Castello Caracciolo, Tocco da Casauria

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Caracciolo Castle is a Middle Ages castle in Tocco da Casauria, Pescara Abruzzo.


A military fortress built between 1000 and 1100, the Caracciolo Castle or Ducal Palace was destroyed by the earthquake that struck south-central Italy in 1456. The following year, it was reconstructed in Renaissance style as an aristocratic home and given the name Ducal Palace. The Chronicon Casauriense, the earliest historical record of the castle, records the acquisition of Castrum Tocci by the heirs of Girardo, lord of Popoli, from the abbot of the Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria in 1016. Following their conquest of all the nearby villas, they had a pharum, or tower, as well as a castle built. However, that castle was promptly destroyed by the same abbot, and its remains were sorted into rounded baskets known as Corbelli before being dispersed throughout the valley below, which has since been referred to as “of the corbellari.”

The Chronicon Casauriense describes the current castle, and it also appears in various writings from between 1000 and 1100. The Chronicon also records a donation made to Abbot Leonate on July 1, 1169, that was recorded in the Tocco fortress and the church of St. Eustace and was seen by a certain presbyter Alesius. As a result, the castle predated both the year 1200 and the reign of Frederick II of Swabia, in contrast to Francesco Filomusi Guelfi’s theory (which Samuele Iovenitti eventually adopted) that the fortress was built between the years of 1215 and 1220.

Castello Caracciolo, Tocco da Casauria
Castello Caracciolo, Tocco da Casauria (source)

Due to its strategic location and suitability for the defense of the entire Pescara River valley, it is certain that Emperor Frederick II made use of the pre-existing castle by having it rebuilt[6]. Felice Virgilio di Virgilio asserted that two Tocco residents—court judge Simone da Tocco and court master of cloak and dagger Enrico da Tocco—who was serving at Frederick II’s court in Naples at the time had to have played a significant role in the castle’s restoration. The fact that Frederick II felt compelled to have it built may indicate that the earlier castle was only partially restored when it was initially destroyed or that it lacked the necessary military might on its own.

An earthquake destroyed the castle of Tocco on December 5, 1456. When Giovanni De Tortis, the lord of Tocco, perished beneath the debris, his son Antonio, with the assistance of his subjects, started the repair process right away. The name “Ducal Palace” comes from the fact that the castle was constructed in 1457 as a residential palace in the style of the Renaissance for the duke lords of Tocco rather than as a military stronghold.

Castello Caracciolo, Tocco da Casauria
Castello Caracciolo, Tocco da Casauria (source)

The castle is made up of four building parts joined by four corner square towers that form a courtyard in the middle.

Large tufa blocks make up the lower portion of the structure, while tougher, light gray, well-squared stones are used for the corners and redondone. In contrast, the building’s upper portion is constructed of brown stones that are hardly square at all.

A redondo divides the scarp from the top of the building, which features a scarp basement that extends roughly halfway up the structure. The basement features embrasures, while the upper portion of the walls has rectangular windows with decorative cornices surrounding them.

Featured image: wikipedia


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