Rocca Calascio is a fortress located in Abruzzo, in the province ofEagle, in the territory of the municipality of calascio, inside 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 the ancient village below, now uninhabited.
The foundation of the fortress dates back toYear: 1000 even if the first historical document attesting its presence dates back to 1380. The original structure consisted of an isolated quadrangular tower with already squared stones and served 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 it was devastated by a violent earthquake following which the highest area of the village was abandoned and a large part of the population moved to the nearby town of Calascio , whose birth is linked to the destruction of the fortress.
In the XNUMXth century, even the last remaining families left the village and the fortress remained uninhabited. At the end of the century, however, also in the wake of the success derived from the setting of some films (above all "Lady Hawke" from 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 now one of the main tourist attractions in the area.
The castle: dominates the Tirino valley and the Navelli plateau a short distance from the Campo Imperatore plain, it is located on a ridge at 1.460 meters high, in a very favorable position from the defensive point of view and was used as a point of military observation in communication with other nearby towers and castles, up to the Adriatic.
The structure, entirely in white stone with squared ashlars, consists of a central keep, probably pre-existing, of a pebble crenellated wall and four corner towers with a strongly sloping circular base. Access is through an opening on the eastern side located about five meters above the ground, which is 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 of the castle, along the path that leads from Santo Stefano di Sessanio to the town of Calascio, it forms a single fortified organism.
Its development is linked to the modest size of the castle and the small number of men it could host, as well as the need to safeguard the population from the assaults of invaders and pirates. The connection with the castle was through a wooden drawbridge, now replaced by a simple ramp.
It can be divided into two parts, an original one adjacent to the castle and one located further downstream and more recent. The upper part was practically abandoned after the destruction caused by the earthquake of 1703 and is today in the form of a ruin; the lower part was instead inhabited until the very first postwar period and has undergone numerous conservative restorations over the years. Alongside forms of restoration, so to speak "public", there are also interventions of simple enthusiasts of the Abruzzo mountains who have contributed with their interventions to the recovery of the site.