two Nicolas

two Nicolas

[ Nov.2017 ] In Guardiagrele in Abruzzo in the middle of Italy, there were two historically famous Nicolas.

One is Nicola da Guardiagrele who was a goldsmith and a sculptor.

His surname means ‘from Guardiagrele’, so I wonder if he did not have his own surname?

The famous Da Vinci is the same, isn’t he, so maybe nobody had any surnames in those days?

Anyway, this Nicola who was born here in the end of 14th century and died here in 1459 was as great as Michelangelo or Da Vinci in the world of metalwork.

He left great many works such as monstrances and antependiums in the churches in this region.

The sculpture in the front of Santa Maria Maggiore church, which is the main church in Guardiagrele is one of his works, but the one we can see now is a copy.

The real one is kept in a museum.

According to the local historian, Lucio, who guided us, Nicola was not only a great artist, but also had great political power, too.

And because of him, this town developed and became famous as the metalwork centre of this region.

The second Nicola was a saint who lived in the 10th century and called ‘San Nicola Greco’.

His relic is in the Church of San Francesco D’Assisi.

We went into this church.

In the past, this relic was in a box and placed in the table of the altar so that people could touch it through the small window at the lower part of the table.

But now, it is inside the coffin which is behind the altar.

People here cerebrate his memory every year in May.

Lucio, who explained all these interesting things apparently discovered an original signature of Nicola, the goldsmith when he and his young colleague investigated some old documents.

Also, he has published a novel based on the fact that some old coins were found in an old grave around here, which were not from this region.

The novel apparently reveals from where and how these coins arrived here, which sounds interesting.

Thanks to him, we learned a lot about this town and had a good time here.

This time, we visited only two churches, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Francesco, but the town itself seemed lovely, so in the future, if possible, we would like to come back and walk around the town, preferably in the season when the day time is longer.