Testimony of an Expert
A Park Full of Tranquillity

By Dr. A. Polci, Chief Forestry Inspector

As an Officer of the Department of Forestry Inspectors of Chieti, I recently took part in the prize-giving meeting held at the Middle School in Torricella Peligna, associated with the competition entitled “Torricella and its Pinewood”. There I met Dr. Antonio Piccoli, who told me about the journal that links Rome to the still charming village of Torricella Peligna. I took up his invitation to write about the Pinewood, both because of my qualifications and above all for an ancient bond that, even as a good Teatino[1], I have always felt for Torricella and its Pinewood.
Ever since I was very small I had always heard mention of the “Pinewood of Torricella”; some of my more wealthy friends used to leave for Torricella where they would stay in a hotel or private accommodation for at least a month. It was the goal and the desire of anyone who wanted to spend a peaceful period of rest amongst the greenery – which Torricella offered!
Now, after many years, I can confirm that even more than in those days, it offers us the chance to spend several days in absolute peace and tranquillity amidst the green that with so much love, especially in recent times, the Administrators of the Commune have dedicated to looking after its “ailments of old-age”. In fact the adult Pinewood was formed around 1920-1921 in an area of 3,6740 hectares using black pine of the variety Villetta Barrea[2]. Between 1958-1960, a further 5 hectares were reafforested still only using the black pine but subsequently the red fir was introduced although unfortunately it did not give the hoped for results; it would be best over time to substitute this type too with black pine for homogeneity. Finally in 1980,with funding from the Region, another hectare was reforested using species new to this zone (Deodar Cedar, Cephalonian or Greek Fir (a black pine), Arizona Cypress).
Even the “green heart” of Torricella unfortunately has suffered recently from attack by parasites which especially in 1985 caused us to “quake” in fear of the possible consequences for the Pinewood and also for the local economy, in relation to this happy union of “Pinewood Tourism”.
Early in 1985 parasitic disease due principally to a series of fungi, attacked the vegetative apices of the pines, which became yellow-coloured with time. Prompt action by the Department of Forest Inspectors of Chieti and the Commune’s own Administration, using a total of 2,500 litres of cupric[3] product spray for two consecutive years blocked the attack and the pine trees returned to normal. Currently constant care of the meadowland, carried out by the Commune and assiduous control of the state of the vegetation by the Forestry Command Station of Torricella, are ensuring the viability of the Pinewood.
In the future it will always be necessary to keep abreast of any situation that arises, especially in view of the age of the mature pine forest, with frequent check-ups and even possibly closure on a zone by zone basis, to allow for any necessary treatments to the meadows and to the bases of the trees, in order to avoid problems due to trampling, typical of much-visited pine forests.
Finally and only for reasons of space, I hope that the Commune will be able to purchase further areas adjacent to the Pinewood so that it can increase its own areas of equipped public greenery especially so that it can continue to be the “Park of Tranquillity” of the upper valley of the Aventino.

[1] Teatino = the same as Chietino = someone who comes form Chieti;
Chieti is a town in Abruzzo, capital of the Province of Chieti; Chieti lies on a crest along the Pescara river and has an unmistakable profile with the high bell-tower of San Giustino set against the skyline; it is a few km away from the Adriatic Sea, and has the Majella and Gran Sasso in the background. In Roman times the town was called Teate, and later it became an important medieval centre.
The Province of Chieti is a hilly, mountainous area between the Adriatic sea to the east and the Maiella chain to the north-west. It is extensively cultivated with olive trees and vineyards, and produces celebrated wines and extra-virgin olive oil. The province of Chieti was called "Citeriore" since it was situated to the right of the Pescara river and was in Latin "citra" (=this side) with reference to Naples, the capital of the Kingdom. The Pescara river separated it from the province of Teramo, the Apennine Mountains from the province of L'Aquila, the right shore of the Sangro and the Valicella of the Varrino from Molise. The territory includes mountainous features, the group of the Maiella, and 72 km of steep and rocky coast, along the Adriatic sea.
Torricella Peligna is a village situated in the Province of Chieti, Abruzzo.

[2] Pino nero di Villetta Barrea – Found especially in the Abruzzo National Park; it is distinguishable by the dark colour of its tuft-like foliage; it has short paired pine needles that are shorter than those of other black pine species (5-10 cm); it is used in the paper industry to produce cellulose.
See  “The Essential Trees in the Pinewood” by Antonio Piccoli

[3] cupric products – various copper compounds have been used for centuries as fungicides to treat plant diseases - see "Copper.org"

Translation courtesy of  Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

© Amici di Torricella             No 0  1988?  page 1

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