A site dedicated to our brave immigrant ancestors and their descendants from the small hilltop village of Celenza Valfortore, Province of Foggia, Region of Puglia, and most especially to our Nonnie
The view of the Gambacorta Castle from the Piazza Malice, Celenza Valfortore
Perched high on a hilltop, in the Sub Apennine Mountains of Daunia , is a small village that residents affectionately call "Little Celenza." Celenza Valfortore, which overlooks the valley of the Fortore River at the Lago di Occhito , rises 480 meters above sea level and is surrounded by abundant fields of rich, verdant farmland. It is located 60 kilometers from Foggia, 35 kilometers from Campobasso, and approximately 102 kilometers from Benevento.
A serpentine, one lane road leads to the town center, which will bring you back in time to the days of your grandparents, great grandparents and beyond. The ancient streets are paved in cobble stones, and the narrow arches of the village walls are just barely wide enough to accommodate a passing car.
One of the narrow lanes of Celenza Valfortore
Rising high above the humble stores and houses of Celenza is the ancient Gambacorta Castle , with its circular stone tower and distinctive turrets. The baronale palace dates to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, while I am told that the tower dates to 300 B.C. Many a day would the peasants of Celenza look at the Castle from the fields in which they toiled, dreaming of what grand things lie inside.
Here is a new video from our recent trip to Celenza in August, 2010. It features the mother church of Celenza, scenes from an evening concert and a view of the Lago di Occhito.
Enjoy this wonderful video that one of our Celenzano friends made for his friends in Tuscany and his grandmother, so that others could enjoy the sites and sounds of his hometown.
Here is another fantastic video slideshow by Giovanni and Antonio Colucci. It has some great pictures of Celenza in the snow and also a nice shot of the weekend market in Celenza.
A Virtual Piazza
When we were planning our trip to Celenza Valfortore in November, 2006, there was an absence of English language websites dedicated to this charming village of our ancestral past. We hope that this site can be a virtual town piazza, a meeting place to chat as paesani, share stories of the old country, swap pictures, exchange family surnames and even share recipes. Send me your suggestions. Tell me about your nonna and nonno, their journey to America and their struggle to live the American dream. Tell me about their life in the Celenzano enclaves of Waterbury, Connecticut; Brooklyn, New York; Hazelton, Pennsylvania and beyond. This is a journey for us too, so I welcome any suggestions, and of course, any corrections to information that is posted here!
A fountain in one of Celenza Valfortore's piazzas
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