Abruzzo, Italy: the ruins of San Pio delle Camere Castle
The castle of San Pio delle Camere, today a ruin, is clinging to the slopes of Monte Gentile, looking out from the mountain to control the valley below and the area corresponding to the famous Tratturo Magno, which connected L’Aquila to Foggia. The fort was located upstream of the village and initially served as a refuge for the surrounding populations and for their livestock, in cases of greater danger.
The first information about the castle dates back to 1173, when it was a fiefdom of the barons from Poppleto. The structure, given the strong slope, had to be built according to the stepped technique. If, on the one hand, this constituted an element of obstacle for the defenders themselves, on the other hand, the impervious disposition guaranteed a very advantageous position towards possible attackers.
The original structure has been remodeled several times over the centuries. An example can be found in the walls that are raised in the context of works probably referable to the XIV century. What today appears before our eyes is what remains after the assault of Braccio da Montone (a condottiere, soldier of fortune and Italian politician) in 1424, which likewise involved the fort of Barisciano, not far away. It is still not clear if the castle, a long feud of the Caracciolos (a lineage that boasted a Byzantine origin), as well as representing a place of defense and refuge, was also a permanent residence in the Middle Ages.