Home | Valente and DiRenzo Family History - From Our Correspondent in Geneva - The Plain of Walnuts and the bed of the Succida River

« La Piana delle Noci »

The Masseria Biagietti ("Biagietti Farm") is behind the trees in the middle of this photograph; look on the old military map of the territory of Gambatesa at 9:30 o'clock.  In the foreground is a section of the Piana delle Noci ("The Plain of Walnuts"); the land here is flat, and that is where the name comes from.  It is important because there are not too many piane ("flat places", "plains") in Gambatesa.

In the background is Toppo della Vipera ("Vipera Ridge", altitude 383 m. = 1,257 ft.).  As well as olive trees, wheat is grown in the fields that have been plowed into the slope of the ridge: this is the landscape of most of the agricultural land of Gambatesa.  There is an old cisterna ("water reservoir") in the side of this hill.

The triangle of flat land in the foreground of the photograph is a section of Piana delle Noci that belongs to the Masseria Biagietti.  (The white building is a small agricultural building, not a farmhouse.)  Sunflowers are grown there for industrial oil.  The farm also grows Indian corn (maize), but also in the plain, because corn needs lots of water.

Toppo della Vipera, Gambatesa, 47 KB

The Piana delle Noci is one of the most beautiful places in Gambatesa.  Very dry in summer: yellow, red, brown with only a little bit of green.

Just behind the photographer there was an old monastery with tombs (There are old tombs in Gambatesa, from the Middle Ages and maybe Roman times), but there are no ruins there now.  Archaeologists once surveyed here, and people still come across old metal tools, roof tiles, and broken pottery when they work on this land.

On the far right of the photograph, behind the trees is the farmhouse where Angelo's Valente grandmother grew up (Her father was Luigi Abiuso); but the farmhouse is a ruin now, the roof fallen in.  It is from her that we have the stories of Easter in Gambatesa and The Christmas Zampognaro.  Still farther to the right under the cliff of Toppo della Salandra, where it is easier to walk than under Toppo della Vipera, Angelo used find lots of white seashells, not yet fossilized however (although Angelo said that he is not an expert in this) and so not millions (only hundreds of thousands) of years old, mixed in the tufo.  So Angelo thinks once upon a time this must have been a seashore.

« Torrente Succida »

The photograph below shows the bed of the Succida River during Gambatesa's summer, which is very dry.  The Italian word torrente means a stream that rushes down from the mountains.  In the previous winter the Succida had overflown and destroyed its own banks.

Toppo della Vipera, Gambatesa, 47 KB

The Torrente Succida flows between Toppo della Vipera (the slope of which is seen in this photograph) and Toppo della Salandra; look on the old military map of the territory of Gambatesa at 10 o'clock.

Photographs by Angelo Abiuso (Geneva), August 2004.

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/piannoci.html
Last revised: 21 October 2005 : 2005-10-21 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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