- Forte Spagnolo
The Forte Spagnolo (Italian for "Spanish fortress") of
L'Aquila- commonly called "il Castello" by the Aquilans, is one of the most impressive Renaissancecastles in central and southern Italy.
In the 15th century,
L'Aquilahad become the second most powerful city in the Kingdom after Naples: there were half a million sheep, wool and saffron were exported throughout Europe; all this unfortunately was lost when the Aquilans, during the war between the French and the Spaniards for the throne of Naples, sided with the French. In 1504Aquila the city was occupied by the Spanish conquerors. Then in 1527 the French recovered the city with the support of the citizens and the surrounding town. But just a year later Viceroy Filiberto of Orange, ruling for King Charles V of Spain, finally defeated the Aquilan rebels and ordered the city to build a fortress in the highest spot North of the city, exactly where in 1401 King Ladislas had built a garrison to control the unruly and rebellious Aquilans ("ad reprimendam aquilanorum audaciam").
The project was entrusted to a celebrated Spanish architect,
Don Pirro Aloisio Escriva, a great expert of firearms, who had begun to build Castel Sant'Elmoin Naples. The discovery of gunpowder obliged to new methods of defensive construction. Escribà was in charge of the project for 2 years, leaving the task to Gian Girolamo Escribà.
In the following 30 years the heavy taxes necessary to build the fortress impoverished the city, which in 1567 begged the Spaniards to stop the construction; the Royal Court granted the request, and works were interrupted, so parts of the castle were never completed. The Fortress had cost an enormous sum for the times, and Aquila was obliged also to sell the thick silver case containing the body of
St. Bernardine from Siena.
The Fortress, which had been built not to defend the city, but to control it (cannons pointed to the city) and to be a completely self-sufficient structure, was never used in a battle. Its cannons, always ready to fire, were silent throughout the centuries: the only victim was the city itself, whose decline began with the construction of the fortress and went on under the Spanish dominion.
Escrivà planned a giant fortress, made of four bastions connected through mighty walls, 60 meters long, with a thickness of 30 metres at the bottom and 5 meters at top. The walls were surmounted by massive merlons, with openings for the archers and the long-distance cannons. All around the fortress was a ditch (never filled with water) 23 meters wide and 14 meters deep, aimed at defending the foundations from the enemy's artillery.
Escrivà did not forget any detail: the slanted walls would reject enemy fire to the sides; each bastion consisted of two separate and completely self-sufficient environments - called "case matte" - almost independent garrisons on their own. Also the aqueduct to the city was deviated so as to supply the fortress first of all, and in case of rebellion block the water supply.
Moreover, Don Pirro planned a special anti-mine corridor, a kind of empty space between the outer and inner walls which could be walked only by one man at a time (and which can be visited today), aiming at defending the castle in case of explosion in case enemy soldiers excavated tunnels to leave mines at the foundations. A whole hill was leveled down to supply the white stone necessary for the fortress, while the city's bells were melted to make the cannons.
1798the citizens fought against the French who had invaded Italy, attacking, in vain, the fortress. From then on, the building was used as a prison. After 1860it became a military headquarters, and in the Second World War was occupied and damaged by the Germans. Between 1949 and 1951 the castle was restored, and chosen as the seat of the Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo.
* [http://www.comune.laquila.it Official website]
* [http://www.laquila.com A portal for L'Aquila]
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Look at other dictionaries:
Forte Spagnolo — Das Forte Spagnolo (italienisch: Spanische Festung) in L Aquila ist eine der beeindruckendsten Festungsanlagen der Renaissance in Mittel und Süditalien. Von den Einheimischen wird es gemeinhin auch il Castello genannt. Geschichte Im 15.… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Spagnolo — is a surname, and may refer to:* Duilio Spagnolo (circa 1927 2005), Italian boxer * Giovani Spagnolo (born 1980), Brazilian computer scientistee also* Forte Spagnolo * Spagnola * Spagnoli … Wikipedia
Spagnolo — ist der Name oder die Bezeichnung für Mariano Spagnolo (*1974), argentinischer Tenor. Olindo Natale Spagnolo Martellozzo (1925 2008), römisch katholischer Weihbischof Forte Spagnolo, eine Festungsanlage in Italien … Deutsch Wikipedia
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L'Aquila — L’Aquila … Deutsch Wikipedia
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