Fortifications and castles


Fortifications : functional elements

Most surviving military installations in Molise have been transformed and adapted to changing defensive requirements, and often made suitable for residential functions. The most common functional elements are the central courtyard and sometimes the square that fronts the main entrance, rainwater cisterns (more seldom wells), warehouses for equipment and stores (especially corn but also oil and wine), ovens and chimneys (for heating but especially for the kitchens), latrines, closets and built-in wardrobes, basement or underground rooms, residential rooms and, occasionally, the chapel. Underground or overhead walkways (the walkway that joins the palace to the chapel of S.Gennaro at Lucito is one example) were frequently built to connect separate buildings. The convention of situating the rooms reserved for the lord’s residence on the first floor, while the upper floors provided lodgings for the servants seems to have been followed. In the least altered buildings the functional elements typical of fortification architecture are still recognisable, though some of the original arrow slits have often been widened and transformed into windows. In some cases the old military structures, though “covered” with new plaster, flooring and false ceilings, still preserve unaltered all the characteristics of the original architecture. Investigation of ground-floor and underground rooms often disclose very interesting remains of old walls and evidence of stratigraphies of the upper levels that are of great documentary significance.