The small village of Bonefro is kept like a secret by the folds of the Frentani hills. To the south it is nestled in a thick woodland that makes the climate cool and the air extremely pleasant even in summer. Cultivated lands, known to the ancients for their fertility, extend all around.
Despite the thousand and two hundred souls that populate it, the town has preserved a certain vitality and resourcefulness over years, regardless the fletingness of the fast development and the inexorable passing of time.
According to legend, the village was set up as a consequence of the mysterious “Abduction of the Venafrane”. Between history and myth, the episode goes back roughly to the High and Low Middle Ages. In May, pilgrims from the town of Venafro on their way to the Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel on Monte Sant’Angelo, Gargano Highlands, were caught in an ambush by some lecherous peasants, who took the women of the group without too much compliment and took them away. It is not clear whether it was the new couple of abducted brute-women who founded the present Bonefro, or whether the inconsolable men from Venafro, who camped with the hope of getting back or to honour the wrongdoing. Anyhow, the two variants of the same theory seeks legitimacy above all on the assonance of the names Venafro and Bonefro, which would have been due to the celebration of this abduction as the genesis of the new settlement. In favour of this thesis, the recurrence of some surnames in both Molisian municipalities has also been noted. Nevertheless, more in-depth research and historical documents, while not denying at all the plausibility of the abduction of women, seem to lead definitely in other directions. After all, the link -fr- is recurrent in terms of osca origin (the language of the ancient Samnites).
Beyond the fascinating conjectures about its origins, Bonefro has many other stories to tell. A Longobard castle with four towers literally camouflages itself between the village of the ancient borgo. It has remained occupied over the years and has then been divided into apartments, blending seamlessly with the shapes and colours of the surrounding buildings. Another place of great interest is the former convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Built in the sixteenth century and renovated only recently, today it houses an ethnographic museum and is the center of many beautiful cultural and artistic initiatives, one of many Tina Modotti photo archives. Still, a few steps from the convent, is consecrated Palazzo Miozzi, where you can visit the permanent exhibition on the great shots of Tony Vaccaro, the famous American photographer of Bonefrane origins. We can not fail to mention the fountains, the one of the Earth and the one of the Czechs, respectively of the eighteenth and fourteenth century, ancient places of refreshment that have become true symbols for the community of the small town of Molise. There is no shortage of topics to explore, maybe during a beautiful summer walk throught the alleys of Bonefro, sipping good wine and tasting ciufeli e tanne de rape!