Morcone

Morcone 770x370

Morcone overlooks the Valle del Tammaro, along the border between Campania and Molise, perched and arranged like a fan on the slope of Mount Mucre. Its origins are confused between legend and history in the stories of an ancient Samnite city – perhaps Murgantia or more probably Mucrae, from which the name of Morcone derives. The mighty remains of polygonal walls can be seen below the ruins of the medieval castle and still exist at the top of the hill. The first reference to Morcone dates back to 776 d.c. when, in the Longobard age, it became an important steward. It was a bishopric from 1058 to 1122 and since the 11th century it has enjoyed the title of “civitas”. During the Norman era, Swabian and Angevin, he developed the organization of the Universitas, electing the representation of the people autonomously. On 11 July 1381 Queen Margaret of Durazzo, wife of Charles III King of Naples, authenticated the rest of the Statutes that regulated the life and activities of the inhabitants, confirming and increasing municipal privileges. The sovereign, with her children Giovanna and Ladislao, resided for a long time in the castle of Morcone, which was one of its fiefdoms that became a defensive stronghold during the war between the Durres and the Angevins. In 1806 there was the abolition of the feudal institute and, thus, Morcone returned to the Contado del Molise to remain there until 1861, when the province of Benevento was established, to which it still belongs today. The historic center of Morcone develops between characteristic alleys, small staircases in local stone, small squares with ancient fountains of very fresh water where houses that welcome tourists and vacationers open up. Not far from the Castle, in a small square stands the ancient sacred building of the Church of San Salvatore, built on a temple of the Hellenistic period, as evidenced by numerous traces found below the current pavement, during the last restoration work. The church reached its maximum splendor in the 11th century when it became a bishopric, a function it maintained for about a century. Inside there are traces of frescoes, a baptismal font from the 17th century and a sarcophagus from 1316. The small church of San Rocco is located 500 meters from the Castle and can be reached via a municipal road. Surrounded by greenery, it is located a short distance from a fountain from which fresh water flows. On August 16th of each year, during the feast of San Rocco, the “frese” (large biscuits) are washed and eaten, in memory of the popular tradition that tells that a dog brought bread to the saint every day while he was in isolation, because he had contracted the plague. The Convent of the Capuchin Friars was built in 1603 at the behest of the Marquis D’Aponte. He held his novitiate San Pio da Pietrelcina which was admitted on 6 January 1903. The cell where the saint lived is preserved unaltered and houses several vestments and sacred objects. In the refectory there are two paintings depicting the escape of the Holy Family in Egypt and the adoration of the Magi. The church of the Holy Apostles Philip and James is annexed to the convent The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Pace or Santa Maria de Stampatis is located in the historic center, it is easily recognizable by the painted bell tower. Inside, an ancient Greek sculpture of the Virgin is preserved.