Multi Tabbed Widget

Rocca Calascio: the Town, the History and the Hospitality. How to get there

Rocca Calascio is a small town in the Province of L'Aquila City, between the villages  of Santo Stefano di Sessanio and Castel del Monte. Behind it, you can admire the beautiful landscape of the Campo Imperatore's Upland and in front of it, you can admire the wonders of the Majella and Sirente Mountains.
On the top of the mountain, at an altitude of  1.460 meters above the sea, Rocca Calascio is the highest town of Central Italy.

Under the ancient Rocca Calascio town, at the feet of the mountain, there is the new Calascio town with 165 citizens. Both of the towns are part of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park.

Rocca Calascio and it’s Castle were film sets of many famous movies, like Ladyhawke (with Roger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer) and The Name of the Rose (with Sean Connery). Some sequences of The American (with George Clooney) were also played here.


Rocca Calascio was founded during the Roman Age, when the Romans built a sighting turret on the top of the mountain (where the Castle is today), to control their land  possessions. In this way, the Romans could guarantee security and tranquility to population.

During the Medieval Age, the people built their houses closeby, near the top of the mountain, as a large defensive wall, and the Castle was erected on the top.

The first attestation of Rocca Calascio is in a document from 1380. With this document, Charles III from Durazzo assigned the towns of Baronage of Carapelle (Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Castelvecchio, Rocca Calascio villages) to Peter from Celano.

In 1418, the Baronage of Carapelle was a Iacovella property. She was Count Nicola's daughter and Leonello Accolmazora's wife. When Leonello died, his son Ruggero imprisoned his mother Lacovella and seized Rocca Calascio. Rocca Calascio and the Baronage of Carapelle were liberated by the Pope Pio II's (Enea Piccolomini) army and were assigned to Antonio Piccolomini, Pope Pio II's nephew.
Antonio built defensive walls around the small town of Rocca Calascio and built four circular turrets around its Castle. In this way, the Castle became as impressive and spectacular as you can admire it today.

In 1579, the Baronage of Carapelle (as well as Rocca Calascio) was bought by an other Tuscany family, the Medicis. In this way, the Medicis bought the most important lands for wool commerce. Rocca Calascio and the Baronage of Carapelle supplied the wool for the markets of L'Aquila and Florence.

In 1703, an earthquake destroyed a part of Rocca Calascio and the people left the town to live in the city or in other more accessible places, like lower Calascio town. And this way Rocca Calascio was left behind.

Today, Rocca Calascio is a famous tourism destination. Many tourists come here, in this beautiful town, to smell the atmosphere of Medieval Age, quiet and peaceful, somewhere between reality and fantasy, which movies, like Ladyhawke, has created.


Walking through the town of Rocca Caascio is like walking through the Medieval Ages, that is easy to imagine.
The town is curled on the slope of a mountain, so that on one side it enjoys the sun light all day.
The houses create a defensive wall and, if you see them from below, they seem high and impressive. Over them, on the top of the mountain, the shadow of the fabulous Castle watches the tranquilly over of the citizens who live in Rocca Calascio, and guard the silence of this place, where Art and Nature cooperate to create a great masterpiece.

In Rocca Calascio, there are many churches that are important for their historic value: the Saint Nicola from Bari Church (XVI century), the small and ancient Saint Leonard's Church (1293), the Saint Mary of Graces Church (1594), the Saint's Francis Church.

But the jewels of Rocca Calascio, which inflames fantasy and imagination, are the Castle and the small Saint Mary of Piety's Church.

The Castle of Ladyhawke
The Castle of Rocca Calascio became famous for the movies of Ladyhawke and The Name of the Rose because there were filmed there.
With the town being at an altitude of 1.500 metres, it makes the Castle of Rocca Calascio the highest castle of Italy.
It was built completely of stone and has a square core, that was built in XI century, and four circular turrets that were built by Antonio Piccolomini.

The Castle seems to camouflage with the stones which surround it, as a natural creation of the mountain. This high location allows one to admire the breathtaking landscapes and to feel the extraordinary feelings, which ignite the imagination and lead back to an ancient time, to an uncontaminated and exclusive nature, like that of the Gran Sasso Mountain.

The Castle is open and the visit is free.

The Saint Mary of Piety's Church
The other jewel of Rocca Calascio is the small church which looks like the Saint John's Baptistry in Florence.
The Church has an octagonal form, with a rectangular sacristy on one side and a eight-slice cupola.
The Church was built between the XVI and XVII centuries, when Rocca Calascio was the property of the Medicis.

The Saint Mary of Piety's Church is close to the Castle, on the way to Santo Stefano di Sessanio town. The small temple was built in the place where the inhabitants of Rocca Calascio defeated a gang of bandits who plundered their goods. Before that there was a Renaissance aedicule.

Where to sleep in Rocca Calascio: Hotels, B&B, Farm Hotel

  • Hotel Da Clara: Calascio-Loc.Rocca Calascio,Via della Playa  Tel. +39 0862/930365 - +39 331 4869548
  • Acca' Lascio (B&B): Calascio - Preta Jerta Street,10     Tel. +39 0862/195174 - +39 328 0828539
  • Case Antiche (Case Vacanze): Calascio - Località Rocca Calascio  Tel. +39 338 8059430
  • Agriturismo Il Sentiero delle Volpi: Calascio - Castelvecchio Street, 1   Tel. +39 0862/930104

 Where to eat in Rocca Calascio: Restaurants, Trattorias, Farm Restaurants

  • Restaurant Da Clara: Calascio-Loc.Rocca Calascio,Via della Playa  Tel. +39 0862/930365 - +39 331 4869548
  • Trattoria Da Maria: Calascio - Via della Sposa   Tel. +39 346 5223144 
  • Farm Restaurant Il Sentiero delle Volpi: Calascio - Via Castelvecchio, 1   Tel. +39 0862/930104

    • By car from Rome: Take the A24 Highway to East L'Aquila; then take the SS17 Street in the direction of Pescara and take the Barisciano exit. Drive on SP Street in the direction of  Castel del Monte and turn to Calascio. 
    • By car from Pescara: Take the A25 Highway in the direction of Rome; exit the Highway through Bussi exit; continue driving on SS153 Street in the direction of L'Aquila and turn to Ofena; then, turn to Calascio, on the left.
    • By bus from Rome: Catch a bus from Rome, Tiburtina Station, to L'Aquila City; catch a bus from L'Aquila, Bus Station, to Barisciano (in the direction of Sulmona); in Barisciano, catch a bus to Calascio.
    • By bus from Pescara: Catch a bus from Pescara Bus Station to Barisciano (in the direction of L'Aquila); in Barisciano, catch a bus to Calascio.
    • By train: catch the train from Rome or from Pescara to Bussi sul Tirino. From Bussi sul Tirino, catch a bus to Barisciano; from Barisciano, catch a bus to Castel del Monte and get off in Rocca Calascio.

    Map of Rocca Calascio