Fortifications and castles


Defences along the river courses

The river valleys of Molise have always been the favourite routes for East-West penetration; these same valleys, though subject to geological instability, are now traversed by fast highways. Riverside roads represent the backbone of a larger network formed by intersecting thoroughfares: sheep-tracks and roads connecting towns and villages on the mountains or at the bottom of the valleys. Remains of bridges, or simply toponyms of erections that no longer exist, but also traces of fords, testify to a much richer system of roads that has all but disappeared. The mouths of rivers were areas of great economic interest for agricultural activities and because they constituted embarkation points; the mouth of the Fortore, for example, had a “caricatoio di grano con alcuni pochi magazzini[1] (Galanti, 1790). Control of the river courses required the construction and management of a system of coastal towers connected visually with each other and with towns located upstream. Their existence is testified by significant case histories, though often the old fortifications were incorporated in more recent settlements, at times with the function of dovecote tower. The valley of the river Trigno was controlled, on the seacoast, by the Celenza tower, and, along its course, by turrets serving as guardrooms. A number of towers survive along the river Biferno, usually located at mid-slope a short distance from the river, often next to the roads that led down to the river, near fords or the large number of “scafe”.

[1] “grain loader with a few storehouses”