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From its position on that sheer outcrop of red jasper, the rocca or fort, looms imperiously over the burgh and valley below. With its sturdy curtain wall, embattled parapet-walks, guard towers, and castle keep, the fort is a fine example of medieval siege architecture (13th - 14th century), though what we see today is the result of layered modifications applied over the centuries. The interiors are arranged around a broad outer bailey, or central court, which is accessed via the gate house. The residential section houses the Museo della civiltà valligiana, a small museum with tools and articles of daily local use dating back to 19th and early 20th century.
The main hall is bordered on the north and west sides by a series of intercommunicating rooms known as the Princess' Halls, which have retained some of the late Gothic coffered ceilings, grotesques and grisailles wall paintings executed in mid-16th century. From one of these rooms it is possible to descend in the Womens garden, a hanging garden added at a later date. From the well courtyard is the access to the granaries and the stalwart keep, the original nucleus of the fort, later turned into a prison. In the 16th century arcaded courtyard stand the remains of the little chapel installed by the Landi princes.
The legend of Moroello and Soleste at the Fortress of Bardi
Origins: Soleste, the young daughter of the lord of the castle is in love with Moroello, the soldiers' captain, but her father has already arranged her wedding to a local feudal vassal in order to get new lands and power. Only the maid helps Soleste and Moroello to meet and spend some time together, but the fate of the lovers is doomed.
When Moroello leaves with his troops to fight at the borders of the state, Soleste waits for his return looking at the valley every day from the castle stronghold. After long weeks she finally gets a glance at knights approaching on horses. Only when they reach the watersmeet of rivers Ceno and Noveglia, she notices the enemies coulours on the troops armours and she suddenly realizes that Moroello has been defeated. Soleste then decides to kill herself jumping from the stronghold.
But Moroello has actually won the battle and is wearing the enemy's colours to show his disrispect. When the maid brings him the sad news of Soleste's suicide he kills himself just like his lover.
Facts: for many years the stronghold of the castle has been at the centre of studies and researches, especially at night. Along the centuries, in fact, the ghost of Moroello has appeared several times, sometimes surrounded by a sad and mourning music.
But it is in the last few years that researchers from the Department and Study centre of Parapsychology of Bologna have not only seen him more frequently, they also managed to took pictures of Moroello, now permanently on display at the Castle.
Source: local Staff Parma