TORRE RIFUGIO TENENTE BRACCI: Fu deciso di inviare a Pontelandolfo un drappello di 45 soldati al comando del tenente Luigi Augusto Bracci e 4 carabinieri. L’intenzione era quella di sedare i disordini, calmare la popolazione, restaurare l’ordine e tenere a bada le orde brigantesche. Questi giovani furono inconsapevolmente votati alla morte.
Giunsero a Pontelandolfo l’11 agosto e in prossimità dell’abitato cominciarono a sventolare fazzoletti bianchi dimostrando lo scopo pacifico della loro venuta. Molti cittadini, appena li scorsero, fuggirono rifugiandosi lontano o andando a riferire alle varie bande di briganti, sparse nelle contrade di montagna, la novità dell’arrivo. Il paese sembrava completamente immerso nell’abbandono; solo alcune persone, rinchiuse nelle case, attendevano la fine di quell’intervento. Questo contegno circospetto impensierì i militari tanto più che da qualcuno, che coraggiosamente si era fatto vedere, avevano ricevuto un inaspettato rifiuto di cibo e l’assicurazione della fuga delle autorità; il che confermò il convincimento che tutti o avessero paura dei briganti o ne fossero conniventi. Lentamente dal Piano della Croce si avviarono nell’interno del paese e trovarono la migliore soluzione nel rinchiudersi nel giardino della Torre per consumare un po’ di pane e di vino.
LIEUTENANT BRACCI IN THE TOWER:
The Piedmontese command in Campobasso decided to send a squad of 45 soldiers and four military policemen to Pontelandolfo. Under the command of Lieutenant Luigi Augusto Bracci, their orders were to quell the unrest. That meant calm the population, restore order and hold off the groups of partisans that were plaguing the Italian army. With this order, these young soldiers were unknowingly condemned to death.
The soldiers approached Pontelandolfo on August 11 and began waving white handkerchiefs. Lieutenant Bracci wanted to demonstrate the peaceful purpose of their misson. Many citizens, seeing them alerted their neighbors and fled the village center. They sought refuge in the hills.
Scattered in the mountains were various bands of partisans. Obviously, someone told the partisans that the army had arrived.
When the Lieutenant and his men entered Pontelandolfo, it appeared abandoned. Only a few people, shuttered in their homes fearfully acknowledged them. The cautious attitude of the citizens bothered the military men much more than if they had bravely showed resistance. The Italian Army was denied food and were told that the mayor had escaped. These actions confirmed Lieutenant Bracci’s belief that the Pontelandolfese were either afraid of the partisans or conspiring with them. Slowly from Piano della Croce they marched to the rear of the village and found the Tower Garden Fearful, they closed the gates and locked themselves in the garden. Hoping they were secure, they ate a bit of bread and drank wine. After they had rested, they began the march to San Lupo. Along the way, they were captured by the partisans, taken to Casalduni and killed.
During the years of 1525, 1582 and 1618 the Roman Curia liscenced the construction of the Church and attached Hospital. The church, the home of the statue of Santa Giocondina, has been damaged several times by earthquakes and rebuilt. Its sepulchre was used for burials.
During the henious events of August 14, 1861, the church was plundered but not destroyed. Ruffians and non Italian mercenaries, entered the sanctuary, tossed the consecrated hosts into the flames, stole artifacts and the crown of Our Lady Madonna.
Italians in the army, respecting the church suggested their desecration would cause the building to collapse around them. They then fled in fear. It was in the Church Annunziata Sepolture, that the innocent victims of the massacre were interred.