Conversano Castle

Conversano, Italy

The Castle of Conversano is located on the highest point of the hill on which the city stands in a position able to dominate the whole surrounding territory to the sea, and borders the old Largo della Corte, a large irregularly shaped square always at the heart of the city life.

The castle was the residence of the Counts of Conversano for almost seven centuries, ever since Norman times. Yet his story is much older, probably already at the time of Gothic War (535–554) on the same place there was a defense building, which embraced a part of the megalithic walls of the ancient city of Norba.

Certainly the first Normans feudal lords in the 11th century imposed the reconstruction of a castle on the ruins of the former. Of the original Norman core is preserved today a tower with a square base, known as the Torre Maestra and a fresco on the original vault entry, depicting the saints Cosmas and Damian. Later, important extension works were made, among others, from the Counts Luxembourg (14th century) who promoted the building of high circular tower at the north, right where the ridge of the acropolis became steeper. Around 1460, the Acquaviva built a twelve-sided tower base, more squat and with the embankment type walls, particularly daring from the engineering point of view: inside it, there is a round tank with a corridor around it equipped with drains, which are essential to defend the city.

The following centuries saw the further transformation of the building that was gradually losing the character of the manor to configure itself as an elegant mansion, suitable to the prestige of the powerful feudal lords. The current entrance is opening along the wall on Piazza Conciliazione, built in 1710 at the behest of the Countess Dorotea Acquaviva. Is possible to access a courtyard which in turn provides access to the late Renaissance porch. Further work on building complex have followed one another until the late 19th century.

The castle is currently only partially a municipal asset, while some wings - including the bridal chamber decorated with scenes from the Old Testament of Paolo Finoglio - are still private property. The public area of the building now houses the civic art gallery displaying paintings of the great cycle of the Gerusalemme Liberata always by Finoglio.

Structure

It is the only tower of the castle built, although the most impressive in size, of the same type plan of the other smaller cylindrical towers leaning against the 15th century walls of Conversano.

The Tower was added to the northern corner, perhaps replacing an earlier square tower, the rearmost of which traces are found only in the layout of the Castle. It is the result of an intervention of fortification work done by Giulio Antonio Acquaviva. The emblem placed high on the wall, which combines the symbols of the Acquaviva and Orsini house, constitutes the 'signature' of the work.

The tower is divided into more levels is a powerful defensive rampart towards the outside, and in later period of its construction, the parapet supported by corbels was interrupted at several points to make room for the inclusion of the cannons.

Polygonal Tower

Also this tower is an addition to other old buildings of the Castle, built when the new techniques and new military made inadequate the old structures.

To note is the lower tilted wall (called a scarpa, now partially buried), suited to repel the artillery. The narrow slits visible in the sides of the tower allowed the insertion of the mouths of fire, then contained within the tower. Other guns were to be placed on its top, sticking out the breaks above the parapet.

The presence of two coats of masonry in relief can give the building to the Count Andrea Matteo Acquaviva (1481–1511), son and successor of Giulio Antonio Acquaviva. Please note that just when was count Andrea Matteo, who sided with the French, Conversano was besieged and captured (1503) by Spanish troops of General Consalvo of Cordova.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rene Joy (7 months ago)
I stayed in Puglia in November. Unfortunately I am not able to drive in the dark anymore. I was surprised by the odd opening hours which makes it not possible to visit before dark
Chuck Marcotte (8 months ago)
They brought me a tea latte when requested!
Carmel Rooney (8 months ago)
Beauty please,so full of history
Vincenzo De Feudis (9 months ago)
Nice the castel, nice the places around as well ?
Nick Doyon (11 months ago)
Beautiful castle nice area
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Gruyères Castle

The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.

In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.

The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.

A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.