Fortifications and castles


Fortified burgh of Vastogirardi    

Fortified burgh of Vastogirardi

The village, located 1200 meters above sea level near the Celano-Foggia sheep-track, not far from the source of the river Trigno, is surrounded by pasturelands. In the Longobard period the village was part of the terra Burellensis, whose chief town was Pietrabbondante. There are those who claim that the name of the village originates from the Norman name Girard, a condottiere who took part in the first Crusade.
The layout of the burgh is characterised by a wide central space with an approximately elliptical shape (it may originally have been used as a sheep pen) surrounded by very simple dwellings with roofs that slope towards the centre and with evident modularity of the buildings. The baronial residence, which can be dated back to a period subsequent to the origins of the burgh, and the later curtain towers, were integrated in this complex without altering its nature or balance. The buildings have very thick walls, capable of withstanding the thrust of the great vaulted structures on the ground floor. There are two entrances into the courtyard, diametrically opposing each other and situated at different levels to facilitate the runoff of rainwater. The layout of the burgh is rendered even more unusual by the presence of the church of Saint Nicholas which has a sturdy, squat bell tower flanked by a loggia; these buildings project from the front line of the houses. 

A few kilometres from the burgh there are the remains of the small church of St. Angel, which dates back to the early Middle Ages and was erected on an Italic temple. Cyclopean walls can be seen on the mountains surrounding the village.

Fortified burgh of Vastogirardi