Gessopalena rises to 654 meters above sea level on the eastern side of the Maiella: once perched on the rocky spur that dominates the Aventino valley, now lying on the ridge along which the via Peligna winds. Its name derives from the Latin gypsum, due to the presence in the territory of crystalline rocks from which the gypsum is obtained. Archaeological finds discovered in the countryside testify to pre-Roman and Roman settlements. In the early Middle Ages the population of Gessana lived scattered in the "villas" of the ancient Roman colonization; only around the year 1000, in the phase of the fortification, began to gather, in defense, on the rocky bulwark overlooking the Maiella. The local economy was always essentially agro-pastoral, but from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century it could also count on a conspicuous production of wool (flourishing throughout the Aventine valley). Other entry assets came from the sale of plaster and, more modestly, from the lace industry. It is a continuous destination for visitors, attracted above all by the evocative atmosphere of the steep medieval village, where Holy Wednesday, in an atmosphere of poignant pathos, consumes the Crucifixion of the Lord, the mother scene of the famous Sacred Representation of the Passion. The incomparable scenery of the Maiella is the backdrop to the whole, to the north-west, which from here is contemplated throughout the compact and majestic succession of its peaks.