Civic Engagement

On this page you’ll find individuals who have made a positive contribution to society and the community that surrounds them. 

Attilio Calabrese


Attilio Calabrese, a Torricella native by adoption, was born in Torino di Sangro in 1898. He was an accountant and an expert in economic disciplines. He was always in the front row realization of public works. The posting of the plaque commemorating the house where Vincenzo Bellini senior was born, it is his work, and he donated his land to rebuild it Church of San Rocco.

His masterpiece was the initiative to build a tower in memory of the Civilian victims of war, at the highest point of Torricella, known as “the little square”. It was done by the surveyor Nicola D’Orazio of Torricella and inaugurated in 1961 only when the bodies were placed in the monumental ossuary, including the five transferred from Gessopalena cemetery and two others that were buried in the open countryside in Riga district.

In 1968 he published A Country of Abruzzo: Torricella Peligna (Chieti, Tipografia Moderna)
and in 1976 Torricella Peligna 1943-44: Memories of war (Chieti, Tipografia Moderna).

Francesco (Frank) Di Berardino


Frank Di Berardino was one of the most important immigrant pioneers to the State of Pennsylvania. This young man from Torricella Peligna arrived in the US in 1887. After just a few months he settled into his new surroundings and understood the need for manpower. He created an agency with contacts to the largest local companies. Italian immigrants, especially from Abruzzo, found employment in these companies, confident in the “American dream” which was guaranteed by their “paesano”, Frank Di Berardino.

In the period between 1900 and 1919 there were thousands of immigrants. Di Berardino placed them primarily in the mines and railways; the work was very hard and dangerous but guaranteed good earnings. Frank assisted them by finding lodging and providing meals. He understood that the flow of money that Italians earned had to be protected, and so he founded the Frank Di Berardino Bank in Philadelphia, which would later also include his brothers Luigi and Enrico. The bank facilitated communication between the immigrants and their families and assisted in the transfer of funds to Italy. Therefore, on the first Saturday of every month, Italian immigrants, even from faraway places, arrived in Philadelphia to deposit their money. Subsequently, a bank branch was opened in Pittsburgh and business expanded into construction and transportation. On occasion Frank showed his generosity towards those who fell upon hard times, especially those from Abruzzo.

The worst mining disaster in the history of the United States occurred on December 6, 1907 in Monongah, West Virginia. Hundreds of miners died in that catastrophe, most of them Italian, and many had been hired by Frank Di Berardino. He promoted a fundraiser for the afflicted, and he urged one of the richest Americans at the time, Andrew Carnegie, to do the same.

When he passed away the city of Philadelphia bestowed upon him an array of honors. 

An excerpt from the article by Geremia Mancini: Frank Di Berardino. The Banker of the Abruzzesi in America (2016). Text edited by his granddaughter, Angela Di Berardino.

 Giose Di Fabrizio


Giose Di Fabrizio from Callere emigrated to France in the 1950s to work in construction.
In the 80s he promoted the meeting between the mayor of Torricella, Nicola Rotondo, and the mayor of Annemasse, his adopted city. He did a lot of work for the twinning between the two cities, so much so that he has created many opportunities for cultural exchanges between the two for citizens both in the administrative and scholastic fields. In 1991, in Annemasse, he organized a great concert inviting, the singers participating in the Opera Competition which had taken place in Torricella.
He returns to Torricella every summer and delights his family and fellow villagers with his accordion and voice with songs from Torricella. In 2009 he was awarded the Prize “Torricellano nel Mondo” together with Ugo Minniti. See Chi’ssi dicie? 7.?

Silvio Di Luzio


Silvio Di Luzio was a partisan with the Brigata Maiella, and at Commandant Ettore Troilo’s side when entered Bologna after a series of long battles. In 1956 he went down into the mine at Marcinelle when it was in flames to save 3 of his fellow workers. He was considered a national hero in Belgium, and in 1957 the King conferred to him the highest national honor, The Order of Merit of Leopold II.

In 2002 he was honored with the title of Commendatore of the Republic of Italy by the President, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. In a fictional representation of the tragedy at Marcinelle, which first appeared on Rai Uno Television in 2003, the authors were inspired by Silvio Di Luzio himself in giving the role of rescuer to the actor Claudio Amendola. When he died in 2005, Il Centro newspaper published three articles commemorating his life.  

Vincenzo Di Paola


Vincenzo Di Paola was born in Torricella Peligna (Chieti) on 20 October 1836. He received his first training in a private school inspired by the methods and ideals of  Basilio Puoti, founded and directed in Agnone by some young liberal priests: among these, Francescantonio Marinelli (the «dear master» with whom Vincenzo maintained an affectionate correspondence relationship between 1886 and 1892) and ➙ Ippolito Amicarelli.

