Opi is a small village town in the province of L’Aquila in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. It is located in the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise. It is halfway between the Agean sea and the Adriatic Sea, slightly to the south of Rome and Pescara.
Opi is surrounded by the mountains of Mount Amaro, Mount Irto, Mount Marsicano and many others. The oldest end of the village looks over a narrow gorge called the Foce. The village itself is for the most part two rows of houses seperated by a road and running along the top of a long, flat-topped hill. A few houses radiate out from the main street and cling to the hillside.
In early Middle Ages, the peoples living in the area of Molino di Opi were compelled to take refuge on the steep rocky hill-top, a natural shelter from ferocious enemy raids. The following centuries were characterized by continuous controversies with neighboring Pescasseroli. In 1816 the two villages agreed to join in an administrative union which lasted until 1854.
In the late 1880’s through 1910 a great number of people started emigrating to America and leaving Opi with most coming through New York (including the Grandfather of CIABA Member P.J. Cimini who left Opi in 1908 as a nine year old boy with his Father and bother) who settled in the Bronx, NY.
The key buildings in Opi are the 17th century palace which is now the town hall and the church of Santa Maria Assunta. It originates from the 12th century and has a belltower that was restored in the 16th century but most of the church dates from a restoration in the 17th century.
In modern times, Opi has become a holiday location both in winter and in summer. It is one of the main centres of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise which is great for hiking and outdoor trekking. pi now sponsors many tourist events and festivals. Among the main events, in April the “Old Trades” Festival, in August the famous “Festival of the Gnocchi” and in October “Autumn” Festival event with tastings of local products, and at the beginning of each new year, the classic “Torchlight Polentata”
For more information about visiting Opi, contact (Pro Loco Association of Opi office) www.prolocopi.it (tel no. 0863.910622)
~ Ancestral Village of CIABA Member P.J. Cimini