On the Cover: Castle of Rocca Calascio

L'articolo descrive il Castello di Rocca Calascio vicino a L'Aquila in Abruzzo. La costruzione del castello iniziò nel X secolo. Nel XIII secolo accanto al castello fu costruita anche una torre e una fortezza. Durante un devastante terremoto nel 1461, la città e la fortezza furono distrutte ma solo la città fu ricostruita. Il castello è tutto fatto in un tipo di calcare bianco. Al Castello di Rocca Calascio si sono ispirati i film "Nel nome della rosa" e "Ladyhawke". Oggi sono molti i turisti che vanno in Italia per vedere questo storico castello.

Settled on the tip of a ridge more than 4,500 feet high in the municipality of Calascio, in the Province of L'Aquila, Abruzzo sits a mountaintop fortress (rocca), the Castle of Rocca Calascio.

The castle is the highest fortress in the Apennines. Built of stone and masonry exclusively for military purposes and intended only to accommodate troops and never as residence for nobles, the fortress overlooks the Plain of Navelli at one of the highest points in the ancient Barony of Carapelle.

Construction of the fortress started in the 10th century as a single watchtower. A walled courtyard with four cylindrical towers at the corners around a taller inner tower was added in the 13th century. The lower half of the fortress is built with distinctively larger stones than its upper half. It is believed that this feature was to make its base impenetrable to invaders. The fortress was never tested in battle. However, it was badly damaged in November 1461 by an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7 to 8 on the Richter Scale. While the town of Calascio, which lies below the fortress, was rebuilt, the fortress was not. In 1989, architectural renovation works were carried out to restore the structure. 

The striking structure is made entirely of milk white-colored limestone. The entrance to the fortress was through an opening on the eastern side, about 20 feet above the ground. Access was through a retractable wooden bridge resting on stone brackets. The castle served as a defense and military observation post. Thanks to its favorable position, from Rocca Calascio it was possible to communicate with other castles on the Adriatic coast by means of torches and mirrors. 

The Castle of Rocca Calascio lies within the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park and alongside the high plain of Campo Imperatore. The majestic medieval structure has inspired numerous films such as "In the Name of the Rose" and "Ladyhawke". The beauty of the fortress lies in its shape and in the way it can blend in with the surrounding area. Today it is one of the most spectacular tourist destinations on the Gran Sasso, immersed in wild nature and offering visitors a view of the main mountain ranges of the Apennines. The castle is a popular starting point for trekking and mountain excursions in the Gran Sasso National Park.