Serra

42°41’41’N 13°31’59’E

Serra is a village within the municipality of Rocca Santa Maria in the Province of Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy. The village sits at an elevation of 3596 feet above sea level in the area of Monti della Laga within the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park.

The village likely takes its name from the word sèrr? which in the local dialect means crest. The location of Serra is in fact on a high elevation overlooking the Vezzola river.

In previous times the village belonged to the Università (a medieval term typically referring to several small clusters of dwellings) of the village of Rocca Bisegna. Others areas sharing this distinction included Faiete-Cona Faiete, San Biagio, Pomarolo and Macchia Santa Cecilia. In a book published in 1804 by Luigi Ercole the village is listed as having 38 inhabitants. By 1841 this figure had swelled to 44. In 2007 Serra had but one sole remaining citizen.

The village has an elongated shape and the only remaining houses face the one road that runs through its center. Although they have not yet come to fruition, plans are underway to restore several of the old historic dwellings.

During the Feast of the Assumption many people gather at Serra for a religious celebration. The participants gather on foot and form a procession to the San Salvatore Church. During this activity the marchers gather all of the snails that they encounter along the way as these are believed to contain the souls of the deceased remaining in Purgatory. The snails are then blessed by the priest, thereby absolving the spirits of their previously-committed earthly sins.

Since this film was shot in 2011, the only permanent inhabitant of the village, who can be seen in the distance in a few frames, was reported to have passed away.

www.vimeo.com/gianmarcodelre

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