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Report 1729: Family, Food and Wine (Part 2) Abruzzo Re-Re-Visited and Switzerland

By avvocato from NJ, USA, Spring 2009

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Page 4 of 11: Pineto/Mutignano and Montesilvano

photo by Fred De Stephanis

Nuan under the Pinetos

The next day brings a drive to Pineto. I introduce my wife to my late cousin’s wife. Amina is one of the best cooks in the region. Today for lunch we have spaghetti with clams and then "coniglio" or rabbit cooked with olives and some homemade Montipulciano d’Abruzzo. Joining us for lunch is her son Samuele, who recently moved back to Pineto from Turin.

The history of Pineto somewhat tracks the story of Silvi Marina. The old part of this commune is the medieval town (frazione) of Mutignano. Mutignano was the social and administrative center of this region east of Atri until the mid-19th century with the arrival of the coastal railroad. Mutignano is located on a hill overlooking the valleys and Adriatic coast. Pineto evolved as a coastal village created primarily by the decision to place a railroad station on the undeveloped coast to serve Mutignano (rather than in the hill towns of either Mutignano or Atri).

Pineto was founded in part by Giacinto Filiani. In fact, before the construction of the station, in the “frazione Villa Filianis”, only the villa (or country house) of the Filiani family, that of the Caccianini family and the Tower of Cerrano existed.

It was through the efforts of his descendant, Luigi Corrado Filiani, that the plan of development of Pineto gave rise to a modern beach town, rich with ever-greenery. Filiani started to think seriously about planting pinete on the coast. The plan was strongly opposed by the then mayor of Mutignano. Among the motivations in the opposition of the mayor, it appeared to him that that the old town could be better suited for building purposes, more economically driven than the coast, which interested Filiani. Despite this, Filiani succeeded in his goal, and in May 1923 received from the Italian Maritime Agency, a concession for the beach (lasting 25 years) with the OK to plant pinete. Upon expiration of the concession the planting site would pass to the State. Planting of 2000 trees of the variety Pinus Pinaea occurred. At this point, it became almost natural to the change the name of the frazione "Villa Filiani" of the commune of Mutignano, into that of "Pineto". This name was suggested to Filiani by the famous poetic lyric "The Rain in the Pineto" by Gabriele D’Annunzio.

At Pineto we make final arrangements for our over-night train trip from Pescara to Zurich (Zurigo) at a local travel office.

Without doubt, like Pineto, Montesilvano Marina is first and foremost a beach resort. This evening I am meeting with my cousins Rafaele, Gabriele and Antonio. They are the sons of my Uncles - Carmine and Giuseppe - two of my father’s half brothers. We have never met and this meeting was first arranged by my cousin who lives in the USA near me as it turned out, who is the daughter of another cousin (then visiting her in the USA) - Alberto.

This busy city, situated immediately north of Pescara, with which it is today physically united in a huge urban area is divided into Montesilvano Marina and Montesilvano Colle, the former a lively, crowded seaside resort, the latter the original medieval citadel and town. The village rose on a hill a couple of miles from the Adriatic Sea in the 11th century. Montesilvano Marina developed later as a fishing center and, more recently, as a seaside resort in summer.

Tourist sites include:

  • The borough of Montesilvano Colle, with its medieval remains.
  • The Church of S. Michele, built on the remains of an old castle.
  • The Church of Madonna della Neve, partly transformed in the 18th century, with fine 16th-century frescoes o the 18th century Palazzo Delfico.

The joy of my meetings with my cousins cannot be adequately put in words. We have some homemade pizza and wine and beer and try to catch up on family history. The night ends very late and my wife and I return to the hotel to pack for tomorrow’s departure to Switzerland.

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