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Step nine – A village with a mistery

Rennes-le-Château is a castle in a small hilltop village in Southern France that is at the center of many conspiracy theories. Some say that priest Bérenger Saunière discovered buried treasure in the 19th century, but there are many conflicting theories and stories about what exactly transpired in this area filled with beautiful scenery etched with deep river canyons.

The history of Rennes-le-Château reflects the history of many other European villages. It began with a prehistoric encampment, followed by a Roman villa. The area was a part of Septimania during the 6th and 7th centuries. Thirty thousand people lived in the city around 500-600 AD, with the number of castles rapidly increasing in the area around 1002 AD. In modern times, Rennes-le-Château became very famous when stories from the mid-1950s concerning Roman Catholic priest, Francois Bérenger Saunière, influenced modern writings including The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, published in 1982, and The Da Vinci Code, published in 2003 (obviously I’ve read both of them and others, that’s why I wanted to visit there, dragging along a reluctant husband….).

The stories told about Rennes-le-Château and Bérenger Saunière consist of many theories, revolving around all matters of conspiracies involving the Blanche of Castile, the Merovingians, the Knights Templar, the Cathars, and later, the Priory of Sion, the Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene, and the remains of Jesus Christ.

The starting ground for these conspiracy theories involve Bérenger Saunière. He was the priest of a small village from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Somehow, Saunière came across large sums of money – amounts so large that it is unimaginable how a small village priest could come to have such wealth. This led to much speculation as to where and how he got the money. Some say that he discovered a buried treasure, but this theory has never been substantiated.

During his first few years in the village, Saunière lived in poverty. He kept meticulous accountings of his money, which showed that in 1892 he owed a debt of 105 francs and had savings of 80.65 francs. From the 1890s on, his papers showed that he spent an alarming total of 660,000 francs. As a priest, he earned a salary of 900 francs per year. Around 1880, the going rate for a single mass was 1 franc, so it is difficult to imagine that Saunière could have earned such an income on performing mass alone. In 1910–1911 Bérenger Saunière was summoned by the bishopric to appear before an ecclesiastical trial to face charges of “mass trafficking” – receiving money for masses that he never actually performed. He was found guilty and suspended of the priesthood. When asked to produce his account books he refused to attend his trial. Even if Saunière was guilty of this, he could not have collected enough through this practice to amount to the sums he spent over his lifetime. As his life came to an end, Saunière began having financial difficulties. It has been noted that this time in his life corresponded with the start of World War I, which may indicate that his funds were held abroad and he could no longer access them. Saunière’s income and spending have led to many conspiracy theories about Rennes-le-Château and where the money may have come from. Some say he came across a buried treasure. Others accused him of digging graves and stealing from the dead. When his spending was investigated by the church, Saunière claimed that the money had been gifted to him. Marie Dénarnaud, the faithful housekeeper who was accused of digging through graves with Saunière, claimed to know a secret that would make one extremely wealthy. When Noel Corbu purchased the Saunière estate from her, she told him she would tell him a secret that would make him powerful and rich. However, prior to her death, Dénarnaud had a fit that left her unable to write or speak. She ultimately took her secret to the grave.

During the 1950s, Corbu began circulating stories that Saunière was in possession of parchments, which he found while renovating his church in 1892, and that these were linked to the treasure of Blanche de Castile, supposedly amounting to 28,500,000 gold pieces. This was the treasure of the French crown assembled by Blanche de Castile, wife of Louis VIII, to pay the ransom of her son Louis IX (Saint Louis), who was captured during a crusade. The surplus was said to have been hidden at Rennes-le-Château.

