Rocca Albornoziana - Spoleto (Italy)

Umbria     See list of castles in Italia

The Albornoz Castle is an imposing fortress that stands on the Hill St. Elias, the highest point of the city of Spoleto. Built starting in 1359, it is part of a series of fortresses wanted by Pope Innocent VI to restore the authority of the Pope, who lived then in Avignon, in the central Italian territories forming part of the Papal States. To carry out his plan, the Pope sent him to Italy the powerful Spanish Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, from which the fort is named, which he entrusted to Matteo di Gubbio Giovannello said "Gattapone" the direction of the work, which continued until 1370. Became over the years also the residence of the city's governors, the Rocca was enriched with decorations and frescoes, many of which were lost when the building was converted into a prison (1817), function it held until 1982. The recent restoration allows today to visit castle, rectangular in shape and defended by six imposing towers, which consists in two courtyards, one originally home of the armed militia (Arms Courtyard), the other reserved to directors and governors (Courtyard of Honour). Element of the two courtyards link is a decorated archway at the end of the '500 with frescoes depicting six cities belonging to the Church. Noteworthy are also the areas that face the area of ​​representation, among which the Hall of Honour, the wider environment of the fortress to house ceremonies and banquets, and the Chamber Pinta, which preserves two beautiful fresco cycles typically profane dated between the fourteenth and fifteenth century. Within fifteen rooms of the property also it hosts the National Museum of the Duchy of Spoleto.

The fortress stands on the summit of the Colle Sant'Elia, in a strategic position dominating the whole valley of Spoleto. It was built starting in 1359, on the eve of the final return of the papacy from Avignon to Rome, part of the implementation, headed by Cardinal Albornoz, the defense system designed to restore papal authority in the territories of the Church after the captivity Avignon. Spoleto The fortress was a pin of such a system, place to control the Via Flaminia and support point and an ideal starting point for military action to recover the territories of Umbria, Marche and Romagna. The monument is a fortified complex dall'allungata rectangular shape, marked by six towers and two large courtyards; It was also designed to perform the representation function and residential to the rectors of the Duchy, the governors of the city and the papal legates. La Rocca lost, then increasingly the residential function, and in 1816 was transformed into a prison, used that it will perform until 1982. In that year were started the massive recovery and restoration work (as yet not entirely completed) that returned the furnishings the original image, even with the inevitable leaks evident, especially in the gaps of the paintings. There remain, however, many traces of coats of arms in the arches on the two levels of the Cortile d'Onore, in addition to that with chivalry, one of the most remarkable of central Italy, which adorns the so-called Chamber pint, or picta, inside the tower teacher.

To access the park of the Rocca (free admission) you can use the pedestrian entrance to the streets Campello or the most comfortable, wide elevators located at the end of the short tunnel that opens along the Giro della Rocca, on the side facing north, from which you can also enjoy beautiful views of the Spoleto Valley and Cathedral. The elevators are part of the mechanized system that, by 8 blocks of escalators, connecting this area, easily and in a short time, with the lower part of the old town (district Ponzianina, village Garibaldi, Basilica of San Salvatore, etc.) and the "Ponzianina" parking.

You can visit (entrance fee) various rooms of the fortress: the Courtyard of Honour, surrounded by buildings for the city governors, in which even some popes stayed, adorned with a beautiful hexagonal well and surrounded by double gallery; the Courtyard of Arms, which occupies the area once used to the troops, the Hall of Honour, the wider environment of the Rock and the Pinta Room.

In Rocca houses the National Museum of the Duchy of Spoleto that develops in fifteen rooms, on two floors, and is an integral part of the cognitive path of the monument. The Museum, with artifacts on display and teaching apparatus, shows the origin and development of the Duchy of Spoleto, formed around 570 following the Lombard conquest and whose name remains in use until the seventeenth century. epitaphs are exhibited, liturgical furnishings, burial kits, sculpture exhibits and architectural fragments, wooden statues, paintings and artifacts. Museum in the municipal property works are filed related to the documented period (previously exhibited in the Municipal Art Gallery).

Rocca also have their headquarters in the European School of Book Restoration and the Laboratory of Cultural Heritage Diagnostics.

Vivo is still the memory of the legendary presence of Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI, who chose it, just nineteen, regent of the Duchy of Spoleto. In 1499 he stopped for three months in Spoleto; citizen in the archive there is a document with a few Latin words written in his own hand. In 1502, he lives in Ferrara, will make one more stop at this princely residence. The "male" of the fortress, the central tower facing the city, destined to be the fulcrum of a last defense, was named "Tower of the spirited", perhaps in memory of cruelty and vengeance of the castle.

Images of the castle

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Useful infos

Latitude: 42.7342571
Longitude: 12.7419895
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Map of Rocca Albornoziana - Spoleto