Castello della Valle – Fiumefreddo Bruzio, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Castello della Valle

Fiumefreddo Bruzio, Italy

The ruins of this medieval castle now stand as a monument against all wars. 

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The small hamlet of Fiumefreddo Bruzio is located on the western coast of Calabria, among the hills and mountains that characterize the hard-to-traverse region. A tower was constructed on one of these hills during the Lombard domination of the region and was later used by the Normans.

Between the late 12th and early 13th-centuries, when Calabria was ruled by the Kingdom of Sicily, the structure was expanded into a castle and became the property of various noblemen and feudatories. During the mid-16th-century, the castle was donated to Ferdinando De Alarçon-Mendoza, marquis of the Valle, and took its current name of Castello della Valle.

The new owner turned the castle into his residence, remodeling it according to the aesthetic canons of the time. The home was adorned with a large entrance portal in the style of the famous Michelangelo. New walls and towers were also added to the structure during this period.

Castello della Valle was used as a residence until the early 19th-century, when it became a hiding place for rebels opposing French rule in the Kingdom of Naples. Napoleonic troops sieged and destroyed the castle with cannon shots in early 1807, leaving it in ruins.

During the late 20th-century, restoration efforts were underway to recover the castle, with some areas painted by artist Salvatore Fiume. Today, the fortress still stands in ruins, and in 2006, it was declared a “Monument Against All Wars” by the municipality of Fiumefreddo Bruzio, the current owner.