It was during the 1960s that Corbu’s stories took on a life of their own, and ignited interest in the case of Saunière and Rennes-le-Château. Corbu’s account of Saunière reached the ears of Pierre Plantard, a French draughtsman who is famous for claiming to be a direct Merovingian descendant and for being the principal perpetrator of the Priory of Sion story. Plantard adapted Corbu’s story and entwined it within the mythological account of the Priory of Sion, which inspired the 1967 book L’Or de Rennes by author Gérard de Sède. The book had photographs purportedly showing the parchments discovered by Saunière, but a friend of Plantard later admitted to forging the parchments and both Plantard and his friend were also involved in planting fabricated documents in France’s Bibliothèque Nationale that dealt with the secret history of the Priory of Sion. A decade later and the story of Saunière became even more convoluted and mixed up with conspiracies relating to the ‘Jesus bloodline’, made popular in the bestselling book ‘Holy Blood, Holy Grail’. Wikipedia reports:“In 1969, a British supporting actor and screenwriter for the BBC by the name of Henry Lincoln read de Sède’s book while on holiday in the Cévennes in 1969 that led him to inspire three BBC Two Chronicle documentaries between 1972-1979, working some of its material into the 1982 non-fictional bestseller Holy Blood, Holy Grail, that he co-wrote with Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. The book claimed Bérenger Saunière discovered proof (possibly the Marriage Certificate) that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were married and their descendants became the Merovingian dynasty. Among the book’s hypotheses are the possibilities that this was the secret of the Priory of Sion; that Pierre Plantard could have been the descendant of Jesus Christ; that the source of Saunière’s wealth could have involved the blackmailing of the Vatican.”

This theme was further picked up by Dan Brown for his famous historical novel, ‘The Da Vinci Code’, which led to a further surge of interest in Rennes-le-Château. The story of the castle and the priest with his hidden treasure has since become popularized in radio shows, TV programs, and films, and it is now virtually impossible to separate fact from fiction in this complicated conspiracy story. To this day, the secret of Saunière’s fortune remains a mystery. Many theories as to where he got the money have been developed, but none substantiated. Was he a dishonest priest, highly skilled in mass trafficking? Did he come across buried treasure? Was his money kept and hidden overseas? We may never know the real story of Saunière and his fortune, the truth of which he most likely took to his grave when he passed away on 22 January 1917.

The village church dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene has been rebuilt several times. The earliest church of which there is any evidence on the site may date to the 8th century. However, this original church was almost certainly in ruins by the 10th or 11th century, when another church was built upon the site—remnants of which can be seen in Romanesque pillared arcades on the north side of the apse. This survived in poor repair until the 19th century, when it was renovated by the local priest, Bérenger Saunière. Surviving receipts and existing account books belonging to Saunière reveal that the renovation of the church, including works on the presbytery and cemetery, cost 11,605 Francs over a ten-year period between 1887 and 1897.

One of the new features was the Latin inscription Terribilis est locus iste above the front doors, taken from the Common Dedication of a Church, which translates as: “This is a place of awe”; the rest of the dedication reads “this is God’s house, the gate of heaven, and it shall be called the royal court of God.” The first part of the dedication is above the front doors—the rest inscribed on the arches over the two front doors of the church.

Inside the church, one of the added figures was of a devil holding up the holy water stoup, its original head was stolen by persons unknown in 1996 and has never been recovered. A devil like figure holding up the holy water stoup is a rare and unusual choice for the interior decoration of a Church but not exclusive to the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, a similar subject matter can be seen in the Saint Vincent Collegiate church in Montréal, a short distance from Rennes-le-Château. The new figures and statues in the church were not specially made,[13] but were chosen by Saunière from a catalogue published by Giscard, sculptor and painter in Toulouse who—among other things—offered statues and sculptural features for church refurbishment. Following Sauniere’s renovations and redecoratations, the church was re-dedicated in 1897 by his bishop, Monsignor Billard.
As you can see from my photos below, it’s not exactly the roman catholic church you can expect……the first impression is you are on a movie stage really, not the feeling you’re in a blessed place….stunning nevertheless, due to the different lights (natural and artificial), the colors of the statues, the paintings of the walls….have a look….
Near the church there’s a little museum about the story of the village and the Saunière life and mystery, not really adding much to the visit, but from the back garden (a nice walk) there’s the access to the Tour of Magdala….
In September 2004, the mayor of Rennes-le-Château exhumed Saunière’s corpse from the cemetery and reburied it in a concrete sarcophagus in the garden to protect it from grave-robbers. Since then, the cemetery of Rennes-le-Château has been closed to the general public.
Saunière also funded the construction of another structure dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. Named after his church, he built the Tour Magdala originally named the Tour de L’horloge on the edge of the village which he used as his library, it features a circular turret with twelve crenellations, on a belvedere that connected it to an orangery, a tower-like structure. The tower has a promenade linking it to the Villa Bethania, which was not actually used by the priest. He stated at his trial that it was intended as a home for retired priests. Surviving receipts and existing account books belonging to Saunière reveal that the construction of his estate including the Tour Magdala and Villa Bethania (including the purchases of land) between 1898 and 1905 cost 26,417 Francs. Believers in the enigma have suggested that Saunière’s estate was set up on a large-scale checkerboard, while others have claimed that Saunière produced a Mirror image of selected architectural features of his property.

From there you can have an unobstructed view of the Aude valley towards the Pyrenees………..

After the still unsolved mistery (if really there’s one) we needed a break, so we drove to a nearby lake to have a late lunch and a relaxing afternoon…

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Step eight – Two museums in Toulose

The Cité de l’espace (City of Space) is a theme park focused on space and the conquest of space. It was opened in June 1997 and is located on the eastern outskirts of Toulouse. As of 2015, there had been more than 4,5 million visitors.

There you can visit full-scale models of the Ariane 5 rocket (55 metres or 180 feet), Mir space station, and Soyuz modules. The original planetarium has 140 seats and presents shows throughout the day. Cité de l’Espace also has numerous exhibits, often interactive; for example, a mock-up of a control room near the model of Ariane 5, allows visitors to prepare the launching of a rocket, help with its flight and then place a satellite in orbit. Terr@dome (a terrestrial half-sphere 25 metres or 82 feet in diameter) presents the history of space from the Big-bang to the solar system. A building about Australia, which opened in 2005, includes: a new 280-seat planetarium, called the Stellarium, equipped with a hemispherical screen 600 square metres (6,458 sq ft) in area; a 300-seat IMAX cinema, which shows the film Hubble 3D (previously Space Station 3D, a 3D film made on board the International Space Station); and conference rooms.

For more about this very interesting museum (hubby is a fan of everything is space and planes, but I found it so well presented and beautiful as well) read their website, below are my photos of the day spent there.

Lunch was a bit expensive, but we enjoyed it nevertheless………….

Aeroscopia is a aeronautic museum based in Blagnac (where the Toulose airport is) near the site AéroConstellation (an industrial zone dedicated to the aeronautic industry) and hosts several planes, including two copies of the Concorde, the opening took place January 14, 2015, and here is their website to learn more about it. Below, my phots……….

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Interlude – Restaurants & Co.

While there, in Carcassonne, we tried several restaurants, some very good, some average….

The first in the second category was the Brasserie Les Platanes, most of all because being seated outside, the flies were all over the plates….

The worst (for me at least, because my husband enjoyed his pizza) was La Courtine. The place was so nice and on their menu there was also “pizza sans-gluten” (gluten-free)…..

My pizza was not prepared at the moment, the dough was from one of the most famous gluten-free products company (I asked) and at three time the price I pay when I buy it at the store…

Luckily for us we also tried Au Four Saint Louis…..a very good choice, the location, the plates and the waiters…So good that we came back a second time…

Another good one, very near to our hotel, is the Restaurant Le 37, friendly and cozy place with a large choice of plates and wines…

I treid the typical dish of the region, the cassoulet….soooo soooo good….at Le Trouvere, in the central square of the walled city

and we came back for a very good as well wild boar stew…

A friendly brasserie is Le Trauquet, with very young and nice staff….and very good crepes…

The beautiful hotel (with spa) near ours were really too much expensive for us, but the last night we spent in Carcassonne, we decided to dine there (the restaurant is really more affordable being a thing on its own)…

But the very best we found in Carcassonne is the spanish Tapa Bar Restaurant Le Passage…we went there the first time for lunch and we came back twice for dinner!

 

It was a difeerent way of travelling, but for sure it was an experience….

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Step four – Wandering along a river

The river Gardon is what give the region its name, Region du Gard, and even if so hot (at the moment a very worrying lack of rain) it’s very beautiful…We spent the morning strolling around the little village of Remoulins, an old place along its banks…

Remoulins is located on the Gardon river, just downstream from the Pont du Gard (another beautiful memory from some years ago). It has a popular river-side beach during the summer, and a very intersting Medieval old village with remnants of fortified walls, towers and a 12th century church,.

It is also been called “capital of cherries ” until 2002, when some floods have ravaged the land dedicated to this crop.

The Salpêtrière grotto is a cave-like shelter near the southeast end of the Pont du Gard, but in the commune of Remoulins. This site was excavated by archeologists from 1872, and revealed a vast amount of Paleolithic artifacts and information. The Sartanette grotto is located more towards Remoulins, 600 m southeast of the end of the Pont du Gard, in the middle of the wooded hills, and accessible only by foot. Excavations began in this deep cave in 1967. Artifacts unearthed here have been dated to about 2300 BC…….it means a lot of lives have been lived along this river and in this place, sometimes it’s almost overwhelming to think about it…

A tribe of Celtic people called the Volques Arécomiques (who founded the town of Nîmes) built an oppidum, in the 4th century BC, on the hill of Marduel, 1 km southwest of the river. The site is now in the commune of St Bonnet-du-Gard.

During the 1st century BC, the Romans built the Uzès-Nîmes aqueduct and the famous Pont du Gard. From the southeast end of the Pont du Gard, the aqueduct zig-zagged through the Remoulins Forest to Lafoux, directly across the river from the town of Remoulins. From Lafoux, the aqueduct turned southwest towards Lédenon (home of a circuit track that we visited the first time we were here. Now it’s open only for races and it can be rented by appointment to private clubs).

The town began in 736 by Charles Martel, who had camped here following his victory over the Saracens. During the 9th and 10th centuries the Saint Martin chapel and the Ferregut mill were built. Remoulins was fortified in the 11th century, with walls and towers. The Notre-Dame de Bethlehem church was built in the 12th century.

We had a little walk along the river left bank (the most shaded) and it was really nice, the breeze brought lots of different flowers and plants smells….it was so refreshing…

For lunch we found a creperie that made all its dishes gluten-free….obviously we obliged! It was so good, we had a “galette bretonne” with potatoes, creme-fraiche and smoked salmon….and a sweet one with strawberry cream and jam as dessert…

In the afternoon the sun was playing hide-and-seek, but it was even hotter if possible, so we thought that maybe, near the water it would have been a little better….it wasn’t but the landscape was amazing…

After a drink break (I really think it was the hottest day of our vacation…) we drove back to our B&B, knowing we had added another pearl to our necklace of travels’ memories…

 

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Step one – Uzès

We were there already, four years ago, but just for a few hours, a walk through its streets and squares…..This time we found on the web a lovely B&B  where to stay for three nights (and the expectations were more than satisfied!)….there we met an english family from Sheffield, and by the end of our stay we were already friends, exchanged our home addresses, phone numbers and e-mails, to be sure to stay in touch…and the place was so charming and cozy and the owners so friendly, we’re thinking of coming back this fall….

Staying longer we had the chance to see a little more of this charming village (photos posted at random) its very quiet streets, especially at the end of the day, or its crowded places………both aspects are nice to see.

(hubby being the lonely walker at that moment...)

Originally Ucetia, Uzès was a small Gallo-Roman oppidum, or administrative settlement. The town lies at the source of the Alzon river, at Fontaine d’Eure, from where a Roman aqueduct was built in the first century BC, to supply water to the local city of Nîmes, 50 kilometres (31 miles) away. The most famous stretch of the aqueduct is the Pont du Gard, which carried fresh water over splendid arches across the river Gardon (another beautiful memory of the region, back in the summer of 2006).

The civilized and tolerant urban life of 5th-century Uzès contrasted with the Frankish north. Jews were apparently settled there as early as the 5th century. Saint Ferréol, Bishop of Uzès, allegedly admitted them to his table; on this account complaint was made of him to King Childebert I, whereupon the bishop was obliged to change his attitude toward the Jews, compelling all those who would not become Christians to leave Uzès. After his death (581) many who had received baptism returned to Judaism. Jews were expelled from the region in 614.

In early 8th century, Uzès was a fortified civitas and bishopric under the archbishop of Narbonne. During the Umayyad conquest of Gothic Septimania, Uzès became the northernmost stronghold of the Andalusians circa 725. Charles Martel went on to lay siege to the stronghold in 736, but it remained in Gothic-Andalusian hands up to 752, when counts loyal to Ansemund of Nîmes handed over a large number of strongholds to the Frankish Pepin the Short. In 753 the stronghold rebelled against the Franks after Ansemund’s assassination, but the uprising was suppressed and a Frankish trustee of Pepin imposed. In the 13th century, Uzès hosted a small community of Jewish scholars, as well as a community of Cathars. Like many cloth-manufacturing centers (Uzès was known for its serges), the city and the surrounding countryside were strongly Protestant during the Wars of Religion in the 16th century, which wreaked havoc in Languedoc. Numerous of the city’s churches were trashed and burned by furious Protestants: only two remain today.

While there, we enjoyed some very good meals in local restaurants….the first we tried was good for the food, but the service was really deplorable, a very long wait and not so cheap….the location, on a terrace, and the view made up for that…

Located on the Place aux Herbes there are at least 15 restaurants….we chooce A Cotè and it was a good choice….

The best was the one we found following a horse carriage, in a little place just behind the main square….

Obviously, being in France, we couldn’t avoid the nth market (not that we wanted to, but we didn’t look for it neither)……the explosion of colors and smells was amazing as always…

We decided to exlpore more of the place….but that’s for another chapter…

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Abruzzo 2016 – Chapter 3 – Wandering around

No traffic jams, roads in good conditions, not too hot (sometimes a little rainy), beautiful landscapes and old villages…..we couldn’t have asked for more….starting from panoramic roads…..

….leading to villages too small to be signed on our map…..like Casoli, situated on a foothill of the Majella mountain, at the base of which runs the Aventino River………..

 

We found a cozy place for lunch, with a stunning view over the valley and a mix of Abruzzo and Sicily food…..

We had time for a little siesta under some cactuses…..

Or find yourself in the middle of Montorio al Vomano, between the XV century St. Anthony church….

and the more imposing VII century St. Rocco…..

spending some time just walking…..

One evening back to our hotel, we were surprised to meet some girls from another time….

who told us that night there was a medieval festival…..well, why not?

 

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Abruzzo 2016 – Chapter 2 – Capestrano

Capestrano is a village placed on a hill (m.465) in the central part of the Valle del Tirino which in Roman times was called the Valley Tritana or Valley Trita. This little village too, still shows the wounds of the 2009 earthqualke, but it’s also a charming place….let’s take a walk while we learn a bit of local history….

In the Valley flows the river Tirino, called in Roman times “Tirinum flumen”, being originated from three sources (Capodacqua, Lago and Presciano) all located in the area.

That’s why the town has as its coat of arms a castle from whose bases are derived three sources (trium amnium) that have given to Capistrano its name, a contraction of “Caput trium Amnium” meaning principle of three sources. In the Valley, in the Roman era, there was the flourishing and populous city of Aufinium, a cultural center and home to a renowned school of philosophy so the Romans elevated it to “municipium” rank. The inhabitants belonged to the historic and well-known group of Vestini and were for long loyal to Rome.

During the second half of the sixth century the valley was occupied by the Lombards that caused deeply damage, disrupting the structure of its territory and taking away any possibility of recomposition. The houses were abandoned and the population forced to seek safety elsewhere. The Lombards’ rule lasted for at least two centuries, during which the Lombard element mingled with the local population. The actual origins of the village date back around the year 880 and it seems to have formed the cluster of small groups of people who had scattered in the valley after the destruction of the city of Aufinium. Initially the area was for many years under the rule of the Benedictine monks and mayor of the great Abbey of San Pietro ad Oratorium, that stood in the area a short distance from the village.

The first document in which is mentioned the name of Capistrano dates back to 1284 when Charles I of Anjou, in recognition for his loyalty in the conquest of the kingdom of Naples, moved the territorial command of the Tirino Valley to  Riccardo Acquaviva of St. Valentino. The town had originally a fortified structure as shown by some documents in which it was called “Oppida Capistrani”. The need to defend itself is confirmed by the fact that a small lookout tower was built at the pass of Forca di Penne where there were facing bands of Saracens.

Capestrano in the early thirteenth century was a marquis, with the adjoining of the Barony of Carapelle, and included Castelvecchio Calvisio, Calascio and Santostefano, all neighboring villages of the Valley. In 1584 it became a principality that included Forca di Penne, St. Pelagia, the fortress of Castel del Monte and the Barony of Carapelle. Later it passed under the dominion of the lords who ruled the area over the decades, the Accrocciamuro, the Acquaviva, the Piccolomini, the Medici grand dukes of Tuscany and, finally, the Bourbon of the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies. Ferdinand IV of Bourbon granted Capestrano the title of city. In 1860 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

Walking can make someone hungry, right? Our choice was a restaurant facing the main square….

We had a salami and cheese chopping board as appetizer…..

then hubby had some saffron and asparagus cream gnocchi

while my choice was a plate of freshwater crayfish in a white wine reduction….

In a corner of the room there was a replica of the Warrior of Capestrano….

The Warrior of Capestrano is a tall limestone statue of a Picene warrior dated to around 6th century BC. (The Picentes were an Italic tribe who lived in Picenum in the northern Adriatic coastal plain of ancient Italy. The endonym, if any, and its language are not known for certain). The statue stands at around 2.09 m. It was discovered accidentally in 1934 by a labourer ploughing the field in the Capestrano. The statue has traces of pink paint and features a hat with a huge brim and a disk-type armor (kardiophylax) protecting the chest and back.The warrior bears a short sword, knife and axe. He has also a defensive device known to the Greeks as mitra (a short apron covering the back), a wide belt, necklace and armlets. A South Picene inscription incised on the pillar standing to the right of the warrior reads: “Makupri koram opsút aninis rakinevíi pomp[úne]í” (“Aninis had this statue made most excellently for Rakinewis, the Pomp[onian]”). The subsequent investigation showed that the vineyard where the statue was found was situated above an Iron Age cemetery. Together with the warrior, a female statue in civilian attire was found at the same site, the so-called Lady of Capestrano. Beside the copy of the warrior there’s another ancient riddle, called the Sator Square

Outside the restaurant, opposite to the square, there is the reason of our visit to Capestrano….

The Piccolomini Castle was built in the 13th century, on the hill next to the Tirino river and the Abbey of St. Peter ad Oratorium in a strategic position at 505 m above sea level. It was a feud of Tolomeo di Raiano in 1240, and was granted to the Acquaviva family in 1284 by Charles I of Angio (King Charles I of Sicily). Riccardo d’Acquaviva was thus named marquis of Capestrano. In 1462 the Castle passed on to Marquis Antonio I Todeschini Piccolomini d’Aragona (d. 1493), nephew of Pope Pius II, who enlarged the castle with new towers with battlements. In 1579 Marquess Costanza Piccolomini, daughter of Innico Piccolomini, sold the castle to Francesco I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. In 1743 the Castle passed on to Charles III of Spain in his capacity as Charles III Bourbon, King of Naples and the two Sicilies. In 1860 the Castle passed on to the Savoyard King of Italy.

The Capestrano Piccolomini Castle is, despite numerous interventions, one of the most interesting of Abruzzo fortified complexes. Its events are related to the succession of important families, from the Acquaviva, Dukes Valentine, Piccolomini, until the advent of the Medici whom the castle belonged until the abolition of feudalism. The fifteenth-century residential building, now the Town Hall, includes the remains of a pre-existing medieval fortification which preserves the impressive prismatic tower that dominates the height of the rest of the building. It consists of two bodies forming a “L” of which the largest, south-west, forms the bottom side of the main square of the village, while the smaller closes the inner courtyard to the north-west. The fort has a dual function: the castle in the sense of a fortified manor house and castle enclosure.

The main façade, which looks out on the village square, is clamped between two round towers and is the result of a radical transformation carried out in 1924 which has inserted into a stern defensive walls a big entrance, surmounted by the emblem of the Piccolomini. On the first floor there are five windows of marble dating back to the Renaissance. The original entrance to the complex was instead placed on the east side, protected by a moat; now the remains are still visible with the holes of the drawbridge chains now replaced by a stone staircase. The inner courtyard of a great beauty, presents in the middle a fifteenth century marble pit, flanked by columns with leafed capitals. A beautiful stone staircase gives access to the upper floors. The interior, completely restored following the restoration of 1924, it is now largely devoid of artistic interest with the exception of two valuable salons now become the center of social activities.

As you can see, there’s a new King of the Castle now…..

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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