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Castello Chiola – Pescara

History of the house

Impressive medieval stronghold with strong links to Italian historical eras

The Castello Chiola is a stopover not to be missed during your stay in the Abruzzi region. Just halt in front of its impressive facade and you will be convinced. In the old days you had to receive a personal invitation from the Count of Loreto to have the pleasure of staying there. Today, such a privilege is within your grasp …

From the Etruscans to the 1944 bombing

The Castello Chiola crossed many different time eras and underwent important events during its long history. Here are some milestones in its venerable existence:

Italian manuscript of the King of Naples

Italian manuscript of the King of Naples (c) Leiden University

The area has been occupied since very ancient times by the Etruscans and Romans, who cultivated the olive tree. Several remains of occupation have been found on the bedrock of Loreto Aprutino.
The first stronghold dates back to 887. The German Emperor Charles II the Bald (grandson of Charlemagne) is said to have stayed in it during his Italian campaign to fight the Saracens.
The castle played an important role in the feudal era, a time when alliances between lords and vassals tied and untied for the price of bloody battles. The lords of Loreto, which oath to the King of Naples, support the construction of churches and the installation of prosperous abbeys.
In the 13th century, the Earl Landolfo d’Aquino stays at the castle of Loreto when his son, the future St. Thomas Aquinas, performs there his first miracle.

The Earls of Loreto will continue to play an important role in Italy during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, especially for their military victories (Italian Wars).
It is at the castle that the important county business (political, legal and military) was settled, in a feudal tradition that lasted until the late 18th century.
In 1796, the French revolutionary armies are waging war on Austria to the heart of Italy, under the command of General Bonaparte. The castle of Loreto is conquered, and then requisitioned by the occupying forces. The French will be dislodged a few years later by the Loretans in revolt.

Risorgimento - the Five Days (Baldassare Verazzi)

Risorgimento (Baldassare Verazzi)

It will be used as a rallying point for the Italian revolutionaries in the early 19th century, hoping to get rid of the Austrian ruling and unify Italy.
Abandoned, the castle will be exposed to looting and bad weather until it was purchased in 1870 by the Chiola family (which still owns it today).
The Castello Chiola will be restored on several occasions, especially after the damage caused by an air raid in 1944.

The miracle of the roses

Saint_thomas_d_aquin

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, who’s father Landolfo d’Aquino was Earl of Loreto, stayed at the castle when he was young (early 13th century). The legend reports it was there that he did his first miracle.
Following various testimonies, Tommaso used to fill his apron with food to distribute secretly to the poor people of the county. One day, he got grasped by his father and a servant on the draw-bridge while going out of the castle. They asked him to open his pinafore and to show them its content. Tommaso only answered: “These are only roses for the poor“. A bunch of little roses then fell on the ground when the servant opened the apron.
This miracle is reported in a very old picture of the parish church.

Between Renaissance and neo-Gothic: The Castello Chiola

The Castello Chiola offers a magnificent Renaissance appearance from the outside, with its high brick walls (though reduced in height in the 18th century, after the removing of the battlements and the crenellations), some of them measuring several meters thick.

The interiors are very spacious, between 30 and 100 m2, without mentioning the large barrel-vaulted entrance hall. The rooms on the ground floor are organized around massive pillars, which support elegant curved vaults.

Restoration works undertaken since the late 19th century respect the initial volumes and their light brick siding (in some areas). Other rooms have been carefully (re)plastered, but most of the old decor has vanished. In accordance to the taste of the epoch, the stairwell and many interiors have been redesigned with neo-Gothic lines.

Castello Chiola - Loreto Aprutino (Italy)

(c) Castello Chiola

Works of art and period furniture adorn the public spaces, Roman sculptures, Baroque mirrors and consoles, family portraits, assortments of guns and swords, side by side with recent pictorial works by local artists.

Other renovations were carried out since – including the one that followed the Second World War and the transformation of the castle into a luxury hotel, under the leadership of the Intendance of Fine Arts and with the support of the European Community.

intoHistory TipHave a look at our article “Turning a medieval stronghold into a 4-star hotel?” to seize a bit of the amazing atmosphere of the place.

In the old town of Loreto

On the highest hill of the medieval town of Loreto Aprutino, in the prestigious Via Aquino, stands the Castello Chiola. A strategic place that as in the past, represents a privileged position, giving not just a pretty view of the noble Via del Baio, at the end of which stands the Church of St. Peter the Apostle with the remains of the Patron Saint Zopito, but it also represents a true crossroads to visit numerous districts.

Castello Chiola - Loreto Aprutino (Italy)

(c) Castello Chiola

The perfect place to discover the beauty and resources of the country: the national monument Santa Maria in Piano Church, the historic center with its alleys and narrow streets, with many churches and the remarkable Museum of ceramics from Castelli, the Antiquarian and the Oil Museum located in the ancient Castle Amorotti and the regional Oleoteca both symbols of the excellent production of extra virgin olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil

(c) Viou

The name of Loreto Aprutino is well known in Italy and abroad for its undisputed quality, everywhere recognized and DOP olive oil, wine and culinary tradition.
Around the area of Castello Chiola many typical villages arise where you can found delicacies and fine craftworks: starting from the Pecorino cheese of Farindola, to the Abruzzo ceramics of Castelli, the artistic production of copper of Guardiagrele and confetti of Sulmona.
Pescara, on the coast, former stop on the route of the Orient Express London-Bombay, is worth a visit, as well as the old city of Chieti and its beautiful churches and theater. Do not miss the Cerrano Tower, close to the shore.

