Civitella del Tronto Fortress
One of the most monumental and imposing military engineering works of Italy
Civitella del Tronto Fortress is one of the most monumental and imposing military engineering works in Italy, with its over 500 meters of length and its surface area covering 25,000 square meters. The importance of Civitella depended on the decision taken around the late 13th century by the Angevins – ruling Southern Italy – and by the Pope to position here the border between the Kingdom of Naples and the Papal States. Such position, together with the harsh nature of the territory, transformed the town into one of the most strategic areas to watch over the northern borders and customs.
The Fortress, built on a travertine rocky spur, dominates Salinello Valley, along the ancient border between the Papal States and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. During the Renaissance, it was a typical fortified citadel with five towers, imposing walls with patrol paths on the ramparts, and two donjons protecting the 13th century Eastern Gate on Piazza del Cavaliere. Despite the recent renovation works, the characteristic features of the Spanish fortress are still visible, with a long ramp leading to the citadel, the 1574 Governor's Palace, the 1604 St. James church, as well as the soldier's lodges, the warehouses, and the tanks in the surroundings. On the eastern side, the big Piazza d'Armi and the French troop quarters with the characteristic square plan.
Civitella was protagonist of many military events. However, the most popular one is the unsuccessful defense against the Piedmontese army of Vittorio Emanuele II, aiming at achieving the Unification of Italy. The garrison surrendered only on 20th March 1861, after that in Turin, 3 days before, the first national Parliament had been inaugurated. In order to cancel the historical memory of our country, the army of the House of Savoy began to dismantle the structure which, abandoned for over 100 years, was brought back to light after long renovation works started in the 1970s and completed in 1983, under the supervision of Soprintendenza BAASS of L'Aquila. The Fortress, with a modern and efficient welcome system for visitors, houses the Museum of the Weapons.