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Atina and the Val di Comino

San Donato VC

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San Donato sits on the border of the regions of Lazio and Molise. It has a beautiful backdrop in the form of the spectacular mountain scenery of the Parco Nazionale D’Abruzzo and the slopes of Monte Pizzuto clad in a forest of beech trees. It  looks out over the beautiful patchwork landscape of the Val di Comino.   The park headquarters are to be found in the historic centre of Pescasseroli in the Province of L'Aquila. The protected natural park is renowned for its unspoilt nature, with an incredible variety of flora and rich in wildlife eg. deer, chamois, wolves, the Marsican bear, and golden eagles and numerous other birds of prey.  





photo by Desmatron    CC BY-SA 3.0

San Donato is popular with summer visitors, city dwellers  who want to escape the oppressive heat and enjoy the fresher mountain air.

There are numerous nature trails and hiking and mountain- biking paths that lead into the mountains.  Forca d’Acero is just half an hour’s drive away and offers spectacular panoramic views and is a take-off point for hang-gliders.

During the winter months skiing facilities can be found at the local resorts of Forca d'Acero (1538 meters) and Pescasseroli (1167 metres) and the  Prati di Mezzo (1450 metres above sea level).

Many citizens of San Donato emigrated to the USA and settled in:  Nonantum in Massachusetts, New York and Wilmington, Delaware in Philadelphia.  Others chose to settle in Canada in Toronto, Ontario.

Indeed, San Donato is twinned with Newton, Massachusetts, and with Greccio, home of the first nativity crib, that of Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223.

Over the centuries the territory of San Donato Val Di Comino has been subjected to numerous earthquakes, the most recent being in 1917 and 1984 during which many buildings in the town were seriously damaged.

San Donato is known for its Ricotta and Marzolina cheese, its tradition dish "Gnuocc 'e Fagioli” - pasta and beans, and a fine liqueur made from wild strawberries.  Its olive oil, is pressed from the “marine” variety of olives, which were introduced from Spain in the 16th century by the De Marina family.


San Donato’s local Feasts and Celebrations include :


Festa di San Donato Vescovo e Martire - 6-7-8 August

This feast is celebrated with a solemn procession, musical performances, poetry and fireworks.


















Festa di San Donato Vescovo e Martire - 6-7-8 August

This feast is celebrated with a solemn procession, musical performances, poetry and fireworks.

Pallio De La Lotta – Last Saturday of August

In the evening, in the squares of  the old town, people dress in  period costume.  There are exhibitions by flag-wavers and competitions of strength  such as wrestling matches.


Festa Contadina – Autumn Country Fair

Tasting of typical local products, accompanied by traditional music, dances and songs. Held in the San Fedele district,            a locality that has been famous since ancient times for its fountain and polygonal walls.


Festa di La Madonna di Loreto - 10 December

A religious festival with songs at dawn –t he "Mattutino" in the cathedral.

“Presepi Nei Rioni” - 13 December to  6 January  

Exhibition and competition of numerous crafted Nativity Scenes throughout the streets and alleywaysof various the districts of the town.  


Festa di Santa Costanza – Last Sunday of August

Saint Constance is the co-patron of San Donato.  She was a courageous young woman who was martyred for defending her faith.  In 1756, the saint’s remains were brought to San Donato for safe-keeping.  During this ancient festival there is a night vigil and a procession in which the saint’s statue is carried through the streets by 12 young men dressed as pages in colourful 18th century costumes. Santa Costanza is the patron saint of young people and of  spinsters, who in the past were traditionally nicknamed as “cipolle”- “onions”.  Traditional dishes are served based on onions such as the “cipollata” made of onions cheese and eggs.

There is also the Mercatino di Santa Costanza

A traditional market that has been held annually since the 1700’s. Traditionally children were given a clay money box to encourage them to save up their pocket money throughout the year. On the feast day the money boxes were smashed and at the market the children were able to buy whistles, small toys and items made of terracotta and new money boxes to save up their funds for the next year.  Mothers had the opportunity to buy plaited tresses of garlic or onions, pots, pans and dishes.  The festivities also include entertainment in the form of comedians, acrobats, popular games, concerts and  an impressive fireworks display.

Common Surnames of San Donato are :


ACCHIONE, ANTONELLIS

BACCARI, BARTOLOMUCCI

CADARELLI, CAMILLI, CANINI, CAPOCCIA, CASALE, CAUTILLI, CEDRONE, CELLUCCI, CENCE, CERVI, COCUZZO CUCCHI, COLETTI, CUGINI

D’AGOSTINO, DE RUBEIS, DECINA, DI STASIO

ESPOSITO

FABRIZIO

GALTI, GATTI, GALLO, GENTILUCCI

IACOBONE, IANITELLI

LANNO, LEONE

MAGNARELLI, MARINI, MASSA, MAZZOLA

PELLEGRINI,  PELIGRINI,  PESCE, PIZZUTI

QUINTILIANI

PERELLA, PERRUZZA, PESCE, PISELLI

ROMANO, ROFFO, RUFO, RUSO

SALVUCCI

TEMPESTA, TOCCI, TRAMONTOZZI

VISCO

Does anyone have any more names to add to this list ?  

If you have family that originated from  San Donato  please feel free to Contact me.   

I would love to hear from you.  Perhaps you have some photos or family information to share and contribute to this site.


Interesting Links Relating to San Donato

Comune of San Donato VC

San Donato VC Map



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photo by Samuele Tocci    CC BY-SA 4.0

photo by Samuele Tocci    CC BY-SA 4.0