Personalties of Torricella

Learn more about people from Torricella Peligna

Camillo Porreca

A Torricellan benefactor, who lived in the latter part of the 1800s and beginning of the 1900s. His nickname was “Calzone”. It shows He had a large shop where he sold a bit of everything, both retail and also wholesale, to the other shops in the neighboring villages. He owned the building that now is the “Caffè del Corso”. According to some he had built it to make it into a hospital and give it to the people of Torricella. He also owned the small nursery school building that had been built specifically so that the nuns could teach the young children of Torricella. Until about ten years ago there was still an inscription on the door saying “Gift from Camillo and Francesco Porreca”. It has been removed, perhaps by someone who had forgotten or who never knew the reason for that inscription.

In 1919 there was the famous revolution in which some Torricellans, led by a mob-leader, carried out an uprising against high prices and sacked several shops, the first of which was that of Camillo Porreca, then that of Antonio Aspromonte “paparascianne” (see in the Amici di Torricella newsletter the articles “The Village Blackbird – The Revolution”, Issue Number 0, August 1988, Page 5, and “The Nuns’ Nursery School”, Issue Number 17, December 1996, Page 4). It is told that Camillo Porreca felt really badly because according to him he had done so much for Torricella and the Torricellans that he did not deserve this ingratitude. Therefore, he never reopened his shop, and he moved to Rome.

This portrait was inside the old nursery school (kindergarten) building. When the building was being rebuilt, the portrait was removed from the wall and taken away. Now it is to be found in the office of the town’s municipal guard.

Segretario Sabatini


Portrait by Don Roberto Porreca, pharmacist from the 1920s through to the 1950s, with a sarcastic hand-written dedication. For many years (about 1915 – 1930) Sabatini was Secretary at the Town Hall and it is told that he was very powerful. Thanks to him, land was purchased which then was used to plant the Pineta, the Pinewood Park.

Album: Elena Paterra 


Don Francesco Porreca


Priest and Camillo Porreca’s brother. He too was an important benefactor to the poor in Torricella. Until recently his name, together with that of his brother Camillo, was to be seen on an inscription on the School’s door.


The portrait is still inside the old nursery school building.

Fedele Porreca



The blacksmith of the town for many years, in dialect “lu ferrare”. The ancestral head of the family nicknamed ciufielle. His sons and some of his nephews continued in the art of ironworking and blacksmithing.

Luigi Di Iorio

(1904 – 1985) 

The village guard, known also as “Zi Luiggie de la brasilese” – shown watering the young plants in the zone of the Pinewood near to where the present-day kiosk stands, behind the little fountain.In those days this zone was considered by him to be “off limits”, there would have been trouble for any of us children had he found us playing there, the shouts and the “slaps” were a waste of his energy, on the other hand, if he saw that we were behaving ourselves nicely, he always had a toffee in his pocket. He had an enormous passion and love for the Pinewood and even now, so long after he left us, we all remember him with respect and as an example of rectitude and love for his own village.

Peppino Manzi 


Carpenter. Antonio Manzi’s father and Marietta Manzi’s grandfather. Photo taken in 1944 just after returning from the evacuation caused by the war

Camillo Fantini di paparabelle


He came from a very poor family and his brother, Giuseppe Fantini, was the first to die in the Brigata Maiella during the battle of Pizzoferrato in February 1944.

His nickname was Tarzane, from Tarzan, perhaps because of the way he spoke, walked, dressed and opposed others.

In this lovely photo taken after the war (1944 -1945) near the Church of San Giacomo, he is the boy with a stone in his hand who is trying to defend himself, most probably from one of the many repeated practical jokes that were always being played on him throughout his life.

For many years he got by carrying luggage for those who arrived on the coach. He died on the last day of the year, the morning of 31st December 1988, in a road accident when he was knocked off his scooter.

He had gone to buy bread in Roccascalegna.

‘Ndonio (Antonio) di barile


 An unforgettable person. He lived from 1920s to the 1970s. He was very good at doing jobs that required physical strength. He was a good-natured man that had a little difficulty speaking. Camillo Fantini di paparabelle and he were porters, and they had memorable clashes struggling to grab the bags of passengers getting off the bus.

Camillo Piccone, the dialect poet of Torricella, even wrote a poem about the bickering that went on between these two unforgettable men. In the latter part of his life, he lived in Rome with relatives.


Album: Germana Piccone

Giovanni De Simeonibus

Doctor of Torricella from 1935 to 1955.

The following news was taken from a recently published book “Illustrious Men” “Uomini illustri” by Salvatore Copertino:

“Giovanni De Simeonibus was born at Lama dei Peligni on 16th February 1898. He arrived in Torricella in 1935 to be the local doctor. Captain of the Alpine forces, lover of mountains, of nature and of animals. He used to rush speedily at any hour of day or night in the saddle on his horse to wherever there was need of his work. Professionally he was good at everything, but as an obstetrician, no-one was more able than he. He died in Torricella on August 10th 1955.”

Salvatore Di Toto



Salvatore Di Toto ‘lu muparielle’ (born 1912) died at the hospital in Casoli in 1974; he was 62 years old. He was a deaf mute and that is why he was called “Lu muparielle” (dialect for “mute”; in Italian “muto”). They say that his parents emigrated in the 1940s. When they were examined in Naples to determine if they were fit to leave for America, their son was rejected and not allowed to leave because he was deaf mute. His parents departed, and he returned to Torricella where he lived together with an elderly couple. Then, when they died, he remained on his own. He made a living as a very respected house painter. Many houses still have their rooms painted by “Lu muparielle”. He had a mind of his own, both in the colors he chose and in the creative ways he used them. His specialty was painting walls to look like veined marble.

His faithful friend was Vincenzo Peschi, the barber, who he managed to communicate with and who managed to communicate back. In the photo he is on his inseparable motorcycle at the Madonna delle Rose.

Nicola Porreca


 His nickname was orefice because he was a jeweler, “orefice” in Italian.  Along with all the necklaces and rings of gold he sold, he had almost an exclusive on the traditional pendant from Abruzzo, “La Presuntuosa”, an 8-pointed star made with fine gold strands, which was given as an engagement present.   


He used to go on all the excursions organized by the priests, but in Torricella it was always “home and work”, meaning he was always in his jewelry workshop.  He also had poor vision, and so he was always seen with a single eyepiece hanging over his eye. 


Photo taken by Father Francesco Di Pasqua.  

Marianna Teti


Marianna Teti  di zampacorta, wife of Concezio D’Orazio, was a wonderful  woman.

After the war she brought us meat, eggs, sweets, etc., and she did other kind things for us. We were not relatives; she was simply a dear friend. After we emigrated, she made us a beautiful dining room tablecloth, made completely on her own with her loom. I will now put this photo next to the tablecloth, an indelible memento. Reflecting on what occurred, I believe she felt sorry for our situation (9 people: kids and elderly), and she wanted to help. I

included Marianna extensively in my written memoirs.

Za Marianna di zampacorta (“Za” in dialect is “zia”, aunt; it is a term of respect used to refer to elderly ladies who become “aunts” of the entire community). She had a loom which she used to make covers/blankets, the so-called “coperte di lienze”, with pieces of material.


Recollections of Peppinuccio Cionna (Joe Cionni)