Roccacasale is a mountain center of the Valle Peligna situated in the middle of the Appennino Abruzzese castled on the slopes of Monte della Rocca. The center built on the naked rock extends toward the valley below, enjoying a lively sunny position.
Roccacasale is surely the most characteristic village in the Valle Peligna and a place where tourists cannot help but take photographs in memory of it.
The origin of the architectural structure of the actual village has its seeds in an ancient locality called Casali, a small settlement with few inhabitants before 925. Following the construction of the Castle, the inhabited area assumed, after sometime, the typical closed structure of the medieval suburb; the castle, united with the dwellings, formed a whole complex and was accessible from four doors of which the presence is still evident, even if, with the passing of centuries, the country developed out of its ancient settlement, denaturalizing the primitive perimeter and the primitive urbanistic structure of which there are still evident traces. The highest part of the village, that is the ancient suburb, has the inside roads constructed in a radial sense, with the castle in the center. These roads have the aspect of ramps or gradines alternated by level transversal passages. Inside the ancient suburb, among the various typical structures (structures that for the most part have gone lost forever bringing away important testimonies of the past) there stands the church of San Michele Arcangelo (consecrated in 1579, though the first foundation is even more ancient) and rests of the Baronial Building.
The Baronial Building was built next to the church in a more recent epoch compared to the castle. Of the ancient block, because of negligence, few meaningful rooms remain.
With regards to the doors of access to the ancient suburb, it has been possible to deduce that two of these, the Door “Sotto la Chiesa” situated in via San Michele and the Door “Gerone” were the two city entries. The other two opened onto the valley instead, one called the Door “Mazzamorello”, of which remain only square door posts without lintel facing the mountain, in the as you say “valley of hell” the other door called the “Door of the Valley”, gave access to the numerous fields cultivated along the slopes of the hill down to the foot of the village.
Nevertheless the best description of Roccacasale, a fascinating place soaked with uncommon ingeniousness, was left to its descendents by the poet roccolane Cesare Torelli, an autodidactic artist, in his intense verses:
“Bella, assolata e gaia la
sotto l'usbergo del Castello antico,
spande alla valle assorta, al verde aprico
dolce armonia che nel cuor rintocca…”