 

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Facilities

  • 36 bedrooms
  • Gourmet restaurant – Bar
  • Garden / terrace
  • Outdoor pool
  • Air conditioning / double glazing
  • TV / Wifi
  • Business centre, meeting rooms
  • Reception rooms / weddings
  • Spoken languages: Italian, English, French
  • Pescara airport: 25 km (shuttle service on demand)
  • Private parking
  • Accessible for those with reduced mobility / lift
  • Non-smoking rooms

To read, watch or listen to

To soak up the period atmosphere of the Castello Chiola, might we suggest you add a fourth dimension to your stay by a little reading (there’s nothing better than a good historical novel to bring age-old surroundings to life). And why not let your imagination be captivated by a film, or by listening to some choice pieces of music – all great ways of travelling back in time… A few suggestions:

Books to be devoured in situ

  • “The Food Taster: the Story of my Incredible Life”, by Peter Elbling
    A poor peasant escapes death by becoming the food taster of a tyrant in Renaissance Italy. A jubilant story, full of culinary discoveries, poison recipes and political plots, narrated by a smart servant well versed in the little foibles of princes. Well documented, imaginative, hilarious and entertaining… (read extrait)
  • “The Courtesan’s Lover”, by Gabrielle Kimm
    For fans of the genre, an epic love story at the court of the Duke of Ferrara. Not exactly an historical novel taking place at Chiola Castle in the early 16th century, more a challenging love affair whose rich characters and period costumes will make you dream about the Renaissance.
  • “Atavismo!: My Home in Italy”, by Anna Baccellieri
    Colourful journey to the roots of the author’s family in the Italian mountains. A fresh and dynamic book inviting you to share in the life in the Abruzzi with its stone villages, centuries-old traditions, invigorating cooking and the rich personalities of its inhabitants; it includes several delicious recipes.
  • “In the Abruzzi”, by Anne Macdonell
    Anne Macdonell discovers the Abruzzi in 1907, at a time when it was almost unknown to the public. The very poetic descriptions of her journey, beautifully illustrated by Amy Atkinson’s watercolours, are a stay in history by themselves!
  • “Food and Memories of Abruzzo: Italy’s Pastoral Land”, by Anna Teresa Callen
    The cookbook you will want to buy after your stay in the Abruzzi. Lots of exquisite recipes, together with historical information on the unusual culinary traditions in the area.
  • “Olive Oil: An Italian Pantry”, by Leonardo Romanelli and Gabriella Ganugi
    Everything you want to know about Italian olive oil: history, how it is produced, different flavours and perfumes, 50 recipes (dishes and sauces), regional differences, expert guidelines. For connoissors!

Film to be watched before arriving

  • “The Leopard”, by Luchino Visconti (watch trailer)
    Crowned by the Palme d’Or in 1963, this masterpiece of the 7th art depicts the last days of the Italian aristocracy, when Garibaldi and his “1000” invade the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (and the County of Loreto) to unite the country under Piedmontese ruling (1860). Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon are simply masterful in the characters they portray, suddenly confronted with the end of their world. Helplessness that the inhabitants of the proud Chiola Castle must have felt at about the same time.

Period music to be enjoyed on location

  • “Music of the Italian Renaissance”, performed by Shirley Rumsay
    Compilation of vocal and instrumental (profane) pieces of the Italian Renaissance, which reproduce the atmosphere of princely 16th century salons very well.
  • “Italian Renaissance” (Time Traveller)
    Same Renaissance atmosphere, within the sacred canon, with a selection of religious works both brilliant or meditative.
  • “Best Loved Italian Opera Choruses”
    The breathtaking scenery of the old castle is a wonderful invitation to listen to arias. These choruses, powerful and shimmering, will transport you back into history as surely as a time machine.

 

Some of the links below will enable you to consult the recommended titles directly on Amazon.com. If you decide to purchase one of these titles via this link, please note that intoHistory will receive a small commission on your transaction, which will help towards covering its running costs.

Guests comments

Évaluation selon 1 avis:

Historical authenticity
Ambiance and settings
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Gery de Pierpont

14-12-2013

Étonnante nuit au Castello Chiola, nuit de tempête et de neige, au creux de la basse saison, dans cette immense bâtisse conçue pour défier les millénaires... Rarement logé dans une chambre aussi grande, aussi haute de plafond, mélange de sobriété médiévale et de raffinement italien.
On sent que les lieux ont été spécialement aménagés pour accueillir des mariages, réceptions, spectacles et autres séminaires d'entreprise, mais l'hôte individuel bénéficie de toute l'intimité nécessaire, puisque chaque chambre dispose de son salon privé.
Cuisine de grande qualité, riche et créative, parfumée avec une huile d'olive (du cru) qu'on boirait à la bouteille et des truffes qui distillent leur saveur précieuse des jours durant dans la bouche.
Une découverte : le vin de la maison, un Montepulciano d'Abruzzo aux effluves de sirop de figues, tout simplement céleste !

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Historical authenticity
Ambiance and settings
Quality of welcome
Degree of comfort

Middle Ages Chateau Hotel 150-220€/room

Comfort Accommodation

Hotel Castello Chiola ****
Via degli Aquino, 12
I-65014 LORETO APRUTINO – PESCARA (Italy)
+39 085 8290690
Castello Chiola’s own website

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