Fortifications and castles


Fortifications : defensive elements

Elements of military architecture and defence installations are usually clearly recognisable only in those fortifications which, once the specific need that determined their construction ceased, were abandoned, rather than in those which were transformed and adapted to new defensive requirements. The donjon, usually square, less commonly circular, is found only in some cases, though its elements can frequently be recognised in the central nucleus of a castle. This nucleus often represented the pole of attraction for later additions. Square or circular towers are numerous: they are either isolated or integrated in a system of linear defences (city walls, castle enceinte). The surviving enceintes often appear greatly transformed as a result of the occupation of once empty areas next to the walls. Moats survive only in rare cases, when they are hard to eliminate because of the natural conformation of the terrain. Drawbridges and access ramps are even more rare (they often date back to more recent times). Entranceways, occasionally unaltered but more frequently modified, are at the level of the first floor. Walls are often reinforced by escarpments which sometimes represent later additions that can seldom be dated with certainty. Ramparts are associated, in most cases, with the height of the walls and the asperities that an attacker would have had to encounter. Reinforcing jackets and added bodies are not rare, especially in buildings that have been adapted to new functions. Occasionally even the outcrops of rock and quarry faces on which the castles perch have been jacketed.
Battlements are frequent but difficult to date, as are generally all the higher sections like projecting elements and chemins-de-ronde. The case history of loopholes is ample and concerns both vertical and cross slits and the more frequent harquebus loopholes. Cannon ports are found only rarely and are designed for small calibre pieces since no castle in Molise played an important role in the modern wars.


Palata Castellerce



Macchia d'Isernia