Scurcola Marsicana

(m 700 s.l.m. 42° 03’ 51” N – 13° 20’ 24” E)

Elevated to the rank of city by decree of the President of the Republic on February 14, 2011, it is a municipality of 2,805 inhabitants in the province of L’Aquila in the Abruzzo region. Located at the bottom of the Monte S. Nicola in the western part of the drained Lake Fucino, it is high above the Piani Palentini (in prehistoric times the waters of Fucino flooded these plans) and it was the site of the so-called battle of Tagliacozzo in 1268.

The presence of a necropolis, near which was discovered a settlement of the Bronze Age, in use from the 14th to the 10th centuries BC, of the Iron Age outside the village along the river Imele-Salto – where iron and bronze objects including buckles, swords, breastplates now preserved in the Archaeological Museum in Chieti came to light – attests the presence of a town on the Monte San Nicola. Italic peoples lived here, such as the Equi, always fighting with Marsi, near the Lake Fucino.

The Romans conquered the city after several military campaigns after which there was the settlement of Alba Fucens colony and Scurcola was incorporated in the so-called Agerpublicusaequicolanus (hence, the name of the Cicolano Valle del Salto) between 304 and 294 BC. The process of Romanization went after the social war during the years 89-91 BC, between Rome and the Italic peoples (Italic League of Corfinio, that wasn’t joined by Alba Fucens).

During the imperial period, it became the seat of the country villas of wealthy Romans who had preferred to leave Rome. After the Roman Empire (476 A.D.) the entire area of Marsica was contested between the Goths and Byzantines until Scurcola was subdued by the Lombards as part of the Duchy of Spoleto, then move on to the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne.

The origin of the village Monte San Nicola dates back to this period, who took the name of "Sculcula" from the Lombard "skulk" (guard), probably because it arose as a guard post along the Via Valeria. With the Normans in the 11th century, Scurcola, where an ancient tower was transformed into a castle of pentagonal shape, was annexed to the Kingdom of Sicily and under the rule of the Swabians, the village grew through the development of the agricultural and handicraft.

The so-called Battle of Tagliacozzo in 1268 between the Swabians and Angevins in the Palentini Plans, ends with the Angevin rule with Charles I of Anjou victorious Corradino of Swabia, who moved the capital of the kingdom from Palermo to Naples, even building the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, whose ruins and the statue - probably of French art - of the Madonna persists to this day. The area came under the jurisdiction of French monks and then, the De Pontibus family, the enactment of the Berardi family of Celano.

In the 16th century the Orsini family, in order to include the Marsica int the Papal State subtracting it to the Kingdom of Naples, fortified the stronghold of Scurcola, and introduced the use of firearms. The Orsini family was followed by the Colonna family, who fought long the fortress until it was definitively conquered by the Colonna family until 1800.

Between the late 1500s and early 1600s, while the Cistercian abbey was declining, the Gothic style arose and the church of the Holy Trinity was built, with a wonderful baroque staircase; the church, in the baroque style, of St. Anthony of Padua, which is part of the convent; the new church of Maria SS. della Vittoria, near the fortress.

Between1600 and 1700 Scurcola experienced an hard time, from an agropastoral tiring work to famines and military destruction. Between the 17th and 18th centuries, life in the small agro-pastoral community of Scurcola was characterized only by the hard work and the famines that often raged even in the region because of the passage of many armies until 1800.


Places of religious interest:

  • Church of SS.Trinità

  • The chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

  • Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria

  • The abbey of Santa Maria della Vittoria

  • The remains of the Cistercian abbety

  • Church of Sant’Egidio

  • Church of Sant’Antonio

  • Church of San Nicola in Cappelle dei Marsi.


Places of cultural interest:

  • The fountain of Venere Anadiomene

  • The fortress of Rocca Orsini

  • The onoretta Palace (know ad Portella)

  • The Medieval watchtower

  • Tuzzi palace (XVI-XVII centuries)

  • Macchia palace (XVI-XVII centuries)

  • Ottaviani palace (XVI-XVII centuries).


Main annual events:

  • Palm Sunday: the “Calvario” (Calvary) in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria

  • Holy Thursday and Good Friday: The Last Supper commemoration

  • Holy Thrusday: the foot washing

  • Good Friday morning: the Passion of the Christ passing through the seven churches

  • Good Friday evening: the Calvario (Calvary) in the church of SS. Trinità

  • 1st weekend of July: feast of Sant'Antonio from Padova and San Vincenzo Ferreri

  • Last weekend of August: feast of Maria SS. della Vittoria

  • Middle August: festival of Ciammella (donut)

  • End of August: festival of Onion

  • Contrade e Borghi (hamlet and villages): a medieval and historic parade

  • International D'Angiò Award.


For further information

Scurcola Marsicana is part of the circuit of the “Borghi Autentici d’Italia”