Art & Photography

On this page you’ll find individuals who have had noteworthy careers in the visual arts.  

Guglielmo Coladonato

Born on 3rd January 1933 at Torricella Peligna, Guglielmo Coladonato now lives and works in Rome.

At the age of 12, in common with another 150 children aged between 5 and 15, who also had been left orphans by the War, he was given a home at Silvi Marini in one of those “Villaggi dei fanciulli” (Children’s Villages) established by the Government as a gesture towards helping needy children. Most of them stayed until 1951-52.

During this period Guglielmo spent the vast amounts of free time he had, since school lessons were so few and far between, committing himself to sculpture. He transformed any materials that passed through his hands, such as plaster, stone or earth, into statues.

Once he had left the Village he went to Switzerland to further his studies and then he went to live in Rome, he married, had two children and continued with his hobby, sculpture.

Later he began to paint, also as a hobby.

Exhibitions in the large Art Galleries (Museums) in Italy, London, New York, Venezuela. Hundreds of prizes, critiques, and one very unusual event: he painted a nude female on live TV.

His success carried on. Hundreds of his works have been hung in Art Galleries in Rome, Milan, Florence, New York and London, at the United Nations and in the Hall of Deputies in Rome.

The Encyclopaedia of Italian Art speaks of him as an artist with “a fervid inspiration, lively colourings and interesting choice of subjects. The spontaneity of his painting is evident as is his imagination which enlivens all his artistic conceptions. His paintings strike one’s imagination and are easily remembered.” The atmosphere of his native land accompanies the artist in his life and inspires his work: the colours of the landscape and the Abruzzan people, which Coladonato recalls thus: “I come from Abruzzo. I always have before my eyes the openness of my native landscape nourished by light, by greys, by greens, by the countryside itself, with the melancholy, sadness of my simple people who are ready to ransom themselves for a better future. I see again my rocks, on which I embroidered my first dreams as an artist.”

Coladonato’s works each now are valued at prices varying from 600,000 Euros to 9,000,000 Euros.

Nicola D’Ascenzo

(September 25, 1871, Torricella Peligna, Italy – April 13, 1954, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

was an Italian-born American stained glass designer, painter and instructor. He is best known for creating stained glass windows for the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; the Nipper Building in Camden, New Jersey; the Loyola Alumni Chapel of Our Lady at Loyola University Maryland; the Folger Shakespeare Library and Washington National Cathedral, both in Washington, D.C.

He was born in Torricella Peligna, Italy, into a family of artists, metalworkers and armor makers. His immediate family emigrated to the United States in 1882, and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Working as a mural painter while in his teens, he attended night classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He attended and then taught at the Pennsylvania Museum School, where he met his wife, fellow instructor Myrtle Dell Goodwin (1864–1954). They married in 1894, and moved to Italy, where he studied at the Scuola Libera in Rome. The couple returned to Philadelphia in 1896, where he worked as a portrait painter and opened D’Ascenzo Studios, initially an interior decorating firm.

D’Ascenzo was awarded a medal at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; the 1898 Gold Medal from the T-Square Club of Philadelphia; second prize for craftwork at the 1916 Americanization Through Art Exhibition in Philadelphia (Samuel Yellin was awarded first prize); and the 1925 Gold Medal from the Architectural League of New York. He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: 1892–1904, 1916 & 1936. He served as President of the Stained Glass Association of America, 1929–1930. He was a member of the Philadelphia Board of Education (1934–1948), and organized art exhibitions that toured the city’s public schools.The University of Pennsylvania hosted a 1938 exhibition of D’Ascenzo’s paintings, drawings and stained glass.

Between 1904 and 1954, D’Ascenzo Studios completed more than 7,800 stained glass windows.

The “Doubting Thomas” door at Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan features a tiny bas-relief portrait of D’Ascenzo as a medieval craftsman. Wood carver Johannes Kirchmayer carved images of the various artisans who worked on the church.

D’Ascenzo, his wife Myrtle G. D’Ascenzo (1864–1954), and son Nicola Goodwin D’Ascenzo (1905–1958) are buried in the churchyard at Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

The business records of D’Ascenzo Studios and sketches of many of its works are in the collection of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Paintings by D’Ascenzo occasionally appear at auction.


Angelo Di Tommaso


Angelo Di Tommaso is a well-known photographer from Torricella, currently living in France. Since 1993 he has regularly participated in photography competitions both in Italy and abroad, obtaining excellent results, 170 admissions and around thirty prizes and recommendations. His works have been published in Reflex, Fotografare, Tutti Fotografi, Progresso Fotografico and in the F.I.A.F. Yearbook. (Italian Federation of Photographic Associations). In 1997 he was included in the P.S.A.’s “Who’s Who in Photography”. (Photographic Society of America) and some photographs of him are part of the historical archives of the F.I.A.F. and I.S.F. (Image Sans Frontieres).

He began photographing in the mid-80s following an image education course held in Torricella by the late priest Don Ignazio Cocco in middle school. In 1988 he won first prize in a photography competition organized by the “Amici di Torricella”. Almost immediately he discovered and became passionate about the darkroom where he developed and printed his black and white photographs. In the first years of amateur photography activity in Altino in a photographers’ club he dedicated himself to landscape and reportage photography, until he discovered a passion for portraits and artistic nudes.

He often returns to Torricella. During the editions of Puteche opened in Torricella he exhibited some of his works, always much appreciated by the public. In 2023 he was awarded the “Torricellano nel Mondo” award.