Rocca Calascio is a fortress located in Abruzzo, in the province ofEagle, in the territory of the municipality of calascio, Within the Gran Sasso National Park and Monti della Laga, at an altitude of 1.460 meters above sea level. It is known for the presence of the fortress, one of the highest in Italy, and of the ancient village below, now uninhabited.
The foundation of the fortress is traced back to theYear: 1000 even if the first historical document attesting its presence is dated 1380. The original structure consisted of an isolated square quadrangular tower with already squared stones and was used as a lookout tower.
In Fourteenth century it is a possession of Leonello Acclozamora of the barony of Carapelle. Later, towards the end of the fifteenth century, it was granted by King Ferdinand to Antonio Todeschini Family Piccolomini which strengthened the fortification by equipping it with a wall in cobblestone and four cylindrical towers for military use. During this period the fortress saw its economic weight increase, since it was placed under control of the sheep's heads involved in the transhumance on the regio tratturo for Foggia, and at his feet a small village developed, in turn surrounded by walls.
In the 1579 the Medici family bought the fortress and the neighbor for 106.000 ducati village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio in order to extend their possessions to exploit the wool trade. In 1703 was devastated by a violent earthquake, after which the highest area of the village was abandoned and most of the population moved to the nearby town of Calascio , whose birth is linked to the destruction of the fortress.
In the twentieth century even the last families left abandoned the village and the fortress remained uninhabited. At the end of the century, however, also on the wave of success derived from the setting of some films (on all "Lady Hawke" by 1985), some houses have been recovered and others have been converted to accommodation facilities; the castle has also undergone an important restoration and consolidation operation and is today one of the main tourist attractions of the area.
The castle: dominates the valley of Tirino and the plateau of Navelli a short distance from the plain of Campo Imperatore, is located on a ridge to 1.460 meters in height, in a very favorable position from the defensive point of view and was used as a point of ' military observation in communication with other towers and nearby castles, up to the Adriatic.
The structure, entirely in white stone with squared ashlars, consists of a central, probably pre-existent central, of a crenellated wall in cobblestone and four corner towers with a strongly scarred circular base. Access is via an opening on the eastern side, about five meters above the ground, accessed via a wooden ramp, originally retractable, resting on stone shelves.
The castle, damaged by the 1703 earthquake, was subject to a series of conservative restorations between the 1986 and 1989 aimed at restoring the structure and allowing its architectural-functional restoration, and is now freely accessible to visitors.
The village: located south-west from the castle, along the path that leads from Santo Stefano di Sessanio to the town of Calascio, composes with it a single fortified organism.
Its development is linked to the modest size of the castle and to the smallness of the men it managed to host, as well as to the need to protect the population from the assaults of invaders and pirates. The connection with the castle was via a wooden drawbridge, now replaced by a simple ramp.
It can be divided into two parts, an original one adjacent to the castle and a post further downstream and more recent. The upper part was virtually abandoned as a result of the destruction caused by the 1703 earthquake and is now in the form of a ruin; the lower part was instead inhabited until the very first post-war period and has undergone numerous conservation restorations over the years. Alongside forms of restoration, so to speak "public", it should also be noted interventions by simple enthusiasts of the Abruzzese mountain who have contributed with their interventions to the recovery of the site.