Imperial of Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi

Castle Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi, built on the hill north of the town center, overlooking the valleys Ofanto and Fredane. Its location has made over the centuries, a strategic point of control and administration center.
The first signs of the presence of a structure for defense date back to the Lombard period, when the building took on the character of fortress with walls: immediately military outpost and important observation, became the fulcrum of the town began to grow around it.
It is in Norman times, however, that the Lombard fortified garrison was built and expanded in a building more in keeping with the idea of ​​the castle. Was erected the tower quadrangular (donjon), whose function was to last defense in case of external attack, the containments were reinforced soil and created new service areas that redrew the perimeter of the manor. In this same period, under Pope Gregory VII, it was established the local diocese.
From the eleventh to the fourteenth century, the castle of Sant’Angelo was used as a control on the roads crossing the valleys below, and after some changes in the properties of some local families, the castle was acquired in the early fifteenth century by Caracciolo.
At the behest of the famous family of Naples, and yet because of seismic activity, the castle took the appearance of a noble house; the main building went up to the area of ​​the tower, the building was equipped with an elegant porch Mannerist and various works of consolidation renewed the building installation weakened by time and natural upheavals. The Caracciolo administered residence of Sant’Angelo to the death of the last heir, Catherine, took place at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
After unsuccessful initial attempts, the county of Sant’Angelo was bought in the following century by the Genovese family of Imperial, which apportarono the new structure changes, such as those relating to the use of the tower, whose first floor was used as a prison cell, and to the outside wall where previously was the main entrance.
In the nineteenth century, the castle returned to the public domain property, and by that time it was used as headquarters of the prison and the court until the fatal earthquake of 1980, which caused serious damage to the entire complex.
Following the restoration began in the mid- 80s showed the ruins of an ancient basilica within the perimeter castellare : this is clearly the first cathedral of Sant’Angelo , built between the eleventh and twelfth centuries . Excavations have unearthed a three aisles , various architectural components and a beautiful baptismal font from the Romanesque period . The work of restoration and archaeological surveys have also succeeded in tracing in numerous artifacts , burials and various other elements that have contributed to a better understanding of the ancient history of the manor .
Today the site – monument of Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi retains an elegant building with part of the old porch decorated with bas-reliefs , the square tower , the remains of the basilica , and the containment structures and horsewoman .

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