Where Nature and architecture blend

A Post With A View — 2

Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta, Rosciolo dei Marsi, AQ — Italy

Almost every day signora Costanza walks the distance from Rosciolo to the church of Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta and back. It’s about 6 km (3.73 mi), a pleasant stroll in the valley, except when it snows (and it frequently does). So, what’s so special about Costanza? She’s eighty-two, but you’d say she is no more than seventy. Her face has some wrinkles, but her gait is the same as a youngster’s. Far from being a digital native — how could she — she uses her mobile phone with unexpected dexterity for her age and she always answers politely to the phone calls she receives every day. She’s the keeper of the church, she’s the one in charge of showing the tourists the beauty inside and outside the building.

Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta lies a stone’s throw away from the village of Rosciolo, in the Abruzzi. It was a Benedictine site dated XI century A.D. under the jurisdiction of Montecassino Abbey. Maestro Niccolò enlarged the former church, as it can be read on the inscription on the righthandside column. The church interior is like a treasure chest: a white stone ambo, a painted wooden iconostasis, an engraved pulpit. The eyes of both scholars and laymen feast on such an abundance of beauty. However, it is outside the church that the visitor can sense the deep feeling between man and Nature. Maestro Niccolò made the sloping roof of the church follow the same grade as Monte Velino profile on the background. This unknown architect of the Middle Ages applied the rules of landscape architecture centuries before we invented this pretentious name for a simple idea: harmony.

Ambo inside Santa Maria in Porclaneta, Rosciolo (AQ) — Italy

Perhaps this is signora Costanza’s secret: she has been surrounded by beauty, harmony and quietness. Dostoevskji said that beauty will save the world: for sure beauty keeps Costanza in perfect shape. And everyone who benefits from this view.