Fagnano Castello (CS)

The town of chestnuts

 

The town of Fagnano Castello, perched on the Coastal range facing the Tyrrhenian sea, is surrounded by forests. It is renowned for the quality of its sea water and natural beauty and landscapes.
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Once a year, Fagnano Castello celebrates the chestnut with three days of happiness; bringing back the atmosphere and flavours of its past.
 
Church of the Immaculate Conception

The exact date of when the Chiesa dell’Immacolata (Church of the Immaculate Conception) was built is unknown, but it features a façade in the Neoclassical style and has a bell tower on the right-hand side. On the sides of the portal, a series of pilasters can be seen with capitals in the Corinthian style. On top, there is large window that houses a mosaic with the image of the Immaculate Conception. The interior has three naves divided by rectangular pillars connected by round arches, of which the central one is covered by a barrel vault with frescoes by an anonymous painter of the XVIII century. The naves end in three apses of circular shape with a dome-shaped vault.
Included among the works present is: a baptismal font with stone base of 1627 (with a carved date) and a pulpit of chestnut wood of the XIX century. Lastly, the church also preserves the statue of St Sebastian, patron of Fagnano.

 
Fagnano Castello
 
Church of St Peter

Probably built at the beginning of the XV century, the main façade has a portal framed by an elliptical arch surmounted by a rose window. At the sides of the façade two tall pilasters govern two frames, one of which clearly displays ornamental elements. At the top is the gable decorated with relief sculpture, which features the statue of St Michael the archangel created by Camillo Capolupo; also author of the Madonnina in cement which stands out on the church’s outer side wall. On the right is the bell-tower, characterised by an arch-shaped opening with the balustrade that resumes the decoration of the rose window.
The interior of the church is richly decorated with Baroque style stucco-work. The wall of the main altar, which features the reliquary that houses the statue of the Virgin of the Rosary, is also richly decorated with ornamental patterns.
Originally, the church allowed access to the palazzo Iacovini by means of a wrought iron grate, which allowed family members to follow religious services from a distance.

 
Fagnano Castello
 
Church of St Nicholas of Bari

In the hamlet of S.Lauro is the church of San Nicola di Bari; it has a single nave, an essential façade and attached bell-tower. Inside, it houses numerous statues, including St Nicholas and St Francis of Paola.

 
Convent of St Sebastian

Today the headquarters of the Town Hall, this convent was founded by Franciscan monks of the Third Order in 1545. The building has a square shape and stands on two floors. On the eastern side, formerly there was a church that had a wooden portal with the image of St Sebastian carved above.
The monastery was suppressed in 1809 and since then, the building has hosted several institutions.

 
Fagnano Castello
 
Sculpture

There are several works created by the students of the Scuola d'Arte Barone (Art School Barone) arranged on the town walls or in the most charming corners. In fact, when strolling through the town streets, the following can be seen: a round sculpture in cement depicting St Francis of Paola deep in prayer, a Madonnina in a votive shrine, a Madonna with Child and a large Christ on the Cross by the sculptor Fiore Pavone.

 
Murals

Fagnano's town centre offers two alternative routes embellished by some beautiful murals. The first route includes some moments of daily life of Fagnano’s citizens (harvesting of chestnuts and their transport on a donkey, women with bundles on their head); while the second route, brings back to life the ancient trades: the “siggiari” (chairmakers), “u mmastaru” (pack-saddlers), “carivunari”(the coalmen), weavers and knitters of the broom plant.

 
Fagnano Castello
 
Festival of the chestnut

The chestnut tree is typical of the woods half-way up the mountain. In the past, it was a valuable resource as a whole, due to the wood needed for making furniture, tools and as construction material; twigs and thinner branches were used for heating the house, stove and oven; the leaves were used for compost from manure and bedding for animals; its flowers are still very important for bees, which are able to give us a very aromatic, bitter and even, aphrodisiac honey; its fruit had the most varied uses in the kitchen. Finally, tannins were obtained from wood and hedgehogs which were essential for tanning hides.
On the last weekend of October, Fagnano Castello celebrates the chestnut with three days of happiness, bringing back the atmosphere and flavours of its past, linked to the local agricultural tradition. During the days of the festivities, guided tours take place in the old town centre, at the Cooperative of chestnuts and local farms offer tasting experiences of typical products; while conferences and debates take place on a theme; in addition, there is a permanent display of typical products and local handicrafts in the alleys of the old town centre. Of course, it is possible to taste specialities based on chestnuts such as sweets and roast chestnuts (distributed free of charge) and all the typical products of this land. During the evenings, there is entertainment with re-enactments of the old crafts.

