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Todi Castle, Todi
History of the Todi Castle
The Todi Castle was constructed to protect the southern boundary of the territory of Julia Colony. The watch tower had originally been named as Torre d'Orlando and was built in a very strategic position so that it could look over the entire area of River Tiber, Arnata River and Via Amerina which linked Lazio to Todi, in short quite a large portion of the Umbria region. This function of the tower continued till the Middle Ages.
Julia colony was granted to the Pope in the year 1275 and it then became the Diocese of Todi and later the municipality of Todi. Several additional towers were built from the 10th to the 13th century and the original tower was incorporated into a fort named Todi Castle. There were three towers in the corners and a large bastion wall to protect the wide territory. Todi flourished in the 13th century and its population grew quickly as well.
The food for the animals and the soldiers were stored in very large quantities within the castle and the rain water was collected for drinking. The soldiers lived in the towers and the animals were kept in the open areas. There were a few secret passages under the walls of the castle which were found during the various renovation projects. These were the routes through which the soldiers could escape in case the castle had to be relinquished.
Todi Castle was important not just from the military point of view but also because of its geographic location. The castle was the key point for all the Northern European pilgrims that used to travel to Rome and soon enough the area became quite wealthy due to commerce and trade. In the year 1348 the Black Plague struck and later in the mid 14th century the municipality of Todi collapsed.
In the 18th century, the castle was finally acquired by the Paprini family who were the most important landowners in the area of Moruzze and Todi.
The Todi Castle Today
The castle was bought by Ambassador Giuseppe Santoro in the year 1974 and then the restoration work began in the year 1975. Fortunately, the exterior walls were intact even after all the centuries. Even Torre d'Orlando, which was the oldest part of the castle was also perfectly preserved. Only the interior part of the castle had to be restored.
Several artists, craftsmen, designers. and architects were brought in to work on the castle. These artists knew about the ancient building techniques for creating the high walls and arches, the vaulted ceilings. Over the years, with their hard work, the Todi Castle was brought back to its original magnificence.
The name of the castle was changed several times over the centuries. It was known as Capecchio, Cassa Treia and Casa Arsiccia at various times. According to many legends, there are still ghosts of medieval soldiers which haunt the castle.
According to another legend, the Landi family wanted to sell the castle in the 16th century when Lucrezia, Gerolamo Landi's wife died of plague. She was buried in the castle, in its chapel.
According to the locals, the ghost of Lucrezia still wanders through the rooms of the castle on many occasions. The Todi Castle has always been an important monument in the region ever since it was built, and now the stories and legends attached to it only add to its fascination for many tourists who visit the region.