An Historic Castle
ANTICHE FORNACI D'AGOSTINO
A major town in the region that the Ancient Romans referred to as « Campania felix » or « prosperous Campania » for the fertility of the land, Sessa Aurunca is also one of the largest municipalities in the area with a territory extending from an altitude of 933 metres at S. Martino right down to the sea.
One of the most important monuments in the city, the castle is built from structural elements dating from the Roman period and with an original corpus from the Lombard period.
Rebuilt by the Normans against the city walls, it was remodelled by Frederick II who increased its defensive capabilities by adding new towers.
During the dominion of the Marzano family, which began towards the end of the sixteenth century, the castle was enriched with elements in a Durazzesco-Catalan style and converted into a ducal palace.
The castle is now undergoing a sophisticated renovation project commissioned by the municipal administration of Sessa Aurunca, the owner of the building.
The restoration project for such a multi-layered building, awarded to professor Rosa Carafa, required a meticulous study to preserve the former architecture, which consisted of an irregular layout with rooms located on two floors around a central courtyard, square towers and a robust keep. In the first-floor rectangular courtyard, a loggia runs along three sides, while the fourth is occupied by the hall with splendid Catalan double-lancet windows and the Norman donjon.
The municipal council intends to devote the entire ground floor to the Aurunca Archaeology and Civilisation Museum and to the Pinacoteca, or Picture Gallery, while on the first floor the spaces used for the public library will also house the Municipal historic archive and the ducal hall will host cultural events of various kinds. Last but not least, the garden will be used as an open-air theatre.
The project involves consolidating the building, restoring the original spaces and the ground-floor arcade, preserving the decorative elements discovered during the works and introducing a lift in compliance with legislation on eliminating architectural barriers.
The first phase of the work performed to date has involved completion of the large hall, which has now been restored to its original appearance following the demolition of the wall enclosing the grey tufa Catalan arch and the remodelling of the Catalan double-lancet windows. The floor was renovated using natural terracotta pavers from Antiche Fornaci D’Agostino, a historic Salerno-based company that introduced the process of industrialisation of old Neapolitan majolica. The product used for the project reproduces typical local artisan terracotta, replicating its irregularities through the application of glazes and colours on a special body consisting of selected clays and volcanic lava.