Castello del Monte

Montella, Italy

The Castello del Monte (Castle of the Mount) is a place of historic and religious interest situated in Montella, on the street of the same name, which leads to a complex that also includes the Church of Santa Maria del Monte (Saint Mary of the Mount) also “of the Snow”, and the former Franciscan monastery.

Standing on a hill overlooking the town below, the castle was built by the Lombards towards the end of the 9th century, on the ruins of an old Roman fortress. The imposing castle building has undergone improvements over the centuries: Charles II of Anjou used the Castle as a place of leisure, and built the water and drainage system; in the 14th century, the D’Aquino family, at the time the feudal lords of Montella, renovated the 12th-century tower and commissioned the pictorial decorations. The rooms of the Castle have also provided accommodation for noble families and royalty: the hunting expedition organised by the Counts of Cavaniglia in the presence of King Alphonse V of Aragon is one example.

In 1527, the fortress was besieged by the troops of the French general Lautrec. It was seriously damaged and then gradually abandoned. Today, what remains of Castello del Monte are the walls, the cylindrical tower, the donjon (recently restored and now open to visitors), a semicircular tower and the ruins of the noblemen's rooms. During the 1980s, archaeological excavations were conducted inside the walls. The dig, led by Prof. Marcello Rotili for the History Department of the Federico II University of Naples, unearthed a necropolis. The grave goods are now kept at the Irpinian Museum in Avellino.

This multi-layered historic complex stands on a site that offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. It is an important religious and historic legacy not only for the local community but also for the whole of Irpinia. 

Today you can visit the Tower and the archaeological site.

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Montella, Italy
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Founded: 9th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

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