Musellaro is a picturesque village in the Province of Pescara, in Abruzzo, overlooking the spectacular Orta River Valley.
However this place is not only famous for its landscape. In fact ……..it holds a treasure!
We will tell you this story as we virtually walk along the streets of this village and we head to the small square enclosed by the Baronial Palace and the Church of S. Maria del Balzo.
The church stands high, adjacent to the palace, and below the church there is a small door leading into an intimate space wrapped in dim light.
Switching on the lights reveals the interior of a small chapel richly decorated. The beautiful stained glass pictures tell us about the fascinating legend of the SS. Miraculous Crucifix, kept in the niche in the back of the chapel.
The legend has it that when the fierce Saladin put on fire the Holy City of Jerusalem, a noble crusader, Count of Balzo, saved from desecration a crucifix and an image of the Virgin Mary found thrown into a ditch.
Returning home from the Holy Land, the Count of Balzo, made a gift of such sacred objects to the Baron Tuzio Musellaro, who hosted him during his long journey back to Rome. To preserve these gifts, the barons transformed a wing of his mansion into a parish church and in 1213 dedicated it to St. Maria del Balzo to honor the donor.
In the seventeenth century, when the barony passed into the hands of the Lords Tabassi of Sulmona, the Crucifix was placed in the basement of the church and forgotten for many years, until something prodigious happened……….
When the despotic Baron from L’Aquila sent to Musellaro his soldiers to kill the population as they did not pay him the heavy taxes he imposed on them, a dense cloud of mist rose and wrapped the soldiers slowing them down. In the meantime a prodigy occurred in Musellaro………! Elena, the old and lame sacristan, went to the basement to recharge oil lamps while people had gathered in the church to pray. She then saw the ancient crucifix abandoned in a corner, dripping blood, and she tried to wipe it at her best.
Meanwhile the soldiers, who, despite the fog had almost reached the village, were met by a mysterious messenger who ordered them to return to L’Aquila as a noble knight, wearing a red band, had visited the Baron to pay off all the Musellaro’s people debts.
The miracle was immediately attributed to the Crucifix that has ever since been placed in the Chapel and venerated as miraculous. Still nowadays, at the foot of Holy Crucifix there is a chest that contains some of the coagulated blood that, as the legend tells, came out of the Crucifix and saved the people of Musellaro! This is what the Legend says…
If you want to contact Tiziana for more information about the above described places and the possibility of going on a real tour with her you may email: firstname.lastname@example.org