The road system

The castles

Castles, fortified enclosures, urban and extra-urban towers and non-military protected buildings in Molise bear witness to complex historical events originating from the absence of a strong central power and the mountainous territory. The castle, especially from the end of the 9th century to the beginning of the 11th century, exercises the double function of control and management of the territory. It is destined to have a strong influence on the settlement and production organisations of the areas that depend upon it. The castle, often rising on the location of a previous settlement, becomes the focal point around which villages are built, while the outer unprotected areas remain uninhabited. The Chronicle of St. Vincent Volturno (Chronicon Vulturnense) describes the region as inhabited almost solely by birds and wild animals, while the small population is concentrated in a few urban settlements and along the principal watercourses. This situation is destined to change with time, but the settlement dynamics continue to follow the same model characterised by a strong defensive structure. The Norman castle-building phenomenon is distinguished by the military and feudal nature, that lends to each defensive work the character of fulcrum of power in the territory, from which a series of military obligations derive.  

The great immigrations caused upheavals, especially in the regions that had previously constituted the peripheral provinces of the Roman Empire. Systems gathered strength, and the concentration in a few areas of strongholds usually located in naturally protected strategic positions became necessary.