Civitella del Tronto, Abruzzo
"The Last Fortress"
The medieval borough is dominated by the Fortress, the northernmost Bourbon citadel in Italy, and the last to surrender to the armies of Vittorio Emanuele I in 1860. From the top of the Citadel it is possible to enjoy a spectacular view all around, the Montagna dei Fiori, Campli, Monte Ascensione and the Adriatic. Medieval re-enactment groups still keep high the memory of the fierce resistance of the fortress with a number of re-enactments during the year, among them medieval banquets in costume inside the fortress.*** Images by courtesy Comune di Civitella del Tronto
Civitella, as shown by archeological findings in the grottos of Sant'Angelo and Salomone, was inhabited since prehistoric times. In 1069 there is the first mention of the castle of "Tibitella" in a donation to the bishop of Ascoli. The medieval citadel dates back to the early XI century, and had its highest splendour under the Aragonese (15th century). It was always renowned famous for the resistance to any invading armies: In 1557 it withheld a long siege by François of Lorraine. In 1806 Dutch Commander Matteo Wade, resisted courageously before finally surrendering with all military honors. In 1861 the long Piedmontese siege ended after a massive bombing and mining of the fortress.
The medieval fortified borough, towering above the village surrounded by walls, is a unique example of medieval military Architecture in Abruzzo, and with a surface area of 25,000 square m is one of the largest in Europe. Among the many treasures to admire are the Romanesque Church of San Francesco, with a monastery which is now the seat of the Townhall; the 13th-century Church of San Lorenzo with the crypt of Beata Angiolina di Corbara, and the copper and silver processional cross of Sant'Ubaldo.
Then the Fontana degli Amanti (Lovers' Fountain), along the walk leading to the Fortress, the Porta Napoli, with on top the town's emblem with five towers, and the Monument to Matteo Wade, built by King Francesco I in 1829, in honor of the Dutch commander of the Fortress, who led the resistance of the town to French armies in 1806, and finally the Romanesque Santuario della Madonna dei Lumi, just outside the town walls, with a fine, wooden 15th-century sculpture probably by Giovanni di Blasuccio.
Civitella del Tronto