THE CASTLE

The Castle Dentice di Frasso of Carovigno, probably founded by the Normans, is located near the historic centre of the town, on a promontory overlooking the entire coastline. It stands out for its peculiar triangular shape - assumed during the 16th century - and the presence of fortifications at its vertices: the square tower, the round tower and finally the lanceolate tower, also known as the 'almond tower'. The latter tower was probably designed under the influence of the famous military architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini, whose presence in Apulia is attested at the end of the 15th century, to supervise the construction of several strongholds.

 

From the 17th century onwards, when the need for defence disappeared, the castle began to take on the characteristics of a noble residence, thanks to the noble families that owned it: among them, the Caputo, Serra, Costaguti, Castaldi, Granafei and Imperiali families. The rooms were adapted for this purpose by opening doors, windows and balconies: one example is the elegant balcony that dominates the south façade of the castle, built during the 18th century, using 'Carovigno' limestone, known as 'gentile', which is soft and easy to work and whose characteristic light colour gives it a fascinating light.

 

The noble Dentice family from Frasso (a small town in the province of Benevento, in Campania) acquired the property in 1791. When Counts Alfredo Dentice di Frasso and Elisabetta Schlippenbach received it as a wedding gift, the castle needed a major renovation, which was entrusted to the engineer Gaetano Marschiczek in 1906. He did not limit himself to restoring the existing building, but created new spaces, integrated them and enriched the entire building with decorations and sculptures that concealed cultured and refined messages. Moreover, at the Countess's wish, the Castle was endowed with an extraordinary park in which the play of symmetry and proportion imitated, albeit on a smaller scale, those of the sumptuous European royal palaces. To provide easy access, an undercroft was created, which is still visible today, linking the garden adjacent to the Castle with this larger appendage and the adjoining botanical garden.

 

In 1926, to revive the town's economy, the Counts Dentice di Frasso turned some of the premises into a spinning and weaving school, which operated until 1955 and produced valuable fabrics that were appreciated all over the world. When Counts Elisabetta and Alfredo died in 1938 and 1940 respectively, their grandson Luigi Dentice di Frasso was appointed heir and lived there with his family until 1961.

 

Between 1909 and 1961 the castle was frequented by illustrious guests, including the scientist Guglielmo Marconi and King Umberto II di Savoia of Italy.

 

In 1961 Count Luigi sold the Castle to the Opera Nazionale per la Protezione della Maternità e dell'Infanzia (National Society for the Protection of Motherhood and Childhood). In 1973 it became the property of the Province of Brindisi. Granted to the Municipality, today it is a splendid cultural container, the site of numerous events, which houses the "S.Morelli" Municipal Library within its walls.

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SEGRETE

Il Castello è dotato di ambienti sotterranei che si sviluppano per una lunghezza di circa 17,90 metri, a circa 4,80 metri dal piano calpestabile. Si tratta di antiche prigioni, probabilmente di origine normanna, a cui si accedeva attraverso delle botole. Nel corso del restauro avvenuto nel XX secolo, le celle destinate ai prigionieri sono state eliminate. Lungo il corridoio, largo poco meno di 2 metri e alto circa 2,50, sono state poste, già a partire dal XVIII secolo, delle vasche rivestite in pietra per il deposito di olio e di neve.

SEGRETE

Il Castello è dotato di ambienti sotterranei che si sviluppano per una lunghezza di circa 17,90 metri, a circa 4,80 metri dal piano calpestabile. Si tratta di antiche prigioni, probabilmente di origine normanna, a cui si accedeva attraverso delle botole. Nel corso del restauro avvenuto nel XX secolo, le celle destinate ai prigionieri sono state eliminate. Lungo il corridoio, largo poco meno di 2 metri e alto circa 2,50, sono state poste, già a partire dal XVIII secolo, delle vasche rivestite in pietra per il deposito di olio e di neve.

DUNGEONS

The Castle has underground rooms that extend for a length of about 17.90 metres, about 4.80 metres above ground level. These are ancient prisons, probably of Norman origin, which were accessed through trapdoors. During the 20th century restoration, the prisoners' cells were removed. Along the corridor, which is a little less than 2 metres wide and about 2.50 metres high, stone-lined basins for storing oil and snow were placed as early as the 18th century.

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HERALDRY

The castle houses numerous heraldic arms, belonging to the families of the feudal lords who succeeded one another over the centuries. Some of them were composed by expert stonemasons during the restoration carried out between 1906 and 1914 to honour the history of the Castle, while others are period pieces. Among the latter, the arms of the Loffreda family stand out, present on the corner of the almond-shaped tower, on a lunette pedestal of the vault on the ground floor of the round tower and, in the "double" version, on the crossbeam of the entrance to a small oratory in the Hall, together with those of the Tomacelli family.

 

Arms made in the 20th century include those of the Di Sangro, Serra, Costaguto, Orsini, Granafei, Caputo and Chotek families (a tribute to Count Alfredo's mother, Luisa Chotek di Chotkova). The coat of arms of the family of Countess Elisabetta Schlippenbach can be found on one of the two columns at the entrance of the castle, on the fireplace in the great hall and on the crossbeam of one of the entrances of the noble floor.

 

The coat of arms of the Dentice family is located at the main entrance to the castle and also bears a Latin motto: Noli me tangere, that is “do not touch me”. The coat of arms has also been reproduced on one of the sides of the arched veranda, on the crossbeam of one of the entrances to the main floor and is also magnificently present in the centre of the floor of the great hall, as well as on the fireplace in the same room.

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Info and contacts

 

castellodicarovigno@gmail.com