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PIZZOFERRATO
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Pizzoferrato, in the province of Chieti, is located on the eastern slopes of the Maiella at an elevation of 4000 feet, near the Sangro River.  The town, which is a summer and winter resort, has a population of about 1250 inhabitants.

The origins of the town are very ancient, lying in the late middle ages; the first recorded mention of it is in a record from the 12th century.  The town is built around a huge cliff, atop which is the oldest  section, containing the remains of the medieval parish church of San Nicola di Bari, the church of Santa Maria del Girone (also medieval but radically altered over the centuries), and the remains of the palazzo baronale dating from the 18th century.   Of the ancient parish church, there remains part of the campanile or bell tower, equipped with a public clock.  In the highest part of the bell tower, between the cornice and the roof, were three iron cages which were used to hold the heads of those who had been condemned to death--a warning to the people.

The town was first settled by Benedictine monks from nearby Quadri, and its original name was Pizzosterrato.  The name was changed to Pizzoferrato in 1770, when, as a defense against the brigands who infested the area, the town closed its entrance with a huge iron gate which is still visible near the ruins of the church of San Nicola di Bari.

Pizzoferrato's patron saint is San Domenico, and there is an annual festa in his honor on August 4th and 5th.  At the end of July is the annual lamb festival, and on September 8th and 9th is the festa of the Madonna della Grazie.

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