Fortifications and castles


Art in the molisian castles

Unfortunately, due to a number of often dramatic events, the Molisian castles preserve few traces of the often rich decorations that once ornamented the interiors. The only building that still preserves evident signs of its ancient splendour is the castle of Gambatesa. The entrance hall and the rooms on the first floor, recently restored, present an exceptional cycle of frescoes depicting mythological scenes, representations of Virtue, landscapes with animals and trees, tondos with portraits of warriors, caryatids, torsos of archaeological sculptures and architectural elements. The frescos, by Donato da Copertino (1550), were commissioned by Vincenzo De Capua, Count of Termoli and Governor of Abruzzi, of the ancient house that had obtained the vast Molisian estates once held by the Monforte Gambatesa family.
A few traces of formerly rich interior decorations can also be seen in the castle of Venafro. Here, in 1523, by order of Enrico Pandone, a Neapolitan painter reproduced in certain rooms the nobleman’s favourite horses in painted life-size high relief.
Almost exclusively documentary, on the other hand, is the evidence of an important manufacturing plant established at the end of the Eighteenth century in the castle of Pescolanciano by Duke Pasquale D’Alessandro. A few rooms in the palace were set aside to accommodate a ceramic manufactory specialised in the production of earthenware and biscuit pottery. The latter objects in particular were very fashionable at the time and were produced exclusively by the Reale Fabbrica della Porcellana (Royal Porcelain Factory) of Naples. Unfortunately, the experiment failed after a short period for a number of reasons, and few specimens are preserved in various collections.