Pescasseroli lies in a wide plain amid a mountainous landscape of uncontaminated beauty in the heart of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, one of the oldest Italian Parks.
The economy in the past was mostly based on sheep raising and wood crafts; after the unity of Italy the crisis of the agricultural and pastoral economy of the previous Kingdom of Naples led to a massive emigration. Susequently, the establishment of the National Park of Abruzzo, which was founded here on 9 September 1922, paved the way to new development, and nowadays Pescasseroli is a residential area, a great craftwork centre, an important tourist resort both in summer and in winter, with its 20 km long ski-runs, and the starting point for many excursions in the Park.
The place, rich in water, woods and natural caves, has been inhabited since prehistory, and probably Castel Mancino (Mancino Castle), thanks to its strategic position, was a fortress of the ancient Peligni population before the rise of Roman civilization. In the early Middle Ages it was a fiefdom of the Counts of Celano, and then of the "Di Sangro" and the "d'Aquino" noble families. The first mention of the town is in a Papal bull, mentioning a church of "Sancti Pauli" in the jurisdiction of "pesculum serulae".
The history of Pescasseroli is connected to its prevalently pastoral economy and to woodworking (also traditionally a by-product of the long hours of idleness of shepherds guarding their flocks). The little town was the starting point of one of the great "tratturi" leading to the South and crossing present-day Molise to Apulia.
There are various opinions on the origin of the name "Pescasseroli". One of the most widely accepted is that it comes from the Latin pesculum (= protruding rock) and sarolum (near the Sangro), since the oldest part of the town is exactly near the springs of the Sangro river below a high rock with its ancient castle called «Castel Mancino», whose ruins can still be seen.
The ruins of Castel Mancino
Palazzo Sipari, belonging to the mother of philosopher, historian and literary critic Benedetto Croce (1866-1955), who was born here
The Parish church of San Paolo ad Pesculum Serule, very ancient (12th century) but mostly reconstructed, housing in a chapel the wooden statue of a "Madonna nera dell'Incoronata" coming from the church, now destroyed, of the Mancino Castle
The baroque Church "del Carmelo"
WINTER: Ice skating, downhill skiing (there is a cableway, many ski-lifts, a skiing school and ski slopes of different levels of difficulty), crosscountry skiing.
SUMMER: All possible nature sports, trekking, excursions and horseback-riding, etc