Rocca Calascio, a mountaintop fortress at 1,460 metres (4,790 ft) is the highest fortress in the Italian Apennines, overlooking the Plain of Navelli at one of the highest points in the ancient Barony of Carapelle.
Near the hilltown of Santo Stefano di Sessanio in the Province of L’Aquila in Abruzzo, Italy, construction of the fortress started in the tenth century as a single watchtower. A walled courtyard with four cylindrical towers at the corners around a taller inner tower was added in the thirteenth century.
The lower half of the fortress is built with distinctively larger stones than its upper half, a feature believed to make its base impenetrable to invaders, but he fortress was never tested in battle. It was however badly damaged in November 1461 by an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7 to 8 on the Richter Scale.
Just beside the fortress is the 16th century, Santa Maria della Pietà, an octagonal shaped votive shrine, similar to others found in Abruzzo, where this architectural style had been particularly popular since the 14th century.
Apart from being a popular destination for walkers , the fortress and location is also a favoured location for film directors, with several scenes in the Richard Donner film “Ladyhawke” filmed there along with sequences for Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose” filmed there.
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