Peligna Town Photo from the Turn-of-the-Century
(A Closer Look)
This undated photo of the center of the town recently became available. It was in the 2005 calendar of the Region of Abruzzo which each month features an old photo of a town square from places like Chieti. This photo was also an insert in the Number 2 December 2004 issue of the periodical "Abruzzo Cronache". The original photo is located at Biblioteca Provinciale di Teramo "Melchiorre Delfico".
The year is not indicated, but from the clothes it seems to be from around the end of the 1800s to the early 1900s. (We know the picture was taken at 10:35am based on the church's clock.)
The view is down the Corso Umberto I looking towards the St. Giacomo Catholic Church (San Giacomo Apostolo Maggiore).
The photo contains over 30 people. There is a wagon loaded with sacks heading toward the church. There are two parked carriages, one on either side of the street. The one on the left may be a baby carriage. There is a man apparently loading a donkey. There appears to be a sheep laying across the donkey's back. There are at least nine women with white (lace?) kerchiefs walking toward the church. One can see birds sitting on the church's bell tower ledges and at least one bird on the overhead wires.
The infrastructure details of note in the 1900 photo are the presence of the tower with two bells on the roof and the presence of overhead electric street lights going down the center of the street. These are the church bells of the church of San Rocco which was later made into the presbytery, about 1958 or 60. The lights appear to be suspended from wires at about 12-15 feet above the street. There is a single lamp post on the right side of the street with what appears to be (a slightly askew) gas fixture attached. Several of the buildings have electrical services consisting of a large metal "D" bracket attached to the building containing multiple (white) ceramic insulators to hold the wires.
In another 1950's photo (below) of the buildings on the right side of the street, the San Rocco bell tower is still present with no apparent changes. The church of San Rocco was later built down the road toward Gessopalena. Also the same electrical service (with the ceramic insulators) is still present. However, in that photo, the street light fixtures have been changed.
Given the aspect angle of the buildings on the left side of the street and the relative position of the overhead street light, the camera was apparently located on a raised platform (wagon or carriage?) that was parked directly in front of the white house shown on the left side of the 1950's-era photo. In fact, the third floor balcony of this house is visible on the left-hand edge of the 1900 photo.
Courtesy of Joe Persichetti (with contributions by Antonio Piccoli (1900 photo), Angela Di Berardino (Processional Photos) and Massimo Ficca (San Rocco information). May, 2005).