Church of Madonna di Coccia

Address: Parco Nazionale della Majella

The church was built outside of the town, along the path towards the ford of Coccia, between Campo di Giove and Palena.  It was built as a refuge for travellers and shepherds who had to cross the ford. There is no definite information on the period of its construction other than the inscription on the lintel of the entrance which indicates the date of a restoration as 1748. It is certainly likely that the church was damaged and then abandoned after the earthquake 1706.
The small building, a partially ruin, was built with the rear section leaning against a rock. It consists of two areas: the church and, next to it but at a lower level, the cottage dwelling. The facade of the church has an 18th century portal with a lunette architrave bearing an inscription made during the restoration: “D.O.M./AD ONOREM B.V. MARIA/ MICHELEVELLA P. SUA/ DIVOTIONE RESTAURAVIT/ A.D. 1748” On the sides of the portal there are two small rectangular windows in grey stone, similar to those of the hermitage of San Michele Arcangelo in Pescocostanzo.
The altar has been almost completely destroyed - all that remains are some stones from the base. Above it, on the back wall, we can see the stucco which framed the bas-relief of the Madonna which was stolen a few years ago. The cottage, of which only the perimeter walls remain, must have had two floors - the lower part which was used as a barn or shed and the upper one as a dormitory.