Castle of Piromallo
Castle Piromallo, popularly known as “Turri”, has been standing in the hamlet of Fossato, in the Municipality of Montebello Jonico, for over two centuries now.
At the end of the eighteenth century, Fossato was a fiefdom belonging to the Baronial family of the Piromallos, Princes of Capracotta (in the province of Isernia, Molise), resident in Naples.
The most illustrious scion of the Montebellese barony was Count Giacomo Maria Piromallo, several times Mayor of Montebello, founder of the S. Elia township and of the Church dedicated to Our Lady of Pompei (1895), of which the family is the patron.
The fiefdom contained several hundred hectares of chestnut woods and vineyards.
In order to control the property, the Piromallo family had a castle built just outside the entrance to the village. It was used mostly as a summer residence or as the “counting house” for the collection of proceeds from the sale of the estate’s agricultural and woodland produce.
After the fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the rise of the Kingdom of Italy (1861) the castle ceased being used regularly and the family’s visits became rarer and rarer. In the end the Piromallos decided to free themselves of this property and sold it to more affluent families.
The new buyers, as stated in the bill of sale, 1913, included Mr. Nicola Gulli and Mr Antonino Pellicanò for the Tower.
Today the building belongs to Doctor Nicola Gullì.
Over time, and certainly after the 1908 earthquake, the building was raised to create an attic and strengthened by the addition of joists.
The castle proper is towered and covers an area of about 300 square meters. The two towers we see today were probably added to the original structure at a later date and, from an aesthetic and functional point of view, constitute the most significant elements of the building which faces the sea and overlooks the lower part of the village with its wealth of citrus groves.
The palace, restored for the last time between 1882 and 1892, has remained uninhabited for several decades now. Its red-tiled roof, facades, the battlements of the two side towers, the building’s corners and three of its wrought-iron balconies, are in very bad repair.
A territorial survey of the municipal area of Montebello shows that a vast network of baronial buildings continues to exist here, since the property owned by the Piromallo family extended from the sea to the mountains.