Carbonana Castle (Italy)
Exhaustive and rigorous research has not succeeded in identifying a date of foundation of the castle and not even the name of the builder or the first settler. However, they allowed the discovery of the oldest document in which the existence of the castle was mentioned as early as 1192. It is a privilege with which Pope Celestino III confirms the possession of the Castrum Carbonane to the Bishop of Gubbio Bentivoglio.
And it is from that date that the site boasts the typical characteristics of a castrum, or a strategically fortified settlement, placed in defense and defense of the surrounding area. To motivate the interest of the ecclesiastical lordship towards this territory would have been the presence of water mills that, in a phase of economic and agricultural recovery, assumed an unprecedented importance.
As a consequence of the progressive loss of temporal power by the Church, the Castello di Carbonana passed under the control of Gabrielli di Gubbio, one of the most important families in medieval Italy. He remembers that Cante dei Gabrielli, who in 1302 as podestà of Florence condemned Dante in absentia to the stake.
In the 15th century, the castle became part of the possessions of a noble Florentine family who fled to Gubbio, to escape from the fratricidal conflicts between Guelphs and Ghibellines in Florence, the Porcelli, who later became counts of Carbonana. The transfer of ownership of the Castle, from the Gabrielli to the Porcelli, took place with the marriage between Checca degli Atti di Sassoferato, widow of Giacomo dei Gabrielli, and Giacomo di Galeotto Porcelli.
The Porcelli family, in strong ascent, close to the Montefeltro and then to the Della Rovere, Dukes of Urbino, adopted the homonym of Carbonana, and were invested between the sixteenth and seventeenth century of the most important offices in the Gubbio government and were distinguished as valiant soldiers at the service of the Republic of Venice.
It is due to the Porcelli the beautiful decoration of the chapel, Santa Maria di Carbonana, with the fresco of the sixteenth century Madonna with Child, the expansion of the castle in its southern part with a beautiful portal and the construction of the elegant circular tower in the south corner -est of the walls. Since then, aspect and proportions have remained unchanged and this means that Carbonana is considered, today, among the best preserved castles of Umbria.
The Porcelli di Carbonana will not survive the death of the last count, Troiano, in 1886 but the Castle will remain in the property of their distant branch of family, through the general Attilio Gigli who lived here until his death in 1943. From his sons the Castle was sold to Dr. Ludvik Staub, in 1963, which will sell it again in 2008. In 2011 two Canadian citizens buy it, immediately starting the great challenge of the total restoration of this manor, considered a national monument, under the guidance of the Superintendency of Architectural Heritage and Landscape of Umbria.
For the new owners who prefer to call themselves "custodians", the restoration of this magnificent medieval castle would not have been complete anyway if its stones had not had the chance to tell their story, to talk to us ...
Hence the task entrusted to expert archivists, archaeologists and art historians to tell the story, and so the valuable work of a team of scholars has given birth to two important books on the Castle, published in 2015 and 2016 (see Bibliography).
For centuries, the Castle of Carbonana has been called home, for many generations and so still remains today, a private residence, well preserved for generations to come, jewel of the eugubino and Italian heritage.