Arechi Castle – the impregnable stronghold of Salerno

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“Il Castello di Arechi: la storica inespugnabile fortezza salernitana” –summary
In his detailed article “Il Castello di Arechi: la storica inespugnabile fortezza salernitana”, which was published on our website a few days ago, journalist Michele Piastrella illustrated the history of Arechi Castle, the most representative monument of Salerno.
The purpose of this text is to sum up the information included in the original text.
Situated at an altitude of 300 meters above-sea level, the Castle lies on “Monte Bonadies” (Bonadies Mount), that is a little hill in the northern part of Salerno.
Arechi Castle was originally a Tower called “Turris maior”, which was probably established sometime around 500 AD by Byzantines.

In the 7th century, Lombards conquered Salerno (646) and Benevento, which was selected as the capital of “Langobardia Minor”. In 774, Lombard Duke Arechi II moved the capital to Salerno.
During his rule, Arechi II devoted a lot of time to strengthening the Castle.
After Arechi II’s death, Prince Grimoaldo (Arechi II’s son) merged the long walls of the Castle with the Six Gates of the City (“Porta Nocerina”, “Porta Respizzi”, “Porta Rateprandi”, “Porta Mera”, “Porta Elina” e “Porta Rotese”); from then on, Salerno began to be considered an “impregnable” city.
In “Historia Langobardorum” (787 AD), one of the main books about Lombard History, Lombard Historian Paolo Diacono said: “in Italy no city is as fortified as Salerno”.
In 1077, the Castle came under the control of Norman Prince Robert Guiscard (Robert de Hauteville) who made Salerno the capital of a large Principality.
In order to defend the “capital” from new military equipment (such as catapults and so on), Normans decided to further strengthen the walls of the Castle. They also built a loggia and the “Bastille” (a sighting tower), which is located on a hill nearby.
From Aragonese period onwards, the Castle became the actual residence of Salerno sovereigns.
In 1463, the Castle became the residence of Sanseverino House, a rich family from Naples, who ruled Salerno for ninety years (1463-1553).
They built a beautiful and large terrace, which is located in the southeastern part of the castle. The terrace, which allows visitors to enjoy breathtaking views of Salerno, is considered one of the most interesting sites of the castle.

In 1552, the introduction of Spanish Inquisition in Naples forced Prince Ferrante Sanseverino to rise up against the Spanish Monarchy; as a consequence, he was exiled to France.
From then on, the Castle slipped into decline.
After acquiring the Castle in 1960, the Provincial Administration of Salerno started restoration works.
Nowadays, the Castle houses a Multimedia Museum and an Archeological Museum hosting several finds, such as ancient coins, ceramic wares, glass objects and so on.
The Source Text is available at the following URL:
Matteo Autuori

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