Castle of Ocre

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The medieval Castle of Ocre stands on Mount Circolo at 933 m above sea level in the municipality of Ocre, in the province of L’Aquila.


The fortress of Ocre is first referenced in a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander III in 1178, when it is listed as one of the holdings of the diocese of Forcona. When the town of L’Aquila was founded in 1254, it was listed among those spared from destruction under the name “Cassari Castro.” The castle was demolished by forces from L’Aquila in 1266, during the reign of Charles I of Naples, following the restoration of the city that had been previously devastated by Manfred, King of Sicily, with the cooperation of the lords of the castle. Due to their assistance for Conradin, Charles of Anjou confiscated the castles around L’Aquila, and in 1269 Morel de Saours received the fortress of Ocre.

The fortress was given to Giovanni di Bissone in 1283, and forces from L’Aquila once again looted it in 1293. However, the condottiero Braccio da Montone‘s attack in 1423, which was the most damaging, was launched. As soon as it was no longer necessary to protect the city of L’Aquila, the castle began to deteriorate: in the beginning of the 16th century, Ocre is no longer referred to as a “castrum,” but rather as a “villa,” and the inhabitants began to progressively leave the walled settlement.

The castle is a “fortified village”. The walls include old houses, tower houses, and streets.

The ruins of the castle of Ocre
The ruins of the castle of Ocre (source)

Featured image: wikimedia


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