The Castle

8 Mar

The Castle of Carlos V sits at the edge of the oldest district of Lecce. Built in intervals from the 12th to the 16th century, it is the elegant Angevin (French) Gothic architecture that characterizes the vaults, pillars and ornamentation of the Castle’s design.

Though this is a 14th century French architectural style it was designed in the 16th century by Gian Giacomo Dell’Acaya.

At that time the entire region of Puglia was under attack by the Turks. To meet the invaders the Castle was expanded and four massive bastions, each one in the shape of an arrowhead, were built on the four corners of the evolving structure.

The austere Gothic style is known for soaring vaulted ceilings, graceful arches, sculptural cornices and carved stone ornamental details.

A fresco still remains of the Castle’s wall art in fresh and vibrant color.

In the 14th century the family of Orsino Del Balzo kept a white polar bear in a moat surrounding the Castle, a medieval status symbol and deterent to wayward prowlers.

The Castle’s architect Dell’Acaya built many fortifications throughout Puglia. He was lauded for his gifts. Unfortunately he fell into debt and was incarcerated in the prison of the Castle he designed. He died there destitute.

6 Responses to “The Castle”

  1. leah george March 10, 2022 at 1:03 am #

    thanks to both of you. it looks so large! Tragic about the architect.

    • Jill and Dana March 10, 2022 at 8:37 am #

      The overall impression was massive and impregnable. There are castles throughout Puglia and many towns and villages are walled. It’s geography made it a strategic position for the dominance of the Adriatic and Ionian seas.

  2. Dede March 8, 2022 at 9:11 pm #

    How wonderful! And it looks like the polar bear is still there, only in a new body. Such a soulful face.

    • Jill and Dana March 9, 2022 at 8:45 am #

      This cat had the funniest meow. She talked to us the entire time we were near her. Italy is a kitty country. Every museum seems to have it’s own cat or cats. They sit in doorways and on balconies looking down and watching life go by.

  3. Derek Simmons March 8, 2022 at 2:12 pm #

    Thank you for sharing you journey. Your words and pictures bring Lecce to life for us.

    • Jill and Dana March 8, 2022 at 2:51 pm #

      So glad it helps you see this. Makes writing more fulfilling.

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