Maranello Castle’s history

Part of Maranello Castle was destroyed in the 1501 earthquake. These parts were rebuilt giving the Castle its current look.

1501 was a watershed year in Maranello’s history. The year saw a strong earthquake, which destroyed parts of the town, including a part of the old Castle. During the 1500s the castle was rebuilt into the form we know it, except for a few later interventions. Even today, the Castle speaks to us and tells us something about itself.

Its structure was strengthened. It is known that the keep was used as an entrance for carriages and pedestrians. Above, it is crossed by machicolations and crenulations separated by spaces for sightings. The second tower has a pentagonal shape and is older. Part of its structure is possibly a remnant of the earlier castle. In its basement there were prisons, and on the ground floor there were storerooms for food and salt.

The building and the arcade that combines the keep and the tower were rebuilt in the 1500 and reworked until 1700 to meet the demands of feudal power. Some old items, including parts of an earlier wall possibly destroyed during the earthquake, also make an appearance.

The Castle also tells us another thing. The arrangement of the rooms and the plaster which is devoid of decoration suggests that it was never a permanent residence. The two towers were shelter for the population in case of need, and the headquarters of the two community councils. The greater council was held in the keep, for more important decisions, less important ordinary administration in the tower.

Around the Castle are many facilities, including the parish of San Biagio. During the plague of 1630, a medical and isolation site for the plague-stricken just outside the walls of the Castle was established. This was dubbed the Lazaret suburb and it still bears this name.

From the 1700s, the houses around the Castle began to be leased. From 1831 to 1839 the tenant of the fortress was Giacomo Battilani, who was required to manure the lands “creditably” regularly and give a “very ripe basket of figs” to the Calcagnini owners. When feudalism ended in 1860, the Castle was abandoned, although the lands around the Castle were still busy. There was always the Church, followed by primary school and municipal spaces. The property was owned by the Calcagnini heirs until they sold it in 1936 to the artist Giuseppe Graziosi, who set up his studio there until 1942.

Graziosi’s heirs surrendered the property to the Covili family of Modena in 1955. Today, the complex is owned by Claudio Lucchese who provided for static consolidation works and the restoration.



Silvano Soragni, “Maranello, dal Castello Feudale… al Maestro Giuseppe Graziosi”, Artioli Editore, 2007