Barisciano is found in one of the region’s most picturesque settings, on a mountain slope below the ruined fortifications of a twelfth-century castle, around an even earlier five-sided tower. The town’s origins date to the Middle Ages, between the sixth and the eighth centuries. Due to its strategic position in defending the Piana di Navelli, it was constantly at the centre of conflicts and battles. The early populations scattered – especially during the desertion of Roman Peltuinum – to form a number of villages that would later form what is now the Barisciano district. The new site was considered safer and more convenient as it was higher than the plain where the Via Claudia Nova had been constructed. The earliest mention of Barisciano is in 920 AD, in the Chronicon Farfense. Sheep farming was the town’s greatest source of income, along with various crops (saffron, potatoes, wheat, almonds and lentils) and the production of farming and shepherding implements. The Feast of Saint Catherine, on the twenty-fifth of November, became the climax of each year’s activity: on this day the price of saffron (‘Abruzzo gold’) would be set for the entire region. There are several sites of historical and artistic interest including, in the centre, the seventeenth-century parish church was built over an earlier place of worship, as we can see from the bell tower dating to the original San Flaviano church. Beyond the stone façade, the aisle-and-two-nave interior preserves an eighteenth-century wooden organ and a baptismal font from the 1500s. In Piazza del Comune, the church of the Santissima Trinità (or Immacolata Concezione), now deconsecrated, is home to the Centro di Documentazione della Transumanza. The small, ancient church of Santa Maria Capo di Serra still has traces of some lovely frescoes. In the northern part of town, the Buon Consiglio church dates to 1320, with a bell gable and Romanesque portal on the right. Outside town, in an oak grove, we find the fourteenth-century Franciscan monastery of San Colombo, now housing the Centro Ricerche Floristiche dell’Appennino, where different varieties of seeds are preserved and studied, and is also home to an Herbarium Appenninicum of about forty thousand specimens. Annexed to the monastery is the church of Santa Maria d’Asprino, and the church of San Rocco (built as a votive offering to mark the end of the plague that struck the town in 1526) near the southern castle tower, with sixteenth-century frescoes inside. At the top of a hill to the east of town we see the ruins of a Medieval castle, destroyed in 1424 by Braccio da Montone after a long and bloody siege. Traces of human settlement can be found not far from the town at Piana Forfona, where the remains of a Roman village are still visible, and in the Castellacci area, with its broad stretches of wall dating to the first millennium BCE. Another site of considerable importance is the monumental fountain known as Fontana Grande.