Address: Via S. Magno, 1

Hours : No access and sometimes unsafe - following the earthquake of 2009

Description

Initially it consisted of a multi-floor, square, tower, around which was built the large fortress surrounded by high walls and two circular towers. Its defensive purpose, and that of providing refuge to the local population if besieged, gained, in addition, its residential function so much so that it took on the characteristics of a different type of building, as can be seen by the large well-lit, rooms, the kitchens with large fireplaces, the internal courtyard with a fountain, whilst maintaining its orignal, primitive nature.
The Gothic entry portal, presumably among the oldest parts of the building, still has the hinges of the original closing door.  It is surmounted by a niche with a male bust and the the Di Sangro emblem.  Higher up, in line with the doorway, there are traces of a machicolation opening. To the left, on a portion of the restored wall, is a tower with a clock while on the right, the facade which has been rebuilt, has arches supported by corbels.
The corresponding rear elevation has two towers separated by an uneven, sloping wall.  The oldest part is adjacent to the right-hand tower.  The middle section with the curb stone and the part on the left date back to different, but more recent, construction phases. The structure is on three levels - the main floor had a residential function, while the ground floor and the basement were service areas. Even now there are still storerooms, wells and brick tanks for storing oil, grain and other commodities.
Internally, near the portal, there is a civilian construction while on the other side one can see the arches, now filled-in, probably belonging to a portico which perhaps led to the service rooms of the castle. We cannot accurately determine their function as even if the main floor has been preserved almost in its original form, the ground floor has definitely been altered.



Historical Notes

This imposing building, built in the upper part of the village on pre-existing Roman fortifications, dates back to the Middle Ages and is first mentioned in 1079. The history of the fort is linked to that of the Di Sangro family, the feudal lords of Bugnara, who lived there for centuries. There were various extensions and several changes to the building over the centuries, from as early as the 13th century right up until the 19th century. In the early 18th century the property was passed down to families who were related to the old feudal lords such as the Mariconda and then the Mormile families. In more recent times the castle was sold on to various different owners, mostly farmers, who adapted it to their own needs in order to make habitable units - which are no longer in use - and which compromised its original appearance. It is difficult to date the various stages of construction of the fort precisely. Various restorations, and the use of different styles and materials, have decisively transformed the structure, which was then further damaged by natural events. The earthquake of 1984, together with that of 2009 caused the collapse of a large part of the floor and compromised the stability of some of the nearby houses. The different stages of construction and its multiple uses, has meant that the structure has had various different names such as Rocca dello Scorpione (or maybe Castel Scorpione, the ancient name of Bugnara), Castello Ducale Medievale and the Palazzo Ducale of the Di Sangro family.