The Place

Hometown’s origin name

It is supposed that the name comes from a popular custom which says that


Rocca= rocks              scalegna= scarenna (dialect way)

A steep cliff                                                   

Fortress on a steep side


The terrace steps is an original manufacture of 1705, and it has that shape to make easier the climbing of donkeys to the castle.


Wooden boards can evidence the fact that in past there was a draw bridge.

As soon you get inside where there is the balcony, originally there was the Baron’s apartment, with a circular shape, starting from the balcony and arriving untill the main entrance, elevating above for three floors. Unfortunately it collapsed the Night of Christmas in 1940 due to the earthquake. It was impossible to rebuild because all stones were stolen by inhabitants who used those to build up houses after the war (Warld War II).

The first chief of Roccascalegna was Alfonso of Annecchini’s family, which he made rennovate the castle in 1500 to adapt it to the weapons. To testimony that there is an incision on the stone against the wall along the small stair, where there’s written “AL” (Alfonsus).

Subsequently him, at the beginning of 1600 the “CORVO” got the throne, to them belong the “hand’s blood”. Annibale Corvo (known as “Corvo de Corvis”, in Italian language Corvo=Crow, because he used to keep a Crow at the door entrance, and if the bird croaked, it was not allowed to enter in the castle). He brought back the law of “jus primae noctis” (the right of first night): any woman the got married in Roccascalegna, had to spend the first night of wedding  with the Baron. The only alternative to avoid that was to pay a very expensive duty, quite impossible to be paid by poor inhabitants because most of them were farmers. The legend says that “Corvo de Corvis” was killed by a man that dressed up as woman and stabbed him in the marriage bad while they were having sex, then throwing him down to the cliff. So before he fell down to the cliff, he touched the stone with his bloody hand. Also the legend says that after anytime the mark was canceled, it would have reappeared by itself.

 After “Corvo’s” happened “the Nanni’s” that abandoned the castle at the middle of 1700. In fact, the last discendent of the family “Guido Croce Nanni” (he has been teaching Medioeval History in one of the wealthy University in Italy “ La Sapienza” in Rome) in the 1980 donated the castle to the Roccascalegna City Hall.

It has known as that because during maintence job, in the floor down below were found anklets.

One more particularity is the only washroom present in the castle, the whole goes strict to the cliff, in the small cave was kept a backet of water to wash it up.

The prison is developed in two levels, the bottom for sentenced to death, the up floor for shorter sentencing.

In the main floor there was a living room, also seen as place of power where to have relax on others’ suffering.

This is an area poor of water, thus the Castle being a military fortress, it was subject to long assaults. So they deviced a clever system to collect rainy water. From roofs, the water goes underneath the ground, and through a pipe system, it converge in a small tank where there are river rocks to purify it and then in the well. In ancient times, in the well was put an alive eel to keep the water always clean.

This is the most ancient tower of the Castle. It was built around 1200 AC La torre che vediamo oggi fu edificata a inizio del 1200, and it is a smaller version of a bigger tower that was (1100 AC) on the actual “Belvedere”.

The Cross was placed by a strong, funny group of friends, in 2000 during the “Giubileum 2000” and it was carried to the place by hand (we talking about 500kg).

It has the same age as the Castle. Its foundation goes very deep than the street level, because before underneath it were buried dead people. The bells from 1500 were melted and re make again by the master of in a near hometown. Till a few years ago it was still ring by hand.


The actual ticket booth was originally the house of the sacristan. The last one was a man called Zi’ Fiore, in 50s remained famous because he had 29 children with 2 different wives and twin births.

Small historical notes:

Roccascalegna belonged to Borbonic empire (around 1860s), which mean the area was full of robbers (briganti), including of Michele Pezza, better known as “Fra’ Diavolo” (Sir. Devil). It seems that his band was composed at least by 3  D’Andrea’s.