He continued his studies in Naples, graduating in Law in 1857. The day after the Unification, he was called to teach the Italian language and composition in the girls’ school of Campobasso (1864). Appointed professor of Italian literature in the Pagano high school in the same city in 1867 (some speeches read on the occasion of the literary festivals held there date back to this period), the DP held parallel teaching positions in the magisterial conferences of Molise, entering the lively debate of the time on the question of the teaching of grammar, as «not a friend of Grammar, and an advocate of example as an educational tool» ( Preamble given by Professor Vincenzo Di Paola to his language lessons in master’s conferences, 1870). He also carried out teaching activities as a professor of Italian in the technical schools and in the normal men’s school of the Molise capital.

He later landed at the prestigious “Visconti” high school in Rome which was followed, in the 1980s, by the position of dean-rector of the “Duni” boarding school in Matera and then of a similar institute in L’Aquila. Promoted to education supervisor, the DP served in Ascoli Piceno, Livorno and finally in Bergamo, where he ended his career (the memories of his life spent “almost all in and for schools”, together with poetic and educational writings, are collected in the autobiographical volume Versi e prose, 1911). The DP died in Torricella Peligna in 1918.

Marziale D’Ulisse

Marziale D’Ulisse has been managing for years together with his wife Angiolina and his son Adamo the Bar Penna Nera. He distinguished himself in his civil commitment, in his work and in his inexhaustible sympathy and love for one’s country. Together with his Alpine friends from the Torricella section he went to bring help and relief to the flood victims of Piedmont in 1994, to the earthquake victims of San Giuliano di Puglia in 2002, to the earthquake victims of L’Aquila in 2009 and in many other opportunities going to the former Yugoslavia to help the populations of Kosovo.
If you think about the ancient and dialectal songs of Torricella, you cannot mention them without thinking of Marziale. In 2016 he was awarded the “Torricellano nel World”. See Chi’ssi dicie? 35.


Ugo Minniti


Angelo Ugo “Ughetto” Minniti De Simeonibus was a surgeon and head doctor in the department orthopedist at the San Giovanni Hospital in Rome. He was also the co-author of articles in medical research journals.

Everyone in the hospital wards knew that he had arrived from Torricella because his colleagues heard him speak in strict Abruzzo dialect.

His mother had kindly told him that he should never have accept a payment from his Torricella patients, and he has always maintained this. In 2009 he was awarded the “Torricellano nel Mondo” award together with Giose Di Fabrizio.

Michele Persichetti


Exercised the practice of physician with abnegation and admirable sacrifice.  For many years President of the Provincial Administration of Chieti.  He was reconfirmed to that position many times due to his qualities as an honest, wise administrator of public interests.

Esercito’ la professione di medico con spirito di abnegazione e ammirevole sacrificio.  Fu per molti anni presidente dell’amministrazione provinciale di Chieti.  E’ stato riconfermato piu’ volte nell’alta carica, per i suoi meriti e per le sue doti di integerrimo e saggio amministratore della cosa pubblica.


Antonio Piccoli

Antonio Piccoli from Maone, was born in Torricella Peligna, and graduated in geology from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. He expresses a very deep love for Torricella. In 1969 at the age of 20, together with other young people from Torricella, he started the newspaper “La Rondine”. Then, in 1988 in collaboration with others he published the first issue of “Amici di Torricella”, and in 2009 he dedicated his efforts to yet another new newspaper “Chi’ssi dice”, edited on this site. He published 37 issues of the newspaper. The last one was on 4 November 2017. He subsequently moved his creation to Facebook, creating a page initially entitled Chi’ssi dice? and then Ariccunde, ariccunde.

In 2019 he was awarded the “Torricellano nel Mondo” award.

Marziale Piccoli


Marziale Piccoli, still very young, emigrated first to Switzerland and then to Montreal. He was uncertain, disoriented by the way of life in the big city, but he was also determined and full of hope. He had to learn a new language and adapt to new ways of life in a closed, climbing and distrustful world that only gave Italians jobs rejected by others. With his intelligence he was able to put his knowledge and skills as a mechanic to good use and managed to set up large workshops and give work to several people. Thanks to his dedication, his attachment to work and his resourcefulness, he was given one of the most prestigious car brand dealerships in the world.
His emigration was not a one-way ticket. He remains very close to Torricella and returns often. He invested in the area by having a villa built for his family near the pine forest and by taking over several abandoned farms, bringing them back to fruitful cultivation with typical local products. He demonstrated his generosity by giving tangible contributions to the church, to various public bodies and associations present in the area.

Therefore, in 2018 he was awarded the “Torricellano nel Mondo” award.

Antonio Porreca


Antonio Porreca was a hardware dealer. At the beginning of the twenties, he designed and built the Pine Forest on the highest part of Monte Calvario, above Le Piane. He dedicated a lot of energy to planting pines, firs and thujas. Since then this green area has become the symbol of the country. In 2005 the municipal pine forest was named after Antonio Porreca.