Locations

B10 - THE CASTLE OF BERNALDA

The Medieval Castle, symbol of the town of Bernalda, was built in 1470 at the behest of Bernardino De Bernaudo, secretary to King Alfonso II of Aragon, who acquired the fiefdom.

With its quadrangular plan, the castle dominates the entire valley that extends from the Basento area to the Ionian Sea and the Metaponto plain. Of the three corner towers with the widest base compared to the top, two rounded ones suggest an Angevin/Aragonese matrix, while the square one is clearly Norman in origin.

Recent studies have identified an early settlement dating back to Norman times in the area where the Castle of Bernalda was built. It is thought that as early as the second half of the 13th century there was a castle in Bernalda, then called Camarda, built by a local lord and which, until 1246, at the behest of Emperor Federico II, was fortified to defend the fiefdoms in the surrounding area. From 1476 the citadel of Bernalda began to form and populate all around the castle, which in 1735 was occupied by the Spanish family of Barons Perez-Navarrete. In 1735, Carlo III of Bourbon stayed there, who wanted to visit the territories of his newly acquired kingdom, granting the small centre the title of 'City'.

Architecturally, the Castle of Bernalda is built from a base with a regular plan and corner towers, in the typical style of the late 15th century, although it has several successive stratifications and fortifications. In general, the width of the castle was reduced during restoration work, certainly before the 1700s, when four other towers that belonged to the original structure were also removed and can now be seen in the basement, which was used as storage space. In addition to other towers, the castle seems to have originally had a moat on the side facing the town. The entrance faced the square and was reached by means of a wooden drawbridge, which was replaced by a masonry one in 1745. It underwent several renovations, including by Pirro del Balzo, which over the centuries certainly reduced its size considerably. The remaining towers have visible fortifications both outside and inside. It is equipped with several tunnels (one of which reached the Basento valley) and has a peculiarity among medieval castles in southern Italy: the presence of no fewer than 14 water wells, a supply that could be used in the event of a castle siege. 

In 1999 the castle was bought by the Bernalda municipality from its former owners, the Caruso family, and from that moment on, a long process of restoration began that has not yet been completed. From the peeling of the plasterwork carried out over the years when the whole structure was used as a dwelling, many surprises have emerged that are leading to the rewriting of our history.

 

Contatti

Piazza Plebiscito snc

75012 Bernalda (MT)

+39 0835 540 214