What do Ladyhawke, The Name of the Rose and The American have in common besides being three fantastic films? They were all shot in Rocca Calascio in Italy’s central Abruzzo region.
The road that leads to this medieval wonder, although not very easy, offers a view that will be well worth the effort. To reach the castle you’ll need to climb up to an elevation of 1,460 meters, where a breathtaking panorama of the Tirino valley and the Navelli plateau await you. The scene that unfolds before you is straight out of a postcard with the blue sky merging with the intense shades of green and brown of the underlying valley.
Rocca Calascio’s castle, with its white, perfectly-shaped bricks, acquired its present appearance thanks to Antonio Piccolomini who provided the defensive wall and four towers that blend into the surrounding mountain as if they were natural extensions.
The fortress which dates back to the year 1000 became increasingly more important over the years since it also served the purpose of monitoring the pastoral migration of the sheep herds. Eventually, this led to the creation of a small village situated at the foothills at the base of the castle. Throughout history, the village was abandoned at one point and also destroyed by a series of earthquakes. The last and most devastating seismic event, dating back to 1703, caused considerable damage to the structure of the castle, which was abandoned until the early 20th century.
It was only at the end of the 1980s that the castle came back into the limelight when it began to be used as a setting for films set in medieval times.
The castle, which in the movie Ladyhawke houses the monk’s refuge, is accessible via a wooden ramp and can be visited entirely free of charge.
Rocca Calascio is a must-see location where time seems to have stopped. A treasure guarded by the great Gran Sasso mountain that even the National Geographic mentions as among the 15 most beautiful castles in the world.
Article and photos by: A. Falasca