Arechi Castle

Arechi Castle

Based on texts by Strabo and Livio, De Angelis traced the castle back to the classical age and M.Fiore presented the same date, asserting that in the 3rd century BC. Rome fortified Salerno, formerly its colony, with a castle-Castrum-erected on top of Mount Bonadies "good morning", so-called because - being the highest part of the city - at dawn the sun rising from the east, lit up the first vertex.The medieval castle of Salerno contains three centuries of Lombard civilization (from the 8th to the 11th century). The results of the archaeological investigations in the perimeter of the Turris major have revealed that the most ancient building phase dates back to the Goth-Byzantine period. Arechi II, Lombard prince who transferred the capital of the duchy from Benevento to Salerno, chose the fortress as its fulcrum already existing, located 300 meters above sea level on top of Mount Bonadies. Arechi raised it and modified the ancient walls on pre-existing fortifications and built a castle "by nature and by impregnable art, not being in Italy a rock more equipped with it". In fact, on the hill of Salerno there had been, already in previous centuries, a general dating dating back to Roman times and witnessed by several archaeological finds and ceramic fragments. Therefore, at Arechi II it was necessary only to strengthen the manor, and to insert it into a more articulated urban defensive system. To the north-west stands the watchtower called the "Bastille" to highlight the validity of the defense system. In the most eminent part there are a series of towers placed around the central body and connected by crenellated walls and drawbridges. In the following epochs, extensions were added to increase the efficiency and functionality of the services.
The course of this fortification could also allow a reduced number of defenders, to assume a dominant position during the retreat towards the pinned vertex, in the case in which the adversaries had penetrated inside the urban enclosure. This is the exemplification of the Middle-Byzantine defense mechanism, normally employed for the cities located at the foot of a hill. In 1077 the "Castello di Arechi" was subtracted from Gisulfo II, the last Lombard prince of Salerno to become a Norman stronghold, functional to the penetration of the Nordic knights in the southern lands.Beniamino da Tutela (the Navarrese Jew Benjamin bar Jonah), in his Sefer Massa'ot or Libro dei viaggi, recalls how, in the XII century, Salerno was "surrounded by walls in the part facing the earth, while the other part is on the shores of the sea; at the top of the hill there is a well-equipped castle. "Later, the" Castello di Arechi "became an important element in the Aragonese defensive chessboard, only to gradually lose importance with the changing of the war techniques. It was almost completely abandoned in the nineteenth century.

For all information (timetables, prices, guided tours) visit the website: www.ilcastellodiarechi.it