Rocca Calascio


The Village of Calascio


1200 metres above sea level, Calascio dominated the old L’Aquila-Foggia tratturo. Evidence of its previous wealth, based on the sheep-rearing business, can be seen nowadays in some interesting examples of civil and religious buildings, dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries; valuable 16th century and Baroque furnishings are to be found in the parish church and in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which belonged to the Franciscan monastery founded at the end of the 1 6th century. Above the village is the scenic Rocca Calascio with its important military stronghold that almost seems suspended in the sky. In 670 one of the ten richest wool-merchants of the Kingdom of Naples was a man from Calascio; in the Apulian Tavoliere, Calascio sheep-rearers had their area of Dogana-controlled grazing land at Casalnuovo, along with owners from nearby Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Carapelle Calvisio and San Demetrio ne’ Vestini. Sheep-farming activities survive nowa­days in milk production, with dairy products that are as weIl-known now as they were in the past.

Castle of Rocca Calascio


Situated in an area of outstanding landscape value, the stronghold stands on the highest ridge of the abandoned village of Rocca Calascio; the castle dominates the Tirino valley to one side and the Navelli plateau to the other and has always had the important function of watching over the L’Aquila territory tratturo route. The basic strategic function was originally performed by the central square tower, which was once an isolated structure, then, around the second half of the l5th century, after having been long in the hands of the barony of Carapelle, the fortification carne into the possession of the Piccolomini family, who built it up into the powerful castle we can see today. The ruins of the village lying below, once connected with the castle by a draw­bridge, now by a wooden bridge, are particularly scenic; traces of the village’s defence walls and towers can still be seen.

Church of Santa Maria dellaPietà


This elegant octagonal building, reputed Io be standing on the site of a former votive niche, was built in the late l6th century. The attractiveness of Is rounded shape, like other buildings found in Abruzzo from the 14th cen­tury on, is enhanced by its exceptionally panoramic setting, backed by the old abandoned village of Rocca Calascio, and overlooking the Navelli plateau, which is crossed by the ancient tratturo .The interior has an austere 16th century look, with a series of Tuscan pilasters and a domed roof in eight segments. Attached rather incoherently to one of the exterior facades is a simple building used as a sacristy. The church was one of the places of prayer on an old pilgrimage route.