© Amici di Torricella 
No 13 Novembre 1992  p.1-2

The Pinewood: a Green Anniversary

70 Birthday Candles 70


The Pinewood:
 New Pole of Attraction

by Walter Teti

  The idea and project of our co-citizen Antonio Porreca, who dedicated his energies for many years to bringing his plans to fruition.

By Nicola Piccone
There are ever fewer Torricellans who can still remember that funnel of earth that arose from Corso Umberto I and ended on the bleak hill above “Le Piane” (the plains), where now there are the Viale and the Pinewood. In the 1920’s that hill was the only strip of land that could have allowed housing development as a natural extension of the future Corso, but the top part of it was where a Pine forest was to arise, that Pineta, our Pinewood had not been foreseen; a new pole of attraction that slowly moved the centre of gravity of Torricella’s social life from where it had been so narrow, on the opposite hillock of “Li Tirriete”[1] (the Terraces). A genial idea, an expression of creativity that has nothing to do with the “innovations of development programmes” about which the urbanites and academics boast so much; the thinker behind it was merely a businessman, an ironmonger, a true Torricellan, Antonio Porreca (30/12/1880 – 29/12/1953) who apart from let’s call it “drawing up” the plan for creating the Pinewood, dedicated much of his energy to looking after the newly planted green shoots, until they could grow green and strong. No-one knows where he had taken that type of palm fir from, with its branches hanging downwards, so rarely seen in woods or gardens. This is another characteristic. It needs to be looked after with attention because precisely those pine trees  are showing signs of aging. Now the Pineta is 70 years old and it is beginning to age; should some plants be replaced? People talked a while ago about techniques for “zonal replanting”, to substitute those trees no longer green with younger ones raised elsewhere; and amongst these there might also be some of those palm-like firs, almost unique and characteristic of Torricella. To complete this unusual scene there had to be a monument. The 1915-1918 War had only just ended and there had been a large tribute of Torricellan blood. That column, with the angel and the book of the fallen, planned in 1922 by Lucci, the artist from Pennadomo, recalls the heroism of the citizens, which cannot be deleted from the carved stone. But for us, apart from that, the Pinewood is quite something else. We lack oxygen, we lack greenery, energy to chlorophyll, and we lack natural places where we can find ourselves again; now we think about agritourism,  of starlit nights, about intimate walks amongst the coolness of the plants. Well for us the Pinewood is also all these things: each generation may live how it pleases, but always with respect for the public property that is so good for Torricella and which identifies the village itself, more than any other assets or any illustrious personage. These may also “go out of fashion” but the Pinewood will forever remain green.   They are not few, even if the cake for the birthday is as huge as the queen of the village. Seated on the sweet hill, the Pinewood of Torricella is silhouetted against the majestic horizon, draped in the intense green that attests to the non-slumbering vitality of nature and guards the perennial memory of so many lives lost due to the recurrent unyielding madness of humanity. The first pine trees of the seventy years being celebrated were planted as long ago as 1922. The hillside which hosted them was of a proverbial aridity. Only at the edges of one side, and with great effort, on alternate years, did small potatoes and rare clusters of ceci[1] grow. The entire hillside was broken up with pitchforks blows, it was leveled as well as possible, hoed, passed over again with the technology of the time, basically powered by “elbow grease”. The sterile hillside, liable to earth-slips, was fertilised by man’s love and by the miracle of seeds, to arise to the high roleand rank of prestigious Parco della Rimembranza (Remembrance Park). One of the first such monuments in Abruzzo, “il monumento ai caduti della Prima Guerra Mondiale” (The Monument to the Fallen from the First World War) had already been erected at its summit, and the “Vittoria Alata” (Winged Victory) that seemed to hover in the sky, deserved a worthy green garland. Happy and  highly meritorious for marked public spiritedness and for unusual sensitivity towards nature was the design of he who conceived this double concept of monument-pinewood; the inspiration possibly came from the essential duality heart-lungs; the seat of all feelings and that of life itself, fed by the air we breathe. Aside from all rhetoric, those works were conceived devotedly, with the purpose of creating beautiful things for the people, both for the dead and for the living, and they were carried out with admirable altruism and unforgettable dedication. Praise for all of this belongs to our co-citizen Antonio Porreca, who dedicated years to attentive and vigilant work to make possible the setting up and installation of the pines, the firs and the thuja[2], which now imposing in their majesty, are worthy of the tribute from the generations that have grown up in their shade, delighting in their perfumed resins, and the pure oxygen they provide. This oasis of greenery also had an unusual baptism that came from the sky to consecrate the happy event. Stimulated by the Association of future Knights of Vittorio Veneto[3], and by our co-citizen, the young aviator Luigi Mancini, the pilot (De Pinedo)* De Bernardi arrived in a plane, landing on (continues on page 2)