 
Fagnano Castello
 
Ancient Crafts

Fagnano has maintained strong handicraft traditions. In fact, even today, its economy is well represented by this sector that continues to forge skills and creativity.
The village still retains a small production of straw chairs that was thriving until the 1940s. After the Second World War, the general technological progress and advances in time resulted in the decline of handicrafts. Chairs were built in beech wood ("ì fàgu") and stuffed with cattail ("a vùda"). The trees came from Fagnano’s mountain, while the cattail came from swampy area situated along the edges of the rivers Esaro and Crati. Currently the craft of chair-making still exists, which in Fagnano was made up almost by a community, given that many were the families who obtained their income from the production of chairs. However, the main income was still obtained from activities linked to the processing of wood, which could be found in abundance in the area. There are also several carpenters and restorers in Fagnano that over time, have handed down the art from father to son.
Still active and productive is the working of wrought iron, that is handed down from father to son and can count on numerous shops, some of which are very ancient. Also the tinsmith, that once upon a time produced by hand almost all the containers used in the kitchen which are still sold in some shops.

 
Museum of Peasant Culture

The Museo Etnografico di Fagnano Castello (Ethnographic Museum of Fagnano Castello) aims to display the collection of instruments and tools of the ancient local society reconstructed by means of the exceptional amount of pieces found or donated by families. The items that the Museum displays refer to life on the fields, to the ancient crafts, the daily life of the local inhabitants and serve as valuable evidence to a past in which the rural economy was without a doubt linked to the use of ancient methods of agricultural cultivation as well as a healthy and genuine lifestyle.
The Ethnographic Museum of Fagnano Castello, with its numerous tools arranged in the beautiful exhibition hall, represents a specific project of appreciation of the local past, of awareness of the identity and appreciation of its own roots. The collection is set up in a single environment, divided into several sections including kitchen furniture, weaving, production activities and agro-pastoral.

 
Gastronomy

Pork meat is a key ingredient of Fagnano’s cuisine. There are still many families who during the coldest months (December and January) slaughter pigs that provide food for the entire year. Delicious, for example, are sausage products (sopressata, sausage) and not to be missed are the meatballs. In general, local cuisine also uses plenty of vegetables (served as side dishes or to prepare tasty soups) and all types of pulses.

 


 


Address Via Municipio
  87013 Fagnano Castello (CS)
Phone number +39 0984 525 - 105
Fax +39 0984 526764
Website http://www.comune.fagnanocastello.cs.it/
 

 

Several events take place in the mountain town. In particular, during the Festival of Chestnuts and the Palio dei Rioni, visitors are immediately involved in the natural, cultural and traditional background of the area.

The Festival of the Chestnuts is usually held the last weekend of October.   Events, stalls selling local products, local handicrafts, concerts of popular music, street theater shows enliven the streets of the town. Tourist particularly appreciate the stalls where chestnuts, roasted in a large pan with holes, are given out free during the festival.

The Palio dei Rioni takes place every summer. Eight festivals occur on several days and the teams from the different Rioni (neighborhoods) in which the town is divided, face each other by performing ancient and modern games.

Each Rione is symbolized by an animal or a color. During the final evening, all the Rioni are involved in the games.

The Natural Park of Mt Caloria, located in the Northern area of the Coastal Apennines in the territory of Fagnano Castello, has several small lakes that were included among the Wetlands of International importance. Their origin is still under study; the circular shape of most of them has induced the experts to believe that they might be karstic hollows filled with underground water. Others assumed that the lakes could be the result of large landslides (water accumulated in the hollows caused by landslides). They are not large basins: Lake Astone, lake Trifoglietti and Lake della Paglia are a little more than an hectare large, the Lake of Due Uomini is about 2 hectars large. Lake del Frassino usually dries up at the beginning of the dry season. All the lakes are surrounded by a thick vegetation and visitors can find enchanting natural spots, that are still untouched and magical.

By a decree dated April 3, 2000 by the Ministry of the Environment, Fagnano and Mt Caloria lakes have been acknowledged as a “Site of community importance”. There are many landscape views and trekking tracks in the parks.

Hikers can enjoy mountain walking, particularly during summer when those who want to find relief from the heat can spend a different day away from the seaside. 

The most important religious buildings in the mountain town are the Chapel of Santa Maria Immacolata, the Church of Pietà and the Church of San Nicola di Bari. They are located in San Lauro, that was probably the urban settlement existing prior to the foundation of Fagnano. An ancient building in the Renaissance-Baroque style, called the Palazzo, is the landmark of the district. In front of the Palazzo, the Chapel of Immacolata with a fine decorated altar stands.

At the border with San Marco Argentano, the ruined Church of Pietà is located. Until the 19th century, the Church housed the fine painting of “Madonna della Pietà” and a small bell dated 1600. The painting is now kept in the Church of San Nicola di Bari, after a strong debate about the right to own it (1881) between the villages of San Marco and S. Lauro.

The Church of San Nicola di Bari is located in the center of the town, very close to the square. No well-defined style characterizes the church: it is a  single nave building with a wooden beam ceiling. Inside, a wooden pulpit, probably dating to the 19th century, and the above-mentioned painting deserve to be visited.

The Ethnographic Museum of Fagnano Castello promotes local traditions through the collection of instruments and tools used by the local population in the past. The exhibited objects concern farmer’s life, ancient crafts and people’s everyday life.

The museum recreates the past life of the town where rural economy strongly depended on ancient farming methods and a healthy and genuine lifestyle.



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