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Castello di Copertino

Copertino

The Museum

The Castello di Copertino, unusual in both its monumental size and its design, is an important example of Apulia’s Renaissance military architecture.

The History

Castello di Copertino

Castello di Copertino

The complex’s original core is its keep, which can be traced back to the military reorganisation undertaken by Charles of Anjou, who made the town of Copertino a county capital in 1266.
In the 1530s, Marchese Alfonso Granai Castriota, one of Charles V’s generals and feudal overlord of Copertino and its county, commissioned Apulian architect Evangelista Menga to modernise the castle. Menga incorporated the existing buildings in a quadrangular complex crowned with four massive corner bastions and surrounded by a wide moat.
In 1557 the fiefdom was purchased by the Genoese Squarciafico family, and it subsequently passed to the Pinelli and Pignatelli families and, in the 19C, the Granito di Belmonte.
The Castle was declared a National Monument in 1885 and it was acquired by the State in 1956.

The Building

Castello di Copertino - Gli interni

Castello di Copertino - Gli interni

The trapezoidal 16C building, crowned by four lanceolated corner bastions and surrounded by a wide moat, incorporates older features, dominated by the massive Angevin keep.
The main entrance is a splendid Renaissance gateway, decorated with rosettes, regalia, bas-reliefs and medallions which strike an unmistakable note of wealth and prestige.
The internal courtyard is surrounded by buildings from different eras, including the small chapel dedicated to St Mark with the tombs of the Squarciafico family, who held the Castle from 1557 and also commissioned the cycle of frescoes by local painter Gianserio Strafella which decorate the interior.
The parade ground contains a well and an arcade (built at a later date and carrying the crest of the Pinelli-Pignatelli family), the stables and the medieval galleries.
An outdoor staircase leads to the upper floor, which contains the 15C-16C apartments of the “old palace”, once the residence of the barons. Halfway up the flight of stairs is the Magdalene Chapel, with the remains of a cycle of frescoes which can be dated to the first half of the 15C.

The Collection

A tour of the Castle reveals the stages of its evolution, which reflect the progress in military techniques and the history of the local area from the medieval era to modern times, interwoven with that of the different families which succeeded each other as overlords of Copertino.
The cycles of frescoes in the two chapels are worthy of interest: late Gothic in the case of the Magdalene Chapel and Renaissance, with figures of saints and scenes from the Old and New Testaments, in the Chapel of St Mark.
The Castle also contains important archaeological finds seized by the Heritage Corps of the Carabinieri Police Force, and a small collection of Russian and Albanian icons.
In view of the size and layout of the rooms, the interior of the Castle is used to house temporary exhibitions, cultural events and congresses.

  • Monumental main gateway of the Castle

    Monumental main gateway of the Castle

    The magnificent gateway in Catalan-Albanian style decorated with alcoves, niches, medallions and military trophies commemorating the victories of Alfonso Castriota Scanderberg over the French.

  • Heraldic crest on the keep

    Heraldic crest on the keep

    The crest, on the eastern face of the keep, shows the coats of arms of the houses of Anjou-Albania and d’Enghien-Brienne.

  • Fresco in the Magdalene Chapel

    Fresco in the Magdalene Chapel

    Detail of the 15C cycle of paintings showing the Deposition of St Mary Magdalene.

  • St. Mark Chapel

    St. Mark Chapel

    The brightly coloured frescos were painted by local artist Gianserio Strafella in 1562; the chapel contains the tombs of Uberto and Stefano Squarciafico, by Lupo Antonio Russo, from Gallipoli

  • Monochrome Daunian jug with geometrical decoration

    Monochrome Daunian jug with geometrical decoration

    The jug, a product of the local Daunian culture (second half of 6C BCE) with the characteristic geometrical decoration marked out in brown, is one of the items recovered by the Carabinieri Police Heritage Task Force.

  • - Fragments of epistylium from a templon

    - Fragments of epistylium from a templon

    These three icon fragments from the Albanian school can be traced to the circle of Onufri (16C) and portray four Apostles and and the Evangelists Luke and Matthew in tempera

Address

Piazza Castello
73043 Copertino

Ownership

Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities

Tipology

Architettura fortificata

Info

Director: Filomena Barbone
+39 0832 931612
pm-pug.castellodicopertino@beniculturali.it
Planimetry

More info

Info

Timetables

Monday: 8.30 – 14.00
Tueseday: 8.30 – 14.00
Wednesday: 8.30 – 14.00
Thursday: 8.30 – 14.00
Friday: 8.30 – 14.00
Saturday: 8.30 – 14.00
Sunday: closed

Ticket office closing: 13:30

Other info: Sundays and holidays

Address

Piazza Castello
73043 Copertino

How to get here

The Castle is about a 15-minute walk from the railway station, served by Ferrovie del Sud Est regional trains (www.fseonline.it) linking Copertino to Lecce and the other towns in the Province. The nearest airport is Brindisi Casale, about 60 km away. Copertino is easily accessible by car on the S.S. 101 Lecce-Gallipoli highway (Copertino exit).

Contacts

+39 0832 931612
pm-pug.castellodicopertino@beniculturali.it

Full ticket

5,00 €

Reduced ticket

2,00 €

Accessibility

Access to the first floor is unrestricted and there are no architectural barriers since ramps and platforms are installed. The first floor and battlements are temporarily closed to the public.

Animals

Small pets are admitted only if properly under control; guide dogs are allowed.

Car park

Roadside parking is available in the vicinity.

Toilets

The building has disabled toilet facilities.