Inside its streets it is not easy to walk, going through the grown plants and the collapsed buildings on the old pedestrian streets, but some of the old houses, the furniture, the fireplaces, the still remained beds maintain their charm in the midst of so much nature and silence.
Abandoned following a landslide in the early 70s, the village dates back to the twelfth century and in the beginning its name was “Malanotte”.
There are several legends about the origin of the name.
A curious story tells that, at the beginning, the inhabitants lost a local war. Because of this, the men had to give their wives overnight to the victorious enemy as the price of defeat. For this reason, for the defeated inhabitants, the town was called “Malanotte” while for the winners, the town was called “Buonanotte”.
According to another legend, a king passing by those parts with his retinue, in a night of storm. He stopped in the castle and give it the name of Malenotte castle. Then, in another visit, on a midsummer night, he would have exclaimed “this is a good night” and hence the name “Buonanotte” (Goodnight).
The town retained this name until 1969 when it was decided to change it with the current Montebello Sul Sangro. One of the reasons that led the inhabitants of the time to change the name of the town was because they was tired of being derided by the history of the name. Montebello sul Sangro, even today is the current new village still inhabited.
But historically speaking, the origins of Montebello Sul Sangro date back to the 12th century. It’s true that over time the village has changed several names: in the beginning it was known as “Malanotte” and later became “Buonanotte”. In the fifteenth century the village was a fief of Antonio Caldora and then of the lordship of the Annecchino’s with Raimondo. This family had come in the wake of the Caldora themselves. Over the years it changed different owners, and in 1447 Buonanotte was inhabited by 7 families, 21 in 1532, 25 in 1535, 34 in 1561, 17 in 1595 and 17 in 1732. In 1671, in the description of the Kingdom of Naples by Caracciolo-Beltrano, the town was mentioned with Malanotte name with 17 families.
Set on the ridge of the old mountain, today the old town is completely abandoned due to a landslide that slowly destroys it. The new village, not far away, rises on the eastern side of Monte Vecchio, on the left of the Sangro river of the same name. Montebello Sul Sangro is located in the Abruzzo Apennines and enjoys a beautiful view of the Maiella mountain massif.