Last modified: 2001-08-10 by dov gutterman
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from http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Trail/3860/Lett1.html , located by Jarig Bakker , 18 March 2000
Not far from the Adriatic coast, about 21 miles west of the city of Pescara, is the town of Lettomanoppello, known in the local dialect as Lu Lette. The town's population is about 3000.
Situated on the east bank of the now dry Lavino River, Lettomanoppello is located at the edge of the Majella National Park, on the lower slopes of Blockhaus, one of the Majella mountains, at an elevation of 1200 feet. A road through the town continues up Blockhaus, almost to the top, an elevation of 7000 feet. From this vantage point, there are beautiful views into the Majella and into the broad Pescara Valley below.
The first records of Lettomanoppello date back to the 11th century. However, the town was occupied centuries earlier, and was renowned in Roman times for its asphalt mines. The Romans established a colony of African and Asian slaves at Lettomanoppello. The slaves worked the asphalt mines, and the asphalt was transported to the Adriatic Coast on the Aterno River or carried on the backs of animals to Rome. In 1868 a piece of bitumen (the rock from which asphalt is extracted) was discovered near the Valle Pignatara section of Lettomanoppello; the rock is inscribed in Latin with the name of the owner or operator of the asphalt mine and dates back to the first century A.D.
Lettomanoppello has also been known for centuries for its Majella white stone, quarried in the ravine which separates Lu Lette from its neighbor, Roccamorice. The ravine was created by the now dry Lavino river, and it is characteristic of the western slopes of the Majella mountains, all of which are furrowed with such ravines or canyons. The local white stone can still be obtained from the area for stonecutting crafts and home building, and there are sculptors working with this stone in Lettomanoppello
Jarig Bakker , 18 March 2000