Piazza Plebiscito

The beating heart of the historic center of Agnone

The beating heart of the historic center of Agnone. All the streets of the ancient nucleus converge here. Once known as the Piazza del Tomolo because of a stone that was excavated here (the Tomolo) and modelled for use as a unit of measure for grain sold in the market and at local fairs – and now kept in the Emidiano Museum. In 1882 Mayor Ionata had an artistic fountain made out of Carrara marble installed in its place of discovery, embellished with four cast-iron dragons with water pouring out of their mouths. The emblem of Agnone can be seen on the dragon’s chest: the griffin, mythological half eagle and half lion. The Governor’s Palace, dating back to the 16th century, faces onto the piazza. On the window jambs several phrases in Latin present an ancient and yet so modern remark: “Appetite obeys reason”. At one time those who went bankrupt had to stand on the Tomolo stone with their nether regions exposed to be subjected to every kind of humiliation by passers-by. There are still shops and businesses in the piazza. The bulk of the ancient Bonanni palace survives, absolutely gigantic in size; it was once home to one of the first Italian boarding schools, created to provide space and stimulation for the education of both children at the primary and middle schools, and adults, with the Royal Technical School and the Vittorino da Feltre Gymnasium. This historic building, now the property of the municipality, is often used for important cultural events and meetings. Until the beginning of the 1900s a theatre made entirely of wood, part of the boarding school described above, was the source of artistic inspiration for the students, and a meeting point for all the cultural activities of the local inhabitants. It fell into ruin and was eventually used as “firewood”. At the moment an exhibition on one of the most important findings in the Oscan language that was found in this area is being held in this building. This is the bronze tablet known as the “Tavola Osca”, dating back to 330 B.C; the original is held at the British Museum in London, The Oscan Tablet is a very faithful reproduction of the original, executed by a skilled Agnone goldsmith … but is it really a copy?
Where are the elegant rooms of the Caffè Letterario, where at one time the Union Casino could be found? This was a place where the “galantuomini” (gentlemen) met for discussions, to drink and play at cards and billiards, and dance in the evening. The former clock tower stood beside an old inn on the street leading to the Church of San Biase. The clock marked the time with its bell tolling from the bell tower of the Church of San Francesco, situated, like many others, almost forming a crown in the piazza. However the church that overlooks it is that of the Trinità: unmissable for its baroque beauty and its history which is linked in some way to transhumance. Piazza del Tomolo changed its name on 21 October 1860, when, according to popular legend, finding themselves under fire by the Bersaglieri rifles, all the Agnone citizens who were entitled to, voted “freely” for the Unity of Italy!

Additional information

As this is a town that lies at 850 a.s.l. suitable clothing is advised for winter and summer weather.
Time needed for a visit varies from one to two hours for any visit to the churches and museums in the area.