The Castle of Celano was presumably built in the fourteenth century at the behest of the Count of Celano, Pietro Berardi. The manor is called Piccolomini because in the 16th century Antonio Todeschini Piccolomini, nephew of Pius II, became its owner. The castle still stands majestic in the upper part to guard the city below. It is also characterized by solid square towers where it meets a happy synthesis of medieval and Renaissance elements and is home to the Museum of Sacred Art of the Marsica and the Torlonia Collection of Antiquities of Fucino.
Castello Piccolomini di Celano History
The Piccolomini Castle of Celano is located in the historic center of Celano dominating the plain of Fucino, in the territory of Marsica, on the place where probably Frederick II of Swabia, fighting with Tommaso Conte di Celano and Molise, built fortifications during the siege of 1223. These fortifications were almost certainly only works in wood and clay, but they marked the beginning of what would have been a massive fortification dominating the lake of Fucino in the following centuries.
The construction of the real castle began in 1392 at the behest of Pietro Berardi, Count of Celano, but already in the years between 1356 and 1380 his grandfather and later his father had fortified the Colle di San Flaviano erecting a system of walls with rectangular "shield" towers and building a square-shaped tower-keep. Pietro di Celano, therefore he built the first floor with quadrangular towers at the corners, integrating the tower-keep on the north-east corner. He also built the inner courtyard of the walls, providing it with a loggia with pointed arches still visible.
In 1451, following the marriage between Jacovella Ruggeri di Celano, nephew of Pietro, and Lionello Acclozamora, duke of Bari, the latter, become Count of Celano, continued the work of his predecessor, both integrating the external enclosure with the large semi-cylindrical corner towers on the north-east side and a triangular revolving with a wide cylindrical corner tower towards the citadel, both adding the main floor of the castle proper with the walkway and the four corner towers up to the present height. Lionello also worked to strengthen the walls of the fence increasing its thickness to be able to withstand the deadly gunpowder bombards that had been invented in those years.
In 1463 Antonio Todeschini Piccolomini, nephew of Pope Pius II was invested in the Celano County by Ferdinando I of Naples. He resumed the construction of the castle by adding additions and architectural decorations that transformed the manor into a fortified noble residence.
In 1591 Camilla Peretti, sister of Pope Sixtus V, bought the county from the Piccolomini. In 1647 the castle was involved in the revolt of Masaniello against the Bourbons, being occupied by the rebels led by the baron Antonio Quinzi de l'Aquila and supporting a long siege by the royal troops.
Since December 2014, the site has been managed by the Abruzzo Museum Complex and in 9 rooms of the castle is housed the Museum of sacred art of the Marsica, where the major artistic expressions of the region of painting, sculpture, jewelery and weaving from the VI are presented to the eighteenth century.