The Rocca San Felice Castle was built on a rocky spur by the Lombards to support a defensive strategy against the Byzantines and for surveillance purposes, following the struggles for the possession of the Duchy of Benevento, which was split from the Principality of Salerno after the dispute. Collapses and damage caused by the natural disasters that befell the place have considerably altered the fortress's structure, which has undergone several changes and additions over time. The works initially emphasised its defensive purpose, such as the construction of the southern bastion, and later enhanced its residential purpose, with the construction of the Palatium and a building for residential use. Over time, the 'Rocca' lost both functions, ultimately becoming a simple blacksmith's workshop, until it was gradually abandoned and emptied.
Of the entire fortified area, the following are still visible today: the gateway that permitted access to the structure and which is now located at the entrance of the De Antonellis-Villani Palace on Piazza San Felice; the surrounding walls; and the Donjon (or cylindrical tower), which served as the fulcrum for the entire structure and with which the Castle is still identified. Built in the 12th century with a diameter of ten meters, it was constructed using a technique known as 'a sacco', in which two stone curtains forming the internal and external façades are filled in. The structure had four levels: the first level contained the cistern, still visible today; the second was used as a kitchen, as can be deduced from the presence of the well and the oven/fireplace; and finally, the third and fourth levels housed rooms with residential structures. On the top of the Donjon, there was a roof used as a lookout point, built in such a way as to collect rainwater and convey it to cistern on the first level.
Although it has lost its dual defensive and residential function over the centuries, the Rocca San Felice Castle still stands proud today over the Irpinian village and the splendid Valle d'Ansanto.References:
La Hougue Bie is a Neolithic ritual site which was in use around 3500 BC. Hougue is a Jèrriais/Norman language word meaning a \'mound\' and comes from the Old Norse word haugr. The site consists of 18.6m long passage chamber covered by a 12.2m high mound. The site was first excavated in 1925 by the Société Jersiaise. Fragments of twenty vase supports were found along with the scattered remains of at least eight individuals. Gravegoods, mostly pottery, were also present. At some time in the past, the site had evidently been entered and ransacked.
In Western Europe, it is one of the largest and best preserved passage graves and the most impressive and best preserved monument of Armorican Passage Grave group. Although they are termed \'passage graves\', they were ceremonial sites, whose function was more similar to churches or cathedrals, where burials were incidental.