Behind the colossal Carolino Aqueduct it hides the little brother of the Maschio Angioino of Naples. We are talking about the Durazzano Castle, a medieval fortress that still stands proud today among the houses, the cultivated fields and the narrow streets of an ancient rural village in the province of Benevento, but which is actually very close to Caserta.

Its architecture was indeed inspired by that of the original Castel Nuovo in Naples and has preserved its forms, since he has never known the Aragonese restructuring of the latter.

The history of Durazzano

Durazzano probably takes its name from Oraczanum: this term appears in 1311 and is almost certainly the distortion of Horatianum. In short, we are faced with a classic predial toponym of Campania, such as Marano, Pomigliano, Gragnano and many others.
Others believe that the name has been mangled into "Durazzano" due to the fundamental presence of Charles III of Durazzo, the king of Naples who had our castle built right here during the bloody battles that involved him for the conquest of the throne of Naples.
In fact, he went down to Italy to avenge the death of Andrew of Hungary at the hands - perhaps - of Queen Giovanna herself.

Durazzano Castle

And here we are in front of the entrance of the Durazzano Castle. Hidden by the houses and very narrow streets, you begin to see the first tower only when you are close to the structure: is still surrounded by a moat today, which was once filled with the waters of the nearby river and had two purposes: it provided water to the inhabitants of the town and defended the inhabitants in case of an enemy siege.

Let's look at it carefully: we are faced with a castle built on the model of the then very young Maschio Angioino of Naples which, to tell the truth, was particularly common in those times: a square-shaped fortification with four towers on either side. Once preserved frescoes and friezes of noble families, but over the centuries almost everything has been lost. Even today it is inhabited by the descendants of the ancient feudal lords of Durazzano.

Castello di Durazzano
Durazzano Castle

Kings and great guests

Little Durazzano saw in its history several guests of honor. The first was precisely Charles I of Anjou that, during the war to conquer the throne of Sicily against Manfredi, she stationed in these parts with his troops waiting to invade Naples. We will find a hundred years later Charles III of Durazzo he too busy in the umpteenth battle for the conquest of the capital of the Kingdom.
For centuries then we will find feudal lords of the most important families of Naples: from the d'Aquino to the Carafa, without forgetting the Caracciolos and the Gargano. The latter will be remembered for their despotic management of the territory and for the only siege of the castle: on the occasion of the Masaniello revolt, in fact, the citizens they stormed the fortress to drive out the masters.

But let's go to new and modern times: once identified the unusual resemblance between the original Maschio Angioino and the Durazzano Castle, came here in person Alexandre Dumas father. It was 1828, under the reign of Francis I of Bourbon, and the French writer sought inspiration for the settings of his novel "Giovanna di Napoli", dedicated to the intrigues and crimes of one of the first queens of Europe who he lived right in the Maschio Angioino.
He found his answer right in the Castle of Durazzano: far from the upheavals of the world, in fact, the fortress never knew the Aragonese restructuring of the Castel Nuovo and, like an old aunt who meets again after a lifetime, it allowed him to learn about memories and visions of the past that we would otherwise have forgotten.

-Federico Quagliuolo

References:
Pro Loco DURAZZANO - The Association (tiscalinet.it)

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