Roccascalegna, from legend to cinema
Roccascalegna is a town in the province of Chieti, in Abruzzo. The first record of its existence dates back to the 12th century: it was a Langobardic outpost, before falling under the rule of the Franks, Normans, Angevins, House of Aragon and finally, starting in the 16th century, passing from one aristocratic family to the other, including the Carafas.
Roccascalegna is also the name of the town’s castle: a stronghold built by the Longobards to fend off raids from Byzantium, and a spectacular fortress overlooking the valley of the Rio Secco. The castle became the headquarters of the National Guard after Italy’s Unification started a daily war against widespread banditry in the Central and Southern regions of the peninsula.
Roccascalegna is also a legend involving Baron Corvo de Corvis, one of the castle’s owners over the centuries. It is said that in 1646 he introduced the so-called “ius primae noctis” in his estate, which eventually got him killed by one resentful husband.
Finally, Roccascalegna is “Sottovoce”, written and directed by artist Claudio Pazienza, born in Abruzzo and now living in Belgium. The film is a modern fairy tale and an ethnographic documentary at the same time, and includes an enigmatic character called Count De Corvis, a new incarnation of the legendary domineering lord.
Roccascalegna is all of this and much more, and first and foremost remains a beautiful place to visit.