Passions & Places

Castello della Rancia

Castello della Rancia

Castello della Rancia”, Tolentino, owes its name to the adaptation of the French term grange, granary. 

The castle, wanted by Rodolfo II da Varano, lord of Camerino, was built on an existing Cistercian building used by the monks as a grain storage.  

The works lasted from 1353 and 1357. Andrea Beltrami from Como was in charge of the project.

The building is characterized by crenellated walls and machicolations. It is surrounded by a moat now crossed by a masonry bridge.

The castle presents Ghibelline merlons and a two storey ravelin with wolf mouth loopholes. 

Several characteristic features can be admired on the yard and from the two porches. 

On the first floor you will admire the most interesting architectonical setting. It is in fact characterized by a ribbed vault and a large fireplace. 

The castle was the place of several battles until it was purchased by the Jesuits in 1581. They added a chapel. 

Three centuries later Napoleon’s brother in law, Gioacchino Murat was defeated by the Austrian army in a battle that is nowadays conceived as the first for the Italian Independence. 

The castle was then among the Giustiniani Baldini possessions and it was turned into a country house. 

It was then purchased by the town of Tolentino in 1975. After a long restoration it was opened to the public. 

You can visit the Museo Civico Archeologico “Aristide Gentiloni Silverj” there. It keeps important Roman and Piceni findings. 

In the large rooms of the second and third floor important temporary exhibitions are held.  

La Rancia castle offers a perfect setting for events such as the historical pageant of the 1815 battle.

Sponsored by
Comune di Tolentino

The Historical Pageant of the 1815 battle.

“Each man is history and each story is part of men”. This ancient adagio seems to be perfect for the organizers of the historical pageant of the 1815 Tolentino battle.

It is considered one of the first battles fought for the Italian independence by many historians. Every first weekend of May the facts that featured Gioacchino Murat and the Baron Federico Bianchi are revived against the ancient towering castle.

The two leaders fought for two days lining up the troups with incredible wit. The battle was firce and cruel at times. A lot of people were injured or died on the battle field. Murat was then misled by a false information and lined the troups without the support of the knight and that was the beginning of his defeat.

More than five hundred people feature in the pageant. They come from all over Europe and set up their camps in front of the castle. On one side you will see the Austrian group and on the other the French-Neapolitan one. Jump back in time strolling about the small tents, faithful to the Nineteenth century ones, seizing aspects of the soldiers’ everyday life. It will be an unforgettable experience.

It does seem to be back in 1815 and to live again that battle. You will experience the soldiers’ mood while intent in getting their weapons ready with meticulous care It is a timeless moment seeing them making their cartridges ready. The performers will struck you with their passion so that you will understand what is the propelling force of such historical pageants. The experience gets fascinating when the battle begins and the air is filled with the crackling guns, drum rolls and the knights charges.

Everyone goes to Tolentino on the gently sloping land from the castle to the river to admire this event and get the feel of what they have often read in history books.

Historical pageants are a pleasant leisure and cultural moment and do attract a lot of guests, tourists and visitators. They offer a ticket for a trip back in time.

Reviving history also means promoting a place’s historical heritage and its traditions and arts.

by Marion Grazioli
Translated by Guendalina Santini

for  Paradise Possible


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