The Bourbon prison-castle of Montefusco is a site of historic interest, situated in the square that takes its name.

 The town was chosen as an ideal place to build an unconquerable fortress, due to its elevated position. With a quadrangular floor plan and surrounded by a curtain wall, the castle was extended by the Normans and between the 12th and 13th centuries it became one of the most important and strategic Norman strongholds. The structure has been adapted and altered many times: Frederick II elevated the building to the status of Imperial Castle, after carrying out various restoration works. Following the Angevin domination, the Castle passed to the Aragonese when it was converted into the seat of the Appellate Court of the Province of the Ultra Principality, of which Montefusco became the capital in 1581. Under Ferdinand II of Bourbon, in 1851 the former Castle was converted into a political prison to hold the anti-Bourbon Patriots. It became notorious for the harsh treatment, torture, terrible conditions and suffering inflicted on prisoners. For these tragic reasons it is also known as “The Spielberg of Irpinia”.  Following the unification of Italy, the building became a district prison until 1923 and it was declared a national monument in 1928.

 The boundary walls – which are fairly thin – were intended to reinforce the ramparts on the rock face on which Montefusco had been built. Access to the town centre was through three gates: Porta Canale, Porta Tezza and Porta San Bartolomeo. The northern part of the structure was excavated from the rock. Still visible today are the cobbled paving, heavy doors and ironwork including the “puntale”: a large ring embedded into the wall or floor, to which the prisoner would be chained. Near the entrance was the “vaglio” or observation area, which only those prisoners convicted of minor crimes would be allowed to enter, during the recreation hour. The cells are arranged along two opposing corridors. To the left, a square stone staircase led to the upper floor, where the cells were dark and cramped. Another staircase led to the most isolated part of the prison, the lower wing, where the high barred windows only let a weak beam of light into the large room.

 Today the prison-castle is the municipal seat, and is also used to stage events such as exhibitions, conventions and cultural happenings.

Comune di riferimento
Piazza Castello, 9/15, 83030 Montefusco AV, Italia
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dalle 15:30 alle 17:30

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Castello-Carcere Borbonico di Montefusco

Piazza Castello, 9/15, 83030 Montefusco AV, Italia

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Logo Provincia Avellino

Project financed and implemented with funds from the Province of Avellino


Indirizzo sede legale
Ufficio Infopoint
Piazza Libertá 1 (Palazzo Caracciolo), 83100 – Avellino
C.F. 80000190647

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