• Olearia & Vinicola Villese
  • Olearia & Vinicola Villese

Religious Itinerary

Lanciano:  Eucharistical Miracle

The Lanciano Eucharistical Miracle is the most ancient, on record, occurring in 1700. That prodigy occurred in the Legonziano and Domiziano’s small Church of Saints, in Lanciano. The protagonist was a basilian monk,  Saint Basilio’s disciple. According to Latin ritual, when he was celebrating Mass he doubted the presence of Christ in the Holy Communion. Immediately, under his  and whole believers’  eyes, the Host  and wine changed into flesh and blood respectively.  Quickly blood began to coagulate and it turned into  five pebbles of different shapes and sizes,   yellow-brown coloured with some whitish punctation.

Nowadays the relics of the miracle are conserved in St. Francesco’s Basilica where are scientificly  investigated. In the winter of 1970-71 and in 1980: examinations determined the Host consists of real human flesh, precisely of myocardical tissue, and the blood was real human blood pertaining to AB type (the same of  Holy Shroud).

Since 1923 the miraculous flesh has been kept between two glasses plane  in the rays of a roundish monstrance situated at the head of a silver reliquary, made in 1713. The five blood clots are guarded in a covered glass chalice and they have been situated at the feet of reliquary, between two praying angels.

Miracolo Eucaristico


Fossacesia: The St. John in Venus Abbey

The wonderful St.John in Venus Abbey was founded by monks in VII century on the ruins of a pagan temple dedicated to Venus and was rebuilt by the Count Of Chieti Trasmondo II in 1015.

The majestic building rises few kilometers from the village, on a promontory strewn with olive trees. The Church has a triple apse and lozenge decorations of Norman origin and it took the Cistercian form because of extension works started in 1165. The gorgeous marble portal of the façade, known as “of the Moon”, is rich in ornamentation and  in special sculptures originating from  Puglia and it dates back to XIII century. Downwards you can see the Holy Sepulchre carved in the early years of 200 by the Abbot Odeorisio II who was cardinal and held the monastery for fifty years nearly. Portals at two sides, simpler and dated around 1204, was the work of Maestro Alessandro. The solemn basilica interior has three aisles divided by massive ogival arches and a crypt, whose vaults are supported by the columns of the ancient temple. In the basin of lateral apses you can admire frescos painting of XII and XIV century.

His long history, purity of forms and beauty of pure surrounding landscape, make the Abbey pf St.John in Venus one of the most important historical and religious symbols in Abruzzo and a great place for meditating.

Abbazia San Giovanni in Venere


Torino di Sangro: the St.Saviour Church

It is not possible to exactly determine the period the St. Saviour Church was built. First news date it back to 1320 from a document where the Church was nominated as subject to the Abbeys of  St.Stephen and Aragona.

People think the pristine construction is more ancient. The Church is in the baroque style, although the homogeneity of the building, totally made of bricks, reminds of the second mid-fifteenth century architecture. Probably at the beginning the Church was modest-sized and over the years it was altered and enlarged. The Archbishop Alessio Tessitore  restored the Church in 1848 and 1949. He took up the nave, adorned with stucco decorations; built both the Chapels dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary and to our Lady of Carmine; he restored Mary Magdalene and St. Antony Abate’s altars; he renovated the floor and  had the paintings of the vault realized by De Benedectis from Guardiagrele in 1875. In 1894 The Mayor Gaetano Priori ordered to renovated the doors of the façade, the high altar, the floor and the stage organ. The Church was reopened for worship on November 26th 1908. Others renovation works were carried out in 1955 and in 1998.

Chiesa di San Salvatore


Villalfonsina: the Our Lady Of Good Council Church

The small and simple Our Lady Of Good Council Church is situated among a coloured blooming garden. It was recently restructured with new and unrelieved bricks.

The history tells that on November 8th 1899 during the night , Our Lady of Good Counsel appeared to Carmine Pace in a dream. He was an honest and humble peasant, really faithful to Blessed Mother.

