• Roccascalegna – Photo by Attilio Tauro

    Roccascalegna – Photo by Attilio Tauro
  • St. Pancrazio Church – an top of the rock

    St. Pancrazio Church – an top of the rock
  • SS. Cosima Church

    SS. Cosima Church
  • Stone stairs to reach the Rock

    Stone stairs to reach the Rock


The towering 14th century Roccascalegna Castle, rising on a rock of limestone, boasts a lurid and bloody history, with dark legends, hauntings and buried treasures.
The Castle is open to visitors only in July and August.

From the town you can enjoy an amazing view of Lake Bomba.

The castle legend

The most recent yet spiteful legend tells about the murder of the cruellest, devil-like, violent baron Corvo de Corvis, killed by the people of the village in his own castle.

The Baron Corvo de Corvis, who lived in 16th century, left a deep mark to the inhabitants of Roccascalegna; he never stopped exacting taxes of all kinds, obliging every person passing along the only road leading to the settlement passing via the main town road to kneel in front of a cage where a black raven was closed. Those who refused to pay homage to the bird were arrested and at times killed.

Many years of terror went by, and the baron, turning forty-five years old, decided to introduce the most hideous of medieval feudal customs, the “Jus primae noctis”, which obliged every newly-wed bride to spend her first nuptial night with the Baron. This unjust violent law deeply angered the parish priest, who protested publicly; the Baron then ordered his guards to punish the priest, and the poor courageous man was killed at the entrance of the village, while he was trying to escape.

This insane practice went on until one winter night a young bride stabbed the Baron in the heart while he was going to lay dawn on her. She fled away in panic, while the dying baron shouted horrible courses at her horrible curses. The baron’s son wanted to take revenge, but the Abbot of San Pancrazio could convinced him to abandon his bloody purpose.

The De Corvis legend ends with the “bloody Hand”. On the point of death, the Baron placed his bloody hand on the wall on top of his bed, where it said the mark remained until 27 January 1940. Many people tried to wipe the scarlet hand out, but as witchcraft this was always coming back as red as ever. It also said that during stormy nights, when the chilly Northern wind hits the merlons of the castle, and the door creaks, the ghost takes possession again of his ancient manor, and is compelled to repeat endlessly his tragic death, in the company of his faithful raven who disappeared with him.

Other things to visit

Immediately underneath the Roccascalegna castle stands the San Pancrazio Abbey, whose entrance is welcomed by a magnificent stone frame portal built in 1205. Established by Benedictine monks in the ninth century AD as a dependence San Liberatore a Majella; in 1176 Pope Alessandro III signed a Bull that moved the Abbey to the jurisdiction of San Giovanni in Venere.

In the mid-16th century the Abbet was abandoned by the monks, probably after a famine or plague, and later became a monastery of the Agostinian order.
In the mid-19th century, restoration works allowed to uncover Abbey’s pristine splendour and beauty.

Sightseeing & escursions

What to see in

  • The ruins of the eponymous fortress
  • St. Pancrazio Church, and the ruins of a thirteenth-century abbey
Read more 

Further reading about

An interesting article about Roccascalegna can be found on Life in Abruzzo.

Google Maps

Map & car route to

We thought to make your life easier, and we have provided the itinerary from Villa Ducale straight to Roccascalegna. The journey will let you drive for about 25 miles passing through different villages of priceless beauty.

Click to open a google map

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