Castello di Casamassella

Casamassella Castle, built as a fortified residence in the 13th century, in located in the central square of the ancient village of the same name

Municipality:Uggiano la Chiesa
Region: Puglia

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The imposing Castle of Casamassella, one of the most interesting residences in Salento in terms of its historical content and architectural features, stands in the central square of the ancient village of Casamassella, about 4 km from Otranto. Its origins date back to the 13th century when it was erected as a fortified residence under the reign of Charles of Anjou. After several renovations aimed at gentrifying its structure, it still retains today the appearance of an ancient fortress, and was originally equipped with a moat and a drawbridge. In 1700, the construction of a central loggia, supported by corbels, which overlooks the portal and openings carved with zoomorphic, phytomorphic and mascaron decorative motifs, marked the building's definitive functional transition from fortress to elegant noble residence.

On crossing the threshold of the castle, it is easy to feel as though you are stepping back into a grand and distant era, when palazzos were the centre of all the activities in the area surrounding the village. From the central courtyard, one can admire the fascinating internal façade where medieval ogival arches and 18th-century architectural elements coexist harmoniously, creating an evocative and elegant ambience that leads to the Mediterranean garden, a magical place where centuries-old trees and flowering plants embrace the architecture of the colonnade. Citrus trees alternate with cypresses, ancient roses, fine vines, colourful bougainvillea, palm trees and even specimens of the rare Quercus Vallonea oak tree.


The first documents about the Castle of Casamassella and the urban centre that developed around it date back to the Middle Ages when, under the reign of Charles of Anjou, the castle, surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge, was the fortified residence of the feudal lord Ruggero Maramonte. It is not known if the building existed in an earlier era, but it is certain that human presence in the area dates back to ancient times. Its geographic location, in the immediate hinterland of the land around Otranto and sheltered from the frequent coastal raids by Barbary pirates, Turks and Algerians, made Casamassella Castle a prestigious and secure residence, coveted by some of the most illustrious families of Terra d'Otranto who occupied it over the centuries. It belonged to the Sambiasi, the da Noha and then the dell'Antoglietta families until 20 May, 1476, when King Ferrante of Aragon restored it to Filippo Antonio Maramonte, descendant of the first feudal lord, for merits in the field of battle. During this whole period, the events of the Kingdom of Naples were characterised by baronial revolts and wars with other Italian states.

Over the centuries, the castle was to change ownership time and time again. In the 16th century, it belonged to the Paladini and then to the Rondachi, a family of Greek origin residing in Otranto and owners of numerous lands in Salento. It was also used as a school of war because of its imposing manor-like appearance, with its mighty scarp wall and lateral machicolations. According to studies by Florio Santini, a famous contemporary writer captivated by Casamassella's charm, in 1600 the castle was inhabited by Spanish governors, including Michele Fernandez da Azedo, followed, after a brief return of the Rondachi family, by Didaco Perez Serrano and ‘vicar general’ Don Giuseppe Centonze. Although it remained the centre around which the life of the agricultural village of Casamassella gravitated, over the years, and with the succession of various owners, the Castle underwent significant modifications. The large, deep moat surrounding it disappeared, along with the drawbridge, and new entrances and windows were opened.

In the 18th century, its function changed completely and the fortified construction, with its severe military architecture, was transformed into an elegant aristocratic palace, its façade softened by a windowed balcony above the central portal. At that time, the Castle was owned by the Marchesi de Marco. In 1800, the de Marco family adopted the De Viti brothers, including Raffaele, father of Antonio De Viti de Marco (1858-1943), the famous economist and ‘meridionalista’ (an individual who supported policies and initiatives aimed at addressing the disparities between the northern and southern parts of Italy), who was a passionate defender of the economic interests of Southern Italy and the author of numerous internationally renowned works, still of great relevance today.

The oaks to be found in the courtyard of the Palazzo are dedicated to Donna Carolina and Donna Giulia, the economist's educated and committed mother and sister, who both helped to spread the art of making bows or decorative ribbons, called ‘l’arte del fiocco’, in Casamassella. Many distinguished visitors frequented the halls of the Castle, including Benedetto Croce, whose wife was a close friend of Donna Carolina. In 1890, it was the birthplace of poet and essayist Girolamo Comi, Baron of Lucugnano, an artist with a complex and enigmatic personality, whose work earned him the paradoxical nickname ‘ascetic narcissus’ as bestowed upon him by critic Caporossi. The De Viti de Marco family lived in the Castle until 1967, when it passed to the current owners, the De Donno family.



Castle of Casamassella in the heart of ancient Salento is the ideal place for a delightful holiday and offers a perfect combination of cultural discovery and stunning sea views. The coast is in fact just a few kilometres away and is easily reached, as is the archaeological site of Grotta dei Cervi at Porto Badisco, Europe’s most impressive Neolithic pictorial complex and Otranto, one of the country’s most beautiful villages and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located at the easternmost point of the Italian peninsula. With over 700 square metres of terraces and approximately 7,100 square metres of courtyards, small citrus groves and a magnificent Italian-style garden with an area immersed in greenery exclusively reserved for relaxing in the swimming pool and the ancient whirlpool bath, the Castle guarantees its guests maximum tranquillity and privacy, while still being in the heart of a small village. The hospitality area offers six carefully and elegantly furnished suites. Each room is of a good size and perfectly positioned. All include spacious private outdoor areas and, in keeping with the peaceful atmosphere, there are no TVs or internal intercom systems.



Due to its innate elegance and beauty, the Castle of Casamassella is the ideal location for every kind of private event. The entire right wing of the ground floor of the building is dedicated to receptions, weddings, gala dinners, private parties, exhibitions, meetings, conferences and other type of celebration. The entrance hall, with a cloakroom and three bathrooms for guests, can be assessed from the main courtyard through some tall windows; likewise, there are two reception halls, which are connected to each other and have a total useable surface area of approx. 200 sqm. Meanwhile, the service area, which can also be reached from an entrance at the rear, includes a room with a fully equipped industrial kitchen, a large pantry with a refrigerated cupboard, a spacious storage room, facilities for the staff and a designated station to check and inspect plates. As is characteristic of ancient manors, welcoming rooms with large barrel-vaulted ceilings lead the guests through a large winter garden to the grounds, where meandering paths invite you to stroll in peace and quiet. The reception area with WI-FI, TV, sofas and a bathroom for disabled guests is in the left wing of the courtyard. The rooms are all equipped with air conditioning, dehumidification and air recirculation systems. Newlyweds choosing the Castle of Casamassella for their wedding will find the Mother Church of San Michele Arcangelo, dating from the 16th century, conveniently immediately in front of the Castle.

Prices are available upon request.

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Territory: Salento



Territory: Salento

swimming pool
External use
Internal use
Garden use
Wellness spa
Numbers of beds:18
Event salons:2
Numbers of seats for events:140