Renaissance Town, Italy

Nestling below clouds and mountains, the hilltop town of Castel del Monte is part of the Gran Sasso and Laga Mountains’s National Park.

Most structures are several centuries old, with many are little changed since the Middle Ages or Renaissance and the settlement is in the District of Baronage’s Lands, in which some of “The most beautiful villages in Italy” are situated.

It has had a chequered history and with the end of the Roman Empire, the village was provided with fortifications to defend it against the barbarian invasions and bandits. But against mother nature it was helpless…

On April 6, 2009, an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale hit Abruzzo, with its epicenter in the region’s capital, L’Aquila. The quake, which was felt throughout the central part of Italy, killed over 300 and injured 1500. An estimated 15,000 buildings were damaged and 65,000 people were left homeless in the worst earthquake to hit Italy since 1980. Major aftershocks, some registering as high as 5.3, were then felt in the following days, as the region was thrown into chaos.

But life goes on and Abruzzo was chosen as the setting for George Clooney’s movie “The American”, shot in Castel del Monte and Castelvecchio. It’s a slow-paced character study/thriller about a lonely assassin Jack (Clooney) trying to complete his last assignment while being pursued during a mission in a small Italian village. . Anton Corbijn, the director of the movie, had enough time to show the beauty of the Abruzzo area and especially the town of Castel Del Monte. ..

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