The importance of Agnone grew during the Angevin and also in the Aragonese reigns to the point that during the reign of the Bourbons of the Two Sicilies, the city was among the 56 royal towns, that reported directly to the King, and was free from any other type of feudal subjection.

Joseph Bonaparte decided to create the region Molise, that was to exclude Agnone, but during the reign of Joachim Murat, the elders of Agnone asked and obtained the transition to Molise, basing the request on the geographical difficulties of the links to Abruzzo, and hoping to rise to a new role for the small region.
The town is located in the in the province of Isernia, some 25 km northwest of Campobasso and  lies on a rocky spear in the mountainous regions of Alto Molise.
The beauty of Agnone and its region Alto Molise is seductive and fascinating.


The secret lies in the splendid balance between man and nature, intense spirituality and secular pride.

Farms and country houses surround the city on altitudes varying from the 1386 m. above sea level at Monte
Castelbarone to 370 m of the Verrino River bed. The Sangro River also passes by Agnone.


Its geographic position has been described as "The natural capital of the Alto Molise".

What really makes the little town famous all over the world is the millenarian Papal Foundry, a bell maker factory using the same methods and techniques used in the Middle Ages. Main sights : The Bell Museum.

The Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli (the Marinelli Pontifical 
Foundry) is an ancient factory of bells which has been operating in Agnone for nearly a millennium. It is also possible to observe the artisan process of the manufacturing of bells.
It ranks as one of the oldest companies in the world, run by the the Marinelli family for the last 1000 years.
This factory has a museum, where bells of almost a thousand years of antiquity to more recent others are displayed.


The factory is often visited by the Pope as many of the foundry’s bells can be found at the Vatican.

The town's medieval-style architecture is reflected in its fourteen churches, including the Church of San Marco, with a large Renaissance portal embellished by a copper lion. This church is adorned with great artwork including: rich altars, a painting of a Holy Family and Saints by Luca Giordano; an obstensory in gilded copper and enamel, by Giovanni da Agnone, a disciple of Nicola da Guardiagrele.

The church of Sant'Antonio Abate has a Romanesque portal and a 17th century bell tower, and on the vault inside a giant fresco by Francesco Palumbo.

Sant'Emidio has a 12th century portal and rich works of art including wooden painted statues that are taken out on Good Thursday and Friday for a re-enactment of the Last Supper.

The church of Corso Garibaldi, is sided by ancient houses with stone lions near the doors (the lion is on Agnone coat of arms), ancient artisans' workshops, Apollonio house and Nuonno house. 
Traditions and folklore 
Every year on the  24th  of December, accompanied by the sound of bagpipes and church bells, groups of districts (the quarters or "borgate" of Capammonde, Capabballe, Colle Sente, Spoils, Sant'Onofrio, San Quirico) consisting of hundreds of carriers of all ages, dressed in traditional clothes, light up 'ndocce and walk towards the main street turning it into a gigantic and exciting river of fire and giving rise to the largest Christmas event linked to the fire that is known in the world today.

The origin of 'Ndocciata, probably dates back to the year one thousand.
This ancient festival of light, of pagan origin, became the Christian Christmas festival of light, which is one of the many remnants of the fires solstice that the Church has incorporated in its ritual.

The rite dedicated to the sun and its annual cycle embraced Christianity in honor of the God who is born, the Light of Christ Savior of the world.
For this reason, on December 8, 1996, in San Peter's  Square (Rome) the' Ndocciata was offered to Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of priesthood.


Serenata per la mia bella
During a festival held in Agnone, (last week of August) the town re-enacts this serenade in the historic centre. The men down below the balcony, singing love songs, pleading with the young woman to let the groom see her just once before the big day.

Up above, a group of girls sing in response, "that's enough now, go and die". There's no way you're coming up, you've only been down there 4 hours, that's not long enough.

When you've done 5, we'll think about it."

They  continue singing  "... 5, 6 and 7 hours isn't enough" and so on, until the group gets tired and eventually they let the groom up.
Credit - Text and video by Natalie Olivieri.

Getting there
From Rome is about 3 hours drive.

Agnone is in the center of important archeological vestiges of the old  Oscan-Samnite civilization and is sometimes called “the Athens of the Sannio” due to the large number of ancient ruins of the Samnitic culture.

Table of Agnone - (mid 3rd century B.C.) Alphabet of Etruscan origins on Bronze. The bronze tablet was found 1848, in a place known as “Fonte del Romito” near Agnone , now in the British Museum in London. 
 Tablet face A
Tablet face  B

Details - Nuonno Palace

The Church of San Nicola has a peculiar bell tower coated with yellow and green ceramic tiles. It is due to Agnone’s craftsmen and medieval architecture that the town adopted the nickname Città d'Arte (City of Art) which the town uses on a promotional basis.




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Outside links - A River of Fire in the Land of Bells - Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean  - Learn more on the Samnites tribes -
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