World War II In Torricella


Torricella Peligna is a quiet, tranquil town high in the hills of the Maiella mountains, and its people are known for their friendly, peaceful ways which reflects the Abruzzo slogan “Forte ma gentile” meaning “Strong but gentle”. This strength was demonstrated during World War II when the Nazi Germans had made this town and the surrounding areas their headquarters in a battle against the Allies. There were many atrocities committed during that time, many Torricellani were barbarically killed.

Some links are provided below for further details. Torricella Peligna has been cited for the valor of its people in resisting the occupying German and fascist forces. The Bronze Medal of Valor  was presented to the citizens by the Minister of Defense on 30 March 1976, citing them for their resistance to the occupying forces, and for their sacrifices and blood shed while supporting the “Patriots of the Maiella Group”, also known as the Maiella Brigade. This group was formed and led by Ettore Troilo, a lawyer from Torricella Peligna. Three hundred strong, they fought side by side with the Allies to push the Germans from their land.

In addition to the German atrocities, there was further destruction caused by Allied bombing. Curtis P-40 aircraft of the Twelfth Air Force bombed and strafed buildings, trucks, roads and German targets of opportunity from Torricella Peligna to Casoli.

Ministry of Defense

The President of the Republic with his Decree dated 26th June 1975

In view of the Royal Decree of 4th November 1932 number 1492 and later modifications;

In view of the Royal Decree of 23rd October 1942, number 1195 and later modifications;

In view of the Legislative Lieutenantship Decree of 21st August 1945, number 518;

In view of the Law of 14th May 1965, number 502;I

In view of the Law of 28th March 1968, number 341;

In view of the Law of 11th May 1970, number 290;

on the proposal of the Minister of Defense

has recognized the town of TORRICELLA PELIGNA (Chieti) for its Military Valor.


For more than nine months they put up bold resistance to the arrogance of the German and Fascist occupying forces.

The populace all openly and effectively supported the formation of the “Patriots of the Maiella Group” and opposed the order to evacuate the built-up area with a clear-cut refusal.

Sacrifices suffered in (terms of) human lives barbarically struck down, deportations, oppression and destruction of every type were to no avail in making them give up their resistance. In the partisan fight the citizens were able to make a generous and effective contribution as fighters,  with blood and valor for the cause of freedom for the Country.

Zone of Torricella Peligna, September 1943 – June 1944.-

The Minister for Defense therefore releases this present document to attest to the honorary distinction conferred.


Roma, 30th March 1976

Registered at the Audit Court                           

The Minister

Dated 2nd October 1975 Year XVI

Register 19. Sheet 202

signed …………………………………………

Published in the Official Bulletin 1976 disp.9 page 398


Links for additional insight to Torricella in WWII:

La strage di Riga/Tre Confini – 11 gennaio 1944 – Antonio Piccoli e Guglielmo Coladonato (link)

Sessantacinque anni dalla battaglia di Pizzoferrato – Antonio Piccoli (link)

L’eccidio di Sant’Agata – 65 anni fa – Antonio Piccoli e tanti altri (link)
Sant’Agata Massacre – 65 Years Ago – Antonio Piccoli (link)

SESSANTACINQUE ANNI FA’ a Torricella – Una tragedia immane – 19 Ottobre 1943 (link)
SIXTY-FIVE YEARS AGO in Torricella – A Horrific Tragedy – October 19, 1943 (link)

Testimony of Nicoletta Di Luzio (link)

Interview with Nicoletta Di Luzio Feb. 2002 (link)

I Miei Ricordi di Guerra – di Nicola Nicolo (link) 

My Memories of the War By Nicola Nicoló (link)

Brigata Maiella – Testimonianza di Antonio Manzi (link)

Brigata Maiella – Testimony by Antonio Manzi (link)

Brigata Maiella Documentary (link)

The Occupation of Torricella (L’Occupazione di Torricella) – Joseph Cionni (link)

Sulla Resistenza libri e tesi di laurea – 14 luglio 2008 (link)

L’Italia deve molto a Troilo – 14 luglio 2008 (link)

Torricella celebra Ettore Troilo – 13 luglio 2008(link)

Commemorazione della Brigata Maiella – 13 luglio 2008 (link)
Commemoration of the Maiella Brigade – July 13th 2008 (link)