16 Nov

Belloccia Abruzzo, Slightly Off the Map Perhaps

Belloccia A Hill Village in the Abruzzi by R.H. 'Gimi' Jordan

Almost two years ago in the post Set in Abruzzo – please help me find this book, I asked you to get in touch if you ever came across the out of print book Belloccia A Hill Village in the Abruzzi by R. H. ‘Gimi’ Jordan.

I’d been looking for a copy for quite a while and all my efforts to find it had failed.

In the post I wrote

This may take some time, but I’m not going to give up on finding it just yet. So if you have a copy and want to sell it, if you see it somewhere or if you have any suggestions that may help me find it, please get in touch by leaving a comment.

Suggestions and leads arrived (thanks again) but none were successful unfortunately. Many of the second-hand, rare and out-of-print online book sellers had references to Belloccia but none had it in stock. They were only teasing me.

Time passed and I forgot about Belloccia.

Then 10 days ago Helen Free of blogAway and Hang On To The Vine sent me a message that read “Did I read some time ago that you were looking for…” Helen sent me a link, I followed up and now I have my very own copy of Belloccia A Hill Village in the Abruzzi by R. H. ‘Gimi’ Jordan.

Thanks Helen.

This prompted a whole series of positive thoughts like aren’t people great and isn’t the internet marvellous. When I saw the shipping notice I had a smile beaming from ear to ear.

The book arrived a few days ago and I’m reading it slowly. I’m in no hurry. It’s taken 2 years to find it so to gobble it all up in one sitting would be a shame.

I’m about a quarter of the way through and I’m delighted that I can say I’m really enjoying it.

R. H. ‘Gimi’ Jordan (I’ve no idea what the R. H. stand for) writes in a relaxed style that sometimes, not often, defaults into an almost professorial delivery. I haven’t learned much about him and his wife and I get the impression that the remainder of the book won’t have too many personal revelations. I can respect that.

Each chapter so far either tells a story about the inhabitants of Belloccia or their history. I’ve a feeling when I’m finished the 196 page 28 chapter book R. H. ‘Gimi’ Jordan will not have deviated much from this pattern. If it works don’t mess with it.

The book was published in 1996 and the story starts in 1973 when ‘Gimi’ and his wife are invited to stay in the house of their Polish friend Zygmunt. Not too surprisingly finding Belloccia is task in itself, but they get there, they settle in and soon they are helping their neighbours make passata.

P sometimes says I’m like a dog with a bone and I find it impossible to let some things go. I prefer to think that I have a curious streak. Right now this curious streak is firmly pointed at Belloccia.

Why? Because I can’t find it anywhere on the map.

Based on what I’ve read so far it should exist north of Pescara, possibly north of Roseto degli Abruzzi and maybe somewhere in that part of Teramo that stretches from the coast, Giulianova/ Martinsicuro, inland to Teramo/Civitella del Tronto.

Search engines and online maps aren’t helping.

R. H. ‘Gimi’ Jordan, who has kindly provided me with a very enjoyable book to read, has also given me a mystery.

Where is Belloccia?

He writes about

  • Bellocia
  • Maretta
  • Maretta Lido
  • Columbella Alta
  • Monticello degli Abruzzi
  • Glebanera

None of which I can find anywhere on any map.

Yes he mentions bigger towns like Pescara, Teramo and Roseto degli Abruzzi so he is definitely writing about Abruzzo, but where?

I think he must have renamed the local towns and villages and the names of key characters perhaps to protect the innocent. But if he has done this he doesn’t make it clear.

Either that or Belloccia suffers the same fate as Brigadoon and only appears once every 100 years.

But there are clues:

  • In Belloccia most families have the surname Belloccia which means “quite pretty” or “quite handsome”.
  • It’s approximately 50 miles north of the Gran Sasso
  • Belloccia may be seen from Columbella Alta (I can’t find Columbella Alta either)
  • To reach Belloccia you should exit the autostrada at Maretta (You guessed it, I can’t find Maretta)
I know Abruzzo in 2012 is not the same as Abruzzo in 1973 but I still expect to see some reference to villages and towns online, if they ever existed.

So that brings me to my new ambition.

I’d like to walk through the village that hosted R. H. ‘Gimi’ Jordan in 1973 as he discovered his love of Abruzzo and its people.

So here I go again…

This may take some time, but I’m not going to give up on finding Belloccia just yet. So if you have any suggestions that may help me find the village or any of the towns mentioned above, please get in touch by leaving a comment.

a little bit about 

Noel is an IT Consultant, software development Project Manager, photographer, writer, and English teacher. These days he swaps his time between Abruzzo, Italy and Dublin, Ireland.

You can see more of Noel's photographs on
Noel McCarthy Photography

Many of these images are available to buy on 500px Art at
http://www.500pxart.com/noelmccarthy