Top :  The hill of the Pineta in the 1920’s


To the right: the Pinewood’s genial planner,     Antonio Porreca





Below: Luigi Di Iorio, the most strict “custodian” of the Pineta of recent times.


(continued from page 1)

  the slopes of our Pinewood; De Bernardi was protagonist of many daring undertakings in the skies of the world. The intrepid pilot arrived in a biplane with wings and fuselage made of canvas, on a rather windy day, not really suitable for welcoming such a light plane, landing in a field still covered with stubble, to bring his patriotic message of greetings and best wishes to the exultant populace, who carried him in triumph.
Anyone who, after 70 years, sees those reels of cinematic film again, which have survived the Wars and the subsequent evacuation and dispersal of people, which have such shaky images in their few residual sequences, cannot be other than moved; especially if at the same time they also see those photographs, faded and yellowing with the passage of time, of the women who are carrying baskets of fertile loam (soil) and conche filled with water, along the slopes of the hill to feed the young plants. The Pinewood is seventy years old, but it doesn’t show it. It has resisted the mortar fire of the German troops, the repeated attacks of the Pine Procession



Moth,  the infrequent abusive attacks by irresponsible daredevils; but there are some signs left by the weight of the years, as happens to ladies in the third age, even if they are undaunted and prosperous. The Pinewood needs affection and love, just like mothers and grandmothers need these; to longer conserve its dazzling splendour on the summit of the village that holds it. We must blow out the seventy birthday candles to complete the rite of its anniversary, but we must also relight the flame of the torch of faith which gave birth to the regal guest of honour, always keeping it with the dignity of the throne. Anyone in charge of the task of supporting this public thing, must not forget it is like a child, so laboriously generated and so greatly loved and revered. Once upon a time an illustrious creature such as this was watched over attentively and affectionately, even outside of his hours of work, by the meritorious Civil Guard Luigi Di Iorio, whose personal dedication to the public green, unfortunately, has not found any converts.

Another photo of Luigi (click here)



Translators note:

[1] Li Tirriete – is dialect – it means the terraces or the terrace – in Torricella it is a large balcony or terrace, with a wrought iron railing that faces the Church of San Giacomo Apostolo towards the Corso. In this photo it is that balcony high up, behind the little girl.


Editorial footnote:
* please note: in a subsequent edition of Amici di Torricella {No 14, December 1994, page 4} a correction to this current article was published - as follows:-
Lucio Mancini has sent us a correction which we publish now and beg our readers and all interested parties to forgive us for the involuntary mistake:
“Luigi Mancini’s co-pilot, in the biplane that landed in Torricella Peligna in 1922 for the inauguration of the Pinewood, was not the ace Di Pinedo, but rather the ace De Bernardi – and it was Luigi Manicini who personally flew the biplane. In the photo one can see Luigi Mancini aboard his private plane, similar to, if not the same one in which he landed at Torricella Peligna.”
(Lucio Mancini)

Translators notes:
[1] ceci – chick-peas
[2] Thuja – (pronounced Thuya)is an evergreen, a genus of coniferous trees in the Cupressaceae (cypress family), native to N. America and E. Asia, usually of pyramidal habit. They have scalelike leaves on flattened branchlets, and most species have strongly aromatic wood and leaves. Also called arbour vitae – the tree of life.

[3] Order of the Knights of Vittorio Veneto
This order was instituted by Law on 18th March, 1968, number 263, in order "to express the gratitude of the Nation" to all those who, having fought for at least six months during the first world war or previous conflicts, had been awarded the Cross of Merit for War. Head of the Order, comprising a single class of Knights is the President of the Republic; a Lieutenant General  presides over the Council, and he replies to the queries sent in by interested parties. A Decree from the President of the Republic, following proposal by the Minister of Defence, is granted to the person being decorated, together with a meagre annual cheque to provide some money to those who otherwise  do not have an income above the minimum wage.



Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca