Rossena Castle (Italy)

Emilia-Romagna     See list of castles in Italia

In the village of Rossena there was a mighty castle, perhaps the most beautiful and best preserved of the entire Matildic area.
It stands on a volcanic cliff with a particular reddish color which dominates a unique and unrepeatable landscape, which embraces a large stretch of the plain and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine ridge.

In the 11th century it belonged to Bonifacio di Canossa, and in the 13th century it was forfeited by the Da Correggio family who held it until 1612, when it passed to the Duchy of Parma and in the first half of the 19th century it hosted the Duchess Maria Luigia of Austria, then lady of these lands.
Part of the building dates back to the 10th century: it is the keep, typologically similar to the nearby Rossenella tower and with it probably intended to defend the Canossa castle located further upstream. It kept its military role unchanged until the second half of the XVIII century, the period in which it was transformed into a residence; The inscriptions and the decorative apparatus found in some rooms during the recent restoration bear witness to this passage. The austere image of the fortified complex is mainly due to the succession of the city walls: the first from which the remaining part of the keep still stands, delimited by the Piazza d'Armi; the second wall with high curtain walls, built for the plumbing defense and the third with the ramparts, a reminder of the advent of the artillery.
The castle develops mainly on three levels: the share of the "weapons room" including the prisons, the weapons room, the refectory and the cistern, connected to each other by irregular paths of stone and brick steps.
The share "Piazza d'Armi" including the original core of the defense system, with the square delimited to the north and east by the building. The environments that develop at this level are large and the internal environment of the keep is recognizable which can be accessed through a portal dating back to the nineteenth century built in brick. In numerous rooms, after recent restoration, decorations on plaster were found dating back to the second half of the 1700s.
The third level, which was accessed through a passage cut into the masonry walls, is less rich in evidence except for the stone portal which concludes the aforementioned vertical passage.
Opposite Rossena, the quadrangular Torre di Rossenella rises isolated on a rocky peak overlooking the oasis of Campotrera, confirming the great defensive system that surrounded the most important castle of Canossa. It constitutes, today, one of the most interesting artefacts of the Reggio Apennines because, unaltered by subsequent building integrations, it manages to denounce its original connotation.
Immediately downstream of the fortress, in its eastern side, is the homonymous village, consisting of a double row of buildings erected on the side of the main road; the multiple renovations have not prevented the preservation of some traces of the original old buildings: there is a tower-shaped house and a fragment of wall facing made with the medieval technique of stone blocks arranged in parallel courses.

Images of the castle

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Useful infos

Latitude: 44.5824379
Longitude: 10.4254206
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Map of Rossena Castle