An impregnable fortress even by the Turks of Dragaut Pasha, the Castello di Roccella Jonica (“Castle of Roccella Jonica”), built by the Swabians in the 13th century, is one of the most important defence points in Calabria overlooking the sea. In 1700, it was restored by the Carafa family, thus becoming an elegant residence of magnificent beauty.
The fort’s intact charm
If the restoration of the Carafa family has abandoned completely the fortresss, because they were considered to be of minor importance, the Castle we can admire today is, yes, a noble residence, but does not lose the charm of the stronghold. Born as a manor in the Angevin era, it has a quadrangular plan, inside which there is a small square courtyard. It then extends over three floors, connected by two different stairs: the smaller, spiral shaped, and the other spacious with two ramps that we can find at the very entrance on the left. The spiral staircase can be reached from the inner courtyard, thanks to a portal. We therefore distinguish two parts: a superior one where there were the private apartments of the princes and a lower one, which looked directly onto the courtyard, used for the kitchens and all the servants.
DID YOU KNOW THAT …?
If you look up towards the lithic portal, you can recognize the emblem of the Carafa della Spina princes that are still intact!
A castle elegant vestiges
What stands out among the ruins, however, is the monumental balcony with carved and pictured shelves, called mascaron, which can be admired shortly after passing the entrance portal. The inner courtyard mentioned above serves to enrich the palace itself: it is cobblestone and has eight star-shaped channels. Inside we can distinguish a well, embedded in the wall that leads to the spiral staircase. Connected to the castle through a small courtyard there is also Chiesa Matrice of San Nicola di Bari (“The Matrix Church of San Nicola Di Bari”), which the Carafa accessed directly inside.