A couple of days ago we went to Bucchianico, a small town very near Chieti.
There were many possible reasons for our trip.
The town, located on a hill at about 330 metres, offers fantastic panoramic views that take in the Majella, the Gran Sasso and the Adriatic.
It’s the birthplace of San Camillo de Lellis, founder of the Camillians (the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers to the Sick) a catholic order that dedicates itself to caring for those who are sick and in need of help.
It has plenty of places to visit including:
- the house of San Camillo de Lellis, with a small museum
- the Shrine of San Camillo
- the Church of San Francesco (1290), restored in the 18th century, with frescoes inside by Domiziano Vallarola from Penne
- the Church of Purgatorio from the 18th century
It has no shortage of special events and festivals including the feast of Sant’Urbano, the festival of San Camillo and the festival of figs.
They’re all good reasons for visiting Bucchianico.
And not one of these very good reasons brought us there.
We simply went because we were asked by our friend Bruno if we were free and did we want to accompany him to see the town where he was born.
Bruno was on a mission to check personal records at the Comune and thought we’d enjoy the trip.
We met for coffee at 08:15 and after a chat with friends we set off for Bucchianico about 40km away.
It took us about 50 minutes and as we skirted Chieti and climbed to our destination Bruno pointed out places where cousins and childhood friends still lived. It seemed as though his family was scattered like confetti across the entire area.
As we looked for parking I realised that the views were going to be fantastic and sure enough there are plenty of spots to stop and marvel at the wonderful Abruzzo landscape.
I managed to stay strong and not give in to the chance to try some fig ice cream.
After Bruno had taken care of his business we walked around the town, visited the museum of San Camillo and tried our best to take in every spectacular view available. At one end of the town Bruno stopped, reflected for a moment and then pointed to a cluster of houses below and said “that’s where I was born”.
Bruno is one of the first people to have befriended us in Loreto.
We first met him about five years ago and our friendship has grown steadily over the years. Always relaxed, quick to laugh and share a joke, he has introduced us to an ever growing group of friends. Without Bruno we may not have met Enzo, Ennio, Orlando, Matteo and Alfonso.
He hasn’t always lived in Loreto.
In the 60s, as a recently married young man of 20, he travelled to Australia looking for work. After spending 22 days on a boat, he arrived in Australia hoping for a new life and a chance to raise a family. Once he decided that Australia was worth the effort he had his wife join him. Throw in the added hardship of having to quickly learn a new language – Australia in the 60’s must have been some adventure.
About a year ago my nephew left Ireland for Australia with his family but these days the travel time is a lot shorter, and they’ve the added advantage of speaking the same language and perhaps being more familiar with the country through television and film.
After a coffee we left Bucchianico and San Camillo and headed back to Loreto. On the way Bruno pointed out the homes of a few more relations as we passed Chieti, Cepagatti and Pianella.