The Castle

What happened to the castle of Frederick? With the exception of a bare window, the portal of the drawbridge, the cylindrical back tower and some crenels, no artistic element refers to the thirteenth century, so looking at today’s appearance, it is not clear which role Fredrick II played in the fortification of the castle. The workers of Mormanno It’s certain that the stately manor of the Calabrian town was built by the Swabian emperor and that the first settlements around it were the homes of the workers employed in its construction, specialized mastery coming mainly from Mormanno, as evidenced by the Frederician Statute. The fortress on the Appia-Traiana Road The military importance of the place, at the time, was due to the fact that the only means of communication between Apulia and Calabria, on the Ionian side, was the Roman Appia-Traiana road that passed through here. For this reason Fredrick II, who had great strategic knowledge, wanted to erect a castle that served not only as a defensive fortress, but also to give asylum to the Court in the transfers and during hunting games. The matryoshka castle The solution to the mystery is in the analysis of the works of restoration desired by Alfonso of Aragon who not only strengthened the fortress, but also enlarged and renewed it in order to cover the old Swabian monument, perhaps smaller and with a square central tower. The stone ship Today the polygonal tower looks like a huge stone ship, the bow facing south and the gray sides protected by symmetrical towers: the Arab – Sicilian pensile arches of the south-eastern tower and Guelph battlements are Aragonese, but the apartments are of the eighteenth century. In the walls, erected towards the end of the ‘500, the narrow and inflexible crenels and the bows open. Dungeons and secret tunnels in the best castle tradition There is no shortage of stables, cellars, interconnecting corridors and ventilation stairwells in the towers; several galleries were buried and it is said that there was a now untraceable one, the secret exit to the outside. The torture chamber Just past the drawbridge, under the Frederick’s portal, stamping the foot on the stone slab floor makes you feel a “strange thunder”: below is the room of torture and executions. That night in July 1644 Numerous precautions taken to make the building impregnable, through the ensuring logistic supplies with the locals for storage of oil and wheat, five settling tanks of water and a large window overlooking the rugged coast to the West, from which the attacked could spill water and boiling oil on the attackers. Those who were able to overcome the drawbridge would find a way up and a bottleneck that would restrict the front of attack to a few men. From 1300 the fort was subject to continuous raids and a night in July 1644 it bore the siege of 4,000 pirates. The last lord After much resistance and several enlargements, the last lord of the manor also got rid of the furniture and furnishings and around 1835 sold even the roofs and windows.