Citadel: south

Via Sannitica spans the southern half of the citadel of Arpaia, running parallel to the Appian Way as well as Via Sant'Angelo and sided by a series of narrow, perpendicular alleys, leading to the walls (probably to some disappeared lane just beside them). This area is very likely to respect the original plan of the citadel.
At the eastern extreme of this street is Via Corte dei Cavalieri, namely the walk along the eastern wall of the citadel (now directly connected with the Appian Way). At the opposite end, instead, are the remains of the residence of the feudatories of Arpaia.
Via Corte dei Cavalieri Via Corte dei Cavalieri runs along to the eastern wall of the citadel. Only partial remains of this side of the walls lasted to the present day: the segment that can be seen in this picture is the only one still standing, together with its 4 towers. The one at the southern corner, facing the Appian Way, has been turned into a house (see the photos of the Appian Way); the other corner tower can be seen together with the southern wall (see below in this page); and one of the middle ones is only visible from private countryside.
The remaining tower is rectangular and, although modified, is still present now: an arch overpassing the street (pictured here) connects it with a building the other side. Originally this gate included the eastern door of the citadel, facing the Valle Caudina, and therefore directly reached by its main road. Due to plan modifications occurred in the 16th century, the modern Via Sant'Angelo instead reached this street a bit more downhill.
Via Sannitica towards west It would be hard to find traces of the original buildings along Via Sannitica: many of them have been heavily refurbished.
A porch, entering Vico dei Romani from Via Sannitica This is probably among the most ancient details of Via Sannitica. A portion of the southern walls at the bottom of Vico Fortuna
The square between Vico Fortuna and Vico Stella This small square is an open space along Via Sannitica which exists only because of the damages of the 1980 earthquake, which made it necessary to tear down a building between these two narrow alleys. The Mount Tairano is visible in the background. Roman stone inserted in the walls of a building I do not have any further information about this Roman sculpted stone. It has been inserted, turned upside down, into a wall in the same courtyard that features the stone portal of Francesco Gaudino. Portal of a noble house The sculpted stone portal, including a remarkable coat of arms picturing an eagle, is the only remaining piece of the front of this house. According to the inscription, it used to belong to some Francesco Gaudino, who probably lived in the 16th century and was a donor to the disappeared church of Sant'Agostino. He also promoted some restorations to another small church outside the walls, the Annunziatella. His grandson Berardo Andrea Gaudino was a priest, treasurer at the cathedral of Sant'Agata de' Goti. Ecclesiastical sources report that, four days after the latter died in 1638, his body and clothes began smelling miraculously good; it was decided to bury him within the Church of San Michele.

Marquises' Building


The Guevara noble family was the longest-standing descent of feudatories of Arpaia: they owned the feud since mid-15th century for roughly 2 centuries. They built their residence at the south-west corner of the citadel: at one end it included the biggest tower of the town walls, at the other one it reached out the town gate. This construction probably replaced a portion of walls that had fallen down earlier with an earthquake in 1456; it had a rectangular plan, with a courtyard in the middle.
Unfortunately, further earthquakes have half-destroyed the so-called Palazzotto, which has later been turned into a bunch of separated houses. Latest damages were the fall of some fine windows and a balcony, caused by a storm in 1974. Nevertheless part of the original building and courtyard—today called Piazzetta del Palazzotto—are still distinguishable, in particular the buttresses that held a walk upstairs, around the courtyard. L'antica Arpaia [Pro Loco Arpaia]

Main source for this paragraph.

Piazzetta del Palazzotto, formerly courtyard of the building The building in the bottom left is preserving a regular sequence of arches that delimited the doors at the ground floor, and held the overpass. The latter runs through a further sequence of arches. The building on the left probably does not respect the original plan of the building. Old house along Via Alfonso Ghevara The upper part of this building is modern, but the ground floor—probably a workshop—might have been part of the Palazzotto.
The three levels of the building The great tower of the wall system, bordering with the Palazzotto This is the best preserved tower of the whole system of the walls, and its most important one as well: it was meant as a small, autonomous stronghold. The circular building is strengthened by another, larger one at its base, which probably marks the retaining wall of the moat that surrounded the town walls.
Nowadays the whole tower has been covered with plaster; and a further residential building has been built at its base, facing Via Delle Grazie.
The overpass, running under the buttresses of the courtyard
Getting out of the citadel and following Via delle Grazie, we reach a plateau called Corte dei Cavalieri (Knights' Court), the only place where the walls of the citadel can be appreciated from outside: some distance here has been kept between them and some popular housing, built more uphill. Here the rubble carried by the rain from Mount Castello not only entirely filled this trench, but also buried the walls themselves for a 2 metres' height; but their upper half can still be admired.
Overall view of the southern town wall It is quite evident from this picture how the citadel (behind the wall) has a ground level much lower than the one of Corte dei Cavalieri outside the walls, and therefore, how much the walls contributed to stop the rubble coming down from Mount Castello. The great tower at the south-western corner, i.e. the one at the bottom, is evidently prominent on the others. In the background, on the left, is the Sanctuary of Madonna delle Grazie.

Town walls: south side

Mura della città: lato sud

This is the portion of the walls that gives the clearest view of their overall structure. It has two circular towers at the corners (one of the two being the great tower, independent from the wall), and 3 intermediate towers: a short squared one, and 2 higher semicircular ones between the latter and the corner towers. The northern wall along the current Appian Way, now entirely disappeared, is believed to have had a similar structure.
The walls are built with irregular lime stones and tuffs, organized into rows and glued using a mixture of cobblestone and mortar.
The walls have been partially altered by interventions during the centuries. The top portion of their whole perimeter has been lost: in particular an elevated walk, that surely used to run along the whole system for the watch to be effected; and possibly the battlements. Le antiche mura [Pro Loco Arpaia]

Most of the information about the town gate (in the page about the norther half of the citadel), as well as the remainder of the walls of Arpaia, comes from this page. Other facts can be found in other pages of the same site.

Glimpse on the intermediate tower of the eastern wall This is the only remaining tower of the two intermediate ones of the eastern wall, which runs along Via Corte del Cavalieri. No direct access is available to this tower: it is only partially visible behind the southern wall. House built in front of the great tower This is the tower beside the Palazzotto (see above in this page), with the new house that guzzled it.
The western intermediate tower A significant part of its elevation has been lost. The eastern intermediate tower
Copyright 2014 Antonio De Capua