The Virgin showed him a place among Villalfonsina’s hills where a big stone lied under an oak tree. Here her image had been buried and she asked him to find it. Just awake Carmine’s heart leapt and he went in the place the Virgin indicated to him in dream: he found the stone and ran back to his village to tell his friends what had happened, but nobody believed him. After two months the Virgin appeared  to him again in a dream reminding him to deliver his commands. Carmine tried again to tell to his friends what happened, but no one listened. After eight days the Virgin appeared to him again telling Carmine to have faith because everyone  would believe him and that a storm would be the sign of his prodigies. Our Lady appeared in a dream to other people too and the news spread so much that hundreds of pilgrims rushed to the place indicated praising the Virgin. On May 23th 1900 Carmine and lots of his countryman went in procession with a Cross and the painting of S. Mary of Good Counsel, from the village to the valley indicated to dig for the Holy picture. The work took several days, but on May 28th, at nightfall, the sky turned black, the wind whistled strong and the roar of thunder became deafening. A heavy storm started, but nobody moved,  remembering that the Virgin said she would appear on a stormy day. When the storm ended it was night and the devotes went back to their homes. The day after they returned to the excavation and found a water source there. Until May 31th pilgrims increased because everybody would try the water they thought was religious, just because it flowed from the place chosen by the Virgin.

Finally on June 1st Our Lady of Good Counsel appeared on the water‘s edge to a hundred people who spread the news in the neighboring villages. In the place of the apparition a big and deep well was built with an Oriental staircase.

Every year on May 31st in the evening  the believers go to the main square of Villalfonsina, Roma Square, to welcome a flowered wagon of the Our Lady of Good Counsel’s statue to the place of her apparition. There an outdoor mass is celebrated and on June 1st, after the afternoon mass procession, the statue is taken back to the village.


Casalbordino: the Our Lady of Miracles Minor Basilica

The Our Lady of Miracles Minor Basilica originates from the apparition of Blessed Virgin Mary to a faithful of Pollutri, Alessandro Muzio, on June 11th 1576. On the afternoon of June, 10th 1576 a storm raged through the territory of Casalbordino, destroying all the crops. The following day Alessandro sad and resigned, went to the place where he had wheat growing, Pian del Lago, to certify the ruin.

When he arrived in the place where now stands the Basilica, Our Lady appeared to him wrapped in a vivid light. The Virgin Mary told him his field had not been damaged and gave him a message from heaven about the sanctification of Her Holy Day. The authenticity of the apparition was recognized and a small Chapel was immediately built to remember the event.There after followed so many pilgrimages and miracles  that Our Lady was invoked as “Mother of Miracles”.

Later the primitive Chapel was enlarged and on 1824 a Greek cross Church was constructed  by the architect Torresi. On 1925 the sanctuary was put into the hands of Benedictine monks who started the construction of the next Monastery. The Church was too small to satisfy needs of worship caused by the increase of devotees , so the present Basilica was built and consecrated on August 11th 1962. The Effigy situated on the high altar is the authentic image painted straight after the apparition. On October 1962 repairs of crypt were completed, from where you can reach the place of apparition. Every year, on June 11th the basilica becomes a destination for pilgrimages that also attract great artists such as Gabriele D’annunzio who described the great zeal of pilgrimage in the “Triumph of Death”, and Francesco Paolo Michetti who was inspired for  his painting “Cripples”.

Basilica Minore Madonna dei Miracoli

Vasto: Holy Thorn

The Holy Thorn relic is preserved in the Santa Maria Maggiore Church and is particularly interesting because it is connected to the Crown of Thorns that tradition traces back to Christ’s Passion. The Crown was salvaged and given to Notre Dame De Paris Cathedral by St. Louis. During the centuries not few thorns were removed to be given to Churches and Sanctuaries as Pisa, Roma, Vicenza, etc. This privilege involved also the Santa Maria Maggiore Church in Vasto. The Holy Thorn is connected to Avalos family and especially to Ferrante Francesco II D’Avalos, who was appointed as a delegate of Filippo II King of Spain for the Ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1563) and received the Thorn as a gift with Papal Bull of Pio IV certifying the exceptional donation.

Unfortunately the Papal Bull burnt in a fire broken out on the night of July, 14-15th 1645.

Miraculously the Holy Thorn was not damaged, thanks to boldness of a Turkish slave who defied the fire courageously and reached the place it was kept and rescued it, receiving the freedom as a prize. This prodigious event is depicted on the big painting in oil of 1857, that is situated on the vault of the nave and painted by Andrea Marchesani from Vasto. The Holy Thorn’s Day, revered zealously and fervently from devotees, is celebrated on Good Friday, when the relic is brought through the street of the city in a solemn procession.

Sacra Spina