The little village of the Isernia area, in Molise, has only five thousand people. However, it stores a millennial history which comes with a big popularity in the world. Agnone is known for being the site of the ancient papal bell factory, the Marinelli Pontifical Foundry.
There are 14 bells among the numerous churches of the village, while the annex museum to the factory dates a thousand years. Once in Agnone, don’t forget to take a look at the artisan process of the manufacturing of bells: this is what Pope John Paul II did in 1995, to show his gratitude for the work in producing many of the foundry’s bells at the Vatican.
The process uses molds from both wax and clay coming from the countryside. It lasts between three and 10 months depending on size and always involves a local priest who blesses the bronze. When the metal, molten in the wood-feed furnaces at a temperature of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, is poured into the space to form the bell, workers start praying loudly and, as soon as the bell begins to cool, they exchange good wishes.
Other famous bells can be found in the Santuario della Beata Vergine del Rosario di Pompei in Naples, in the Montecassino church, and in the Buenos Aires Cathedral. The most famous bell is the one called “Giovannea” made for the 2000 Jubilee opening.