefano and Vallebona Vallebona or Wolf. The first name is linked to one of the two historical artifacts that come from this sacred place: it is a witness to the cult of the Virgin, or the so-called "Madonna of the Snow", stone sculpture preserved since 1855 at the Basilica of the "Holy Face Manoppello "and now placed on an altar in the backyard, the name Vallebona instead could be linked to the cult of the goddess Bona, as the pre-existence of the abbey of S. Maria Arabona.

The head of the Vallebona close to the monastery now the bottom of the ravine is very overgrown and impossible to walk along -the lowest section which comes out on the road leading to the Volto Santo is used by a local Shepherd and several people cultivating small vegetable plots and the path continues to the area below our house in Contrada Foce. Possibly a track may have lead from Manoppello up the valley/ravine and to the monastery and up onto the mountain?
This view of the ruins show just to the right the area of the spring (you can make out some willows) The commune have put up some new signs so people can at last walk to the monastery.
new sign


Such tracks were used by shepherds taking their flocks up onto the mountains in the drier summer months.

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