With 4 modern, designer rooms and 1 independent apartment,Cascina di Chiara offers a flexible and personalized way of staying, for short or long periods, individual rooms or the entire structure, allowing guests to take full advantage of the province’s tourist offerings: hiking in the mountains, adventure park, visits to ancient villages and hermitages, horseback riding or relaxing on the beaches of the Adriatic Sea, only 20 minutes away by car.
Many leisure opportunities are available in the surrounding area, starting with the services offered by the nearby Castello di Semivicoli: the 1689 baronial palace owned by the Masciarelli family is only a 10′ drive away and with its remarkable array of comforts and services – including a gym, swimming pool, gardens and a restaurant open for lunch and dinner – it aims to satisfy any kind of gastronomic and wellness needs of our Cascina guests. In addition to this, the Castello offers a full calendar of summer and fall events: vineyard picnics and grape harvests, Sunday brunches, musical concerts and traveling theatre, traditional Abruzzo cooking classes, yoga and poolside aperitifs. All bookable at a special discounted rate, reserved for our guests. All bookable at a special discounted rate, reserved for our guests.
Lovers of good wine can book visits to the Masciarelli Winery and personalized tastings inside the Cascina itself guided by our staff, or explore the area independently in search of small producers and restaurants of excellence.
With broadband wi-fi in all areas, Cascina di Chiara is also the ideal place for business or long-term stays, offering a location surrounded by greenery and tranquillityin which to engage in smart working activities..
In addition, an electric bike rental service is always available by reservation, at an extra cost of €40.00/day.
San Martino is one of the oldest towns in the province of Chieti, and one of the few that has maintained its location on the original site of its foundation, even before the arrival of the Lombards. In prehistoric times, the area was certainly a hunting territory for early hominids, who then took shelter in caves hidden at the foot of the Maiella mountain, as evidenced by findings such as those in the Colle Cave near Rapino. During the Italic period, the area was definitely inhabited by populations of Samnite origin, highly advanced in terms of their civilization, as also evidenced by their complex and richly furnished burial customs.
Little is known about the Roman period, both due to the scarcity of findings and the few references in Latin texts. However, in recent years, numerous sites with Roman villas and pottery remains have been discovered. In San Martino, there were probably several large Roman villas, likely belonging to descendants of the Roman gens Pompilia, a surname that still survives in many family units in the town.
In 800 AD, San Martino was already listed among the castles of the Teatino area before the Lombard conquests. In 900 AD, it was chosen as the residence for the last years of Aldamario da Capua’s life, who was later proclaimed a saint. Captivated by the tranquility of the place and its nature, he built his hermitage there. This period marks the foundation of the Benedictine Abbey of San Martino, with a long and still mysterious history, already documented in numerous records by 1030. In 1151, Maestro Nicodemo, a native of the area, built his only church here and carved the first of his marvelous ciboria. One of the first Franciscan rural convents in Abruzzo was founded in San Martino in the second half of the 12th century. By this time, the original “castrum” had already expanded with the construction of the fortified village, characterized by the presence of house-walls and 3 gates.
In the 16th century, the last processional cross of Nicola da Guardiagrele’s school was made, one of the few still preserved and displayed every year on March 19.
The 1600s marked the beginning of the era of the “polverieri” (gunpowder makers), characteristic smuggler merchants of San Martino, who produced gunpowder for sale and defense using an ancient and highly secret recipe made with vine charcoal.
Between the second half of the 17th century and the end of the 18th century, San Martino became the fief of the important and ancient de Pizzis family, who received the title of “Marquises of San Martino” from the king in Barcelona. In the 1700s, the town was bustling with the activity of the polverieri, who during the French invasion prevented the invaders from forcefully entering San Martino, diverting them towards Guardiagrele. The subsequent period of brigandage spared the community of San Martino, also protected by its gunpowder. With the unification of Italy, the name “sulla Marrucina” was added, inspired by the ancient pre-Roman road that passes right under the hill of the village. In the first half of the 1900s, the era of the polverieri ended, and during World War II, the town suffered significant damage, losing its ancient castle and much of the fortified village. The hills of the town were caught in the crossfire of Allied and German bombings. Today, San Martino sulla Marrucina is a village of just over 1000 inhabitants, with thriving agriculture, beautiful countryside, and the breathtaking panorama of the Majella mountain, which has watched over the people of San Martino for centuries, their lives, and their tranquility.
The figure of the polveriere is typical of San Martino sulla Marrucina and fully reflects the characteristics of these people and their land. The era of the polverieri began (perhaps even earlier) in the second half of the 1500s and lasted until the mid-1900s, when for the first time in over a millennium, the town was taken by force, as it was one of the few in the entire province to remain free from invaders for centuries. The polveriere is a complex figure, difficult to define in a few lines: he was a shrewd merchant, a formidable defensive soldier when he had to defend his town and its people, and a skilled craftsman who exploited the few resources he had, combining them with his own knowledge. No one knows for sure how the recipe for gunpowder reached San Martino, perhaps brought by a monk assigned to the ancient abbey there. What is certain is that once it arrived, it was immediately improved and kept secret for centuries, passed down only from father to son and within the San Martino community. The same was true for the tools used in its production: the hammer, the small wooden mallet that should not have any metal parts, and the pile, the stone where the powder was beaten for processing. Each polveriere had his own cave carved along the slope of San Martino facing the Majella, the most wooded and wild area. The secret recipe consisted of sulfur, saltpeter (a mold that naturally grows in the caves of San Martino sulla Marrucina), and vine charcoal, the sacred plant of the community, which provided grapes for food, wine for drink, and charcoal from the pruned branches for making gunpowder. The families of the polverieri mainly lived in the historic center as they were mostly poor and did not have land to cultivate. Hunger and knowledge of the secret recipe led them to develop a complex secret system of caves carved into the hill of the town and hidden from the view of strangers, along with a system of lookouts that prevented Bourbon troops, finance officers, and foreigners from suspecting their existence. The worst enemies were indeed the law enforcement forces, as the polverieri were true smugglers. There were several armed clashes between law enforcement and the polverieri, including a siege that lasted almost a year in 1700, but the town was never taken, and the polverieri were never annihilated. The gunpowder produced could thus be sold throughout the province and even far beyond the region, up to Campania, as far as the polverieri traveled on muleback to sell their merchandise. The gunpowder was mostly used for agricultural purposes, to crumble large rocks in farmlands or to reduce large tree trunks into logs. The polveriere was a very resolute merchant, and his strength lay in the very merchandise he sold: the powder was his means of economic sustenance but also his defense. That’s why when, at the end of the 1700s, the Napoleonic troops tried to take San Martino, they were repelled by that small village that had mysterious and large stocks of gunpowder. This, combined with the combativeness of the San Martino people, had saved the town from plunder. And that’s why the brigands who in the 1800s plundered all the towns around San Martino always spared it, fearing the retaliation of the polverieri. The polveriere was a typical San Martino resident, as are the inhabitants of the town today: proud of his small town, stubborn, shrewd, hospitable but tremendously hostile if his freedom is threatened. And the polveriere was viscerally tied to his town: he was a son of his land, like the vine that has always grown and prospered in this town, loved and respected, and which, together with the secret recipe for gunpowder, for centuries preserved the greatest good of San Martino and its people: